This paper proposes an image-based approach for the capturing, rendering and display of ancient Chinese artifacts for cultural heritage preservation. A multiple-camera circular array is proposed to record images of the artifacts, which forms a simplified circular light field (SCLF). A systematic image-based approach and associate algorithms such as segmentation, depth estimation and shape morphing are developed for rendering new views of the Chinese artifacts. An object-based compression scheme is also proposed to reduce the data size for storage and transmission of the texture, depth maps and alpha maps associated with the object-based circular light field. Spatial redundancies among the various images are exploited to improve the coding performance, while avoiding excessive complexity in selective decoding of the light field to support fast rendering speed. To allow the Chinese artifacts to be viewed over the internet, scalable prioritized transmission and rendering schemes of the SCLF with low latency were also developed. The multiple views so synthesized enable the ancient artifacts to be displayed in 3-D/multi-view displays. Several collections from the University Museum and Art Gallery at The University of Hong Kong were captured and excellent rendering results are obtained.