AwardPuzzle is an interactive data visulization work to visualize 2276 oil painting works awarded in 6th through 12th China National Exhibition of Fine Arts. The project tries to paint a picture of 30-year Chinese oil painting history in multiple ways of dynamic interactions using the works from top-level artists of China. AwardPuzzle uses diversified forms of mapping to reveal the preferences of the juries of China's major national arts awards, and in doing so provides "tips" on how to win such awards and how to keep winning for more than thirty years. This online interactive platform allows the public to explore the tips for success.

We published a paper in Chinese Data Thinking - Visual Interpretaion of China National Exhibition of Fine Arts (Oil Painting Section) through WeChat mobile platform and on Janurary 14th 2015, it was viewed more than 50,000 times over the first three days of publishing. The paper was republished by a lot of Internet media in China, authorized and unauthorized, the result is over 100,000 views as of today. We are planning to publish a revised better version in English. At the end of April 2015, we decided to build this interactive tool AwardPuzzle so everyone has internet access can check it out by themselves. Here it is, and the work is still on-going for better user experiences and more accurate data.

AwardPuzzle can be used as a tool by researchers and critics, and can also be enjoyed by general users as a piece of arts. We share our perspective so that every individual could explore and observe for his/her own interest, see how personal interests, economics, politics, ideology etc. can impact arts.

China National Exhibition of Fine Arts is the most important arts competition in China, people could get promotions and big houses, get into tenure tracks, or sell their works with higher prices with the awards. The Exhibition runs every 5 years, the 6th was in 1984 and the 12th was held in 2014.
Spectrum View
Size View
Region View
Artist View

Try playing with it.

Some notes:

1. AwardPuzzle was originally designed for a full HD screen installation, run offline. Accordingly, please excuse us, if it takes long to load, runs slow, or behaves not 100% as expected.
2. For better performance, faster accessing devices with larger displays are recommended. 为保证用户体验,推荐使用CPU、内存以及显示器配置较高的访问设备。
3. This interactive application supports pattern and time selecting, keyword and people searching. Feel free to move your mouses or fingers and click around. Just play and have fun.
4. This application supports both desktops and mobile devices, but on desktops users get much better performance and views.
5. Although we tried very hard, it is tricky to translate the titles of paintings from Chinese to English, you may see something doesn't make sense but you get the point. An extra benefit for English-reading users, in the ARTIST pattern, if you input "hohoho" in the searching bar, you will see something fun, and the better part of this is that you may find a lot of similiar fun things by yourself.
6. This work was developed using open source tool including Processing. While initially applied to China National Exhibition of Fine Arts, this project and its underlying logic and technology may be applied to any image/data rich research or projects intersted in displaying/analyzing information in diversified ways that traditional approachs could never think. Check out A Palette of CCTV's Chinese New Year Gala and our on-going project Data Visualization Platform for History of China Tomb Paintings to see how timeline and location information are displayed along with other information.
7. Please send emails to and/or for bugs, questions and thoughts. We are open for talks.