Fine Arts | Introduction to East Asian Art
A160 | 2200 | Nelson


A survey of the art and culture of China and Japan, focusing on three
major aspects of their traditions: the art and thought of Buddhism; the
importance of nature and landscape; and the social and political uses of
art.

The course begins with a unit on Buddhist art, tracing its transformations
as it spread across Asia.  Special attention is paid to Zen (Chan)
Buddhism and the distinctive styles it inspired in painting and garden
design. In the following section we turn to ideas about nature, mainly in
the arts of China: the ideals of nature and "naturalness" in Chinese
culture, as seen in paintings of landscape, flowers, and bamboo; in the
design of private gardens; and in spontaneous, individualistic styles of
calligraphy and ink-painting. Finally, we examine the social roles of art,
especially in premodern Japan: the interactions of art, politics, and
class in various contexts--castle, teahouse, garden, temple, bourgeois
home, and city street.

There are two lectures and one discussion section each week; three tests
and three written projects over the semester. Readings are assembled in a
course reader, and images of works of art considered in class are
accessible on the web.