Artwork Content Entry General Guidelines
Please be aware that more than one person from different classes and educational institutions may be working on an entry at any given time.

The following is the formatting guidelines for TeachArt Wiki artwork content entries. Guidelines for other types of content entries will be posted on the TeachArt Wiki home page as they are developed. If you want to suggest improvements to this formatting guidelines or propose other types of content entry guidelines please email them to Guey-Meei Yang (gyang@emich.edu) or Tom Suchan (tsuchan@emich.edu).

Each artwork content entry should include the following components that are organized in the order below. For an example of a correctly formatted entry click on the following links: example entry 1, example entry 2. When you create a new page for an artwork entry the name of the page should be either the name of the artwork or a descriptive title like Pomo Hanging Basket, Black on Black Plate, Dogon Figurine, Chiwara Headdress, and so on. The artist name(s) if know should come after the descriptive title and separated from it by a dash (i.e. Starry Night--Vincent VanGogh). Examples:
  • Book from the Sky--Xu Bing
  • Kongo Hunter Figurine
  • Entertainments of the Four Seasons in Kyoto
  • Family Album Blood Objects--Yoko Ono
  • Black on Black Plate--Maria Marinez

Organize the entry content in the following manner using the section headings (bold) and subsection headings (italic) that are listed and described below. All texts and images should be left aligned.

Title. At the top of the page retype the title in bold. You may add a semicolon and lengthen the title to clarify it. For example, Black on Black Plate: A revival style ceramic vessel by Maria Marinez, Chiwara Headdress: Art of the Bamana people of Mali, etc.

Artwork. Below the title at the top of the entry insert an image or a url of an image of the artwork that is highlighted in the entry. If you insert an image make sure to follow the TeachArt Wiki Image Use Policy . To avoid copyright infringement on this site images that are not approved for use by their owners or lack the appropriate Creative Commons license should not be used. If an image is used the source should be credited with a clickable link to its source.

Artwork Identification. Provide the following identification information about the artwork highlighted in the page based on the museum/gallery captions. Keep the following labels. If you are unable to find the information about a particular label put "unknown" after the label.
  • Title:
  • Artist(s):
  • Date:
  • Period:
  • Country of Origin:
  • Cultural/Ethnic Affiliation:
  • Medium:
  • Dimensions:
  • Museum/Collection:
  • Accession Number:
  • Current Location and Manner of Display:
  • Provenance: (the history of ownership if known)

Introduction. Summarizes the content of the entry in a few sentences. If a lesson plan is added to the entry the introduction should be updated to reflect that addition.

Descriptive Analysis. Provide a detailed physical description of the artwork. A description is a visual inventory of the artwork that is done in an objective and non-argumentative manner. Think of this how a criminal investigator would first inventory all the evidence, physical and visual, of a particular crime scene before drawing a conclusion. Describe what the artwork looks like and what is made of. How big is it? What shape is it? What color is it? What type of surface texture does it have? etc. If it is a painting describe its format and the imagery it contains. In this section you should not discuss the symbolism or meaning of the imagery. Start by giving an overview of the artwork then discuss its specific features. Also, include notes on the artwork’s condition such as any damage, cracks, chips etc., and restoration/conservation done to it, missing parts, and a description of the medium (materials) that the artwork is composed of. The description should be done in a way that a person wearing a blindfold could be able to visualize what the artwork is like by listening to someone read what you have written. The following list of guiding questions is provided to help your descriptive analysis. When writing the description you should not divide it into sections but use your responses to these questions and others that you may ask to form a single coherent description. Not all the questions may relate to your artwork. Please help by revising and adding to this list.
  • What do you see? Describe its physical form or shape, colors, and texture.
  • What does it look like or what things does it depict or contain?
  • What is the artworks focal point or primary subject matter
  • What materials is the artwork made of and what techniques were used to make it?
  • Describe its size and scale. Is everything it depicts in the same scale?
  • Is the artwork complete? Is anything missing or damaged? Has it been repaired?
  • What is the quality of the materials and workmanship?
  • What style does the artwork represent? Is it representational art, abstract, or non-representational (non-objective) art?

Formal and Contextual Analysis. This is the analytical section of the entry in which the meaning and symbolism of the artwork are explained in relation to its original context and intentions of the artist(s) and patron(s). Discuss the historical, social, and cultural contexts in which the artwork was created and the subject matter of the artwork -- what it symbolized in the time and place of its origin, and the how the form of the artwork, as described in the descriptive analysis section, helps gives it meaning. Provide information about the artwork’s original cultural context and comparative works of art from the same or a related context. Sources of information should be cited. The following guiding questions are provided to help your analysis. When writing this section use your responses to these questions and others that you may ask to form a single coherent analysis and interpretation section. Not all the questions may relate to your work. Please add other useful questions to this list).

  • Contextual meaning: Discuss the historical, cultural, and social context of the artwork.
    • What was happening when the artwork was made? How does the content of the work relate to those events?
    • What were the intellectual, philosophical, religious, and political characteristics of the time and society in which the work was made? How do the predominate ideas and beliefs at the time relate to the artwork?
    • What major events or social factors could have influenced the content of the work?
    • What sort of society was the artwork created in?
    • What was the status of the patrons and artist?
    • Who was the intended audience?
    • What function was the artwork intended to serve? How does its form relate to that function?
    • Where and how was the artwork intended to be displayed? Is it still in its original location?
    • How have others commented on and responded to the artwork in its original context as well as in later times?
  • Iconography/Symbolic meaning
    • What is the artwork's subject matter? What story or ideas does it tell?
    • What is its subject or overarching theme and how does that theme relate to the world in which the artwork emerged?
    • What symbols are used in the artwork? What messages do they convey?
    • Does the artwork use any symbolic or visual metaphors? Are these symbols literal or disguised?
    • How does the artwork relate to other artworks by the same artist and/or other contemporary artworks?
    • What is the source of the artwork's symbols and design motifs? Were these invented by the artist? Were they borrowed from other artworks, other cultures, or earlier times? What other artworks share these symbols and motifs?
    • How does the artwork and its symbolism relate to the artist's personal background?
    • How overtime have other interpreters added meaning to the artwork?
    • How does the form (materials and style) of the artwork add to the artwork's symbolism/meaning?
    • How does the mode of representation (naturalism, abstraction, or non-objective) contribute to the artwork's meaning?

Personal Interpretations. In this section give your own personal views about the artwork and ask others to respond and give their views. The following guiding questions are provided to help your personal interpretation. (please help by revising and adding to this list).
Under construction
  • What did you find most interesting about the artwork?
  • Does this artwork have any special meaning to you?
  • How is the work relevant to your life?
  • What meanings and ideas associated with the artwork do you most respond to?
  • Did your study of the artwork change your initial response to it?

  • Printed Sources. Try to use printed sources that are specific to the artwork and culture that it belongs to. Each source should be annotated with a brief descriptive note about the source that would be useful to the reader.
  • Online Sources. Links to online sources should include museums and websites associated with academic institutions. Each source should be annotated with a brief descriptive note about the source that would be useful to the reader.
*The quality of your entry will largely be dependent on the quality of your resource materials. It is important that you think critically about your sources and double check them to avoid misinformation. Try to avoid outdated and non-academic sources. Also, avoid using long direct quotes and/or copying and pasting text from other websites. You should paraphrase (rewrite) information taken from other sources using your own words and understanding. Give credit to your sources. Only use direct quotes if they are relatively brief and something that you want to comment on.

Supporting images. You may want to include additional images to support your entry. These can be placed anywhere in the entry. This could include images of similar artworks for comparison, maps, diagrams, and images of the artwork’s cultural context, etc.
  • Images downloaded from other websites (sources must be credited and follow copyright laws, see the TeachArt Wiki Image Use Policy.
  • Make links to images on other websites.

Hyperlinks. Judiciously use text hyperlinks in your text for significant terms and names that can direct the user to either other TeachArt Wiki pages or other Web pages that contain more useful information on the term or name. But do not overuse a single website like Wikipedia.

Add Appropriate Tags. When you create a new page it must include one of the following text tags that identifies the artwork’s place of origin. This will allow your entry to be listed in the Table of Contents. The “tag text” box is located below the page Title. Simply type in the appropriate tag (do not include quotation marks) then click Save. After a page is created, to add or edit the tags associated with a page, move your cursor over the Page tab and select "Tags and Details" to access the tags.
  • For Africa use "African artist"
  • For Native America use "Native American artist"
  • For USA use "USA artist" (other than Native American artists)
  • For Canada use “Canadian artist” (other than Native American/First Nation artists)
  • For Central America/Mesoamerica use "Central American artist" (includes Mexico)
  • For South America use "South American artist"
  • For China use "Chinese artist"
  • For Japan use "Japanese artist"
  • For Korea use "Korean artist"
  • For South Asia use "South Asian artist" (This includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka)
  • For Southeast Asia use "Southeast Asian artist" (This includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, and Laos)
  • For Himalaya use "Himalayan artist" (This includes Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and related regions)
  • For Central Asia use "Central Asian" (This includes Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and western parts of the People's Republic of China such as Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, and related regions)
  • For Middle East use "Middle Eastern artist"
  • For Europe use "European artist"
  • For Pacific Islands use "Pacific artist" (This includes Islands of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia)
  • For Australia use "Australian artist"

To help all TeachArt Wiki users easily find the entry s/he is looking for, in addition to the place of origin tag, all entries need to be tagged with appropriate key words such as artist name (full name), artwork title, art medium(s)/form(s) (e.g., watercolor, installation, sculpture, ink painting, Byobu, etc.), style (e.g., Pop Art, Northern Song landscape painting, etc.), subject/theme/key concept (e.g., identity, community, kimo kawaii, season celebrations, New Year, Yoroboshi, Noh play, etc.), and grade level (i.e., elementary, middle, or high school). When you edit or write content/art lesson for an entry, check to see whether it has all necessary tags. If it does not, add the missing tags.