Asian Art History - 3rd year

Introduction to the forms of Asian Art: Indian temple sculpture, Chinese bronzes and ceramics, Japanese architecture, gardens, ceramics and woodblock prints, Korean ceramics, and Southeast Asian temples and masks. The focus will be on their unique history, aesthetics, and cultural context.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

1. Recognize and identify the forms, titles, artists, dates and locations of the major masterpieces of Asian painting, sculpture, architecture, ceramics, metalwork and textiles;

2. Locate and explain the cultural context as well as the historical and geographical framework on these major masterpieces;

3. Use tools of scholarly research in the preparation of the required short papers;

4. Use the principles of aesthetic analysis through comparisons and written analysis of known masterpieces to become able to develop independent evaluation of the qualities of unknown works of art.


Course topics will include the following:

A. India and Southeast Asia

1. Indus Valley civilization
2. Early Buddhist art in India
3. Expansion of Buddhist art
4. Early Hindu art
5. Hindu art of the south
6. Hindu art of the north
7. Indonesia and Southeast Asia

B. China, Nepal and Tibet

1. Neolithic and pre-Shang ceramics and jades
2. Shang Dynasty tombs & bronzes
3. Late Zhou bronzes
4. Chin Shih Huang Di & his ceramic army
5. Han Dynasty expansion to Korea and Japan
6. Tang Dynasty ceramics
7. Masterpieces of the Song Dynasty: paintings & ceramics
8. The Great Kahns: Yuan Dynasty
9. Ming paintings, ceramics & furniture
10. Qing paintings, jades and textiles

C. Japan & Korea

1. Haniwa/tombs of the emperors (Yayoi to Heian Periods)
2. Chinese architecture in Japan (Kyoto)
3. Kamakura Period scrolls
4. Ashikaga Period architecture
5. Samurai and the tea ceremony (Momoyama Period)
6. The Shogun (Tokugawa Period)
7. Modern Japan: Edo and after

Method of Instruction:

1. Lecture

2. Discussion

3. Slide Presentations

Types of Assignments:

1. Read all chapters in the required textbook

2. Brief term papers analyzing the forms and researching the content of chosen masterpieces of art.

Sample Text:

1. Asian Art History (Joan Stanley-Baker [Smith], London, Thames and Hudson, 1984 or most recent edition)

2. Chinese Art (Mary Tregear, London, Thames and Hudson, 1985 or most recent edition)

3. Indian Art: A concise History (Roy C. Craven, London, Thames and Hudson, 1976 or most recent edition)