ASIA 103
Introduction to East Asian Art Fall 2024
Division I
Cross-listed ARTH 103

Class Details

This course offers an introduction to the artistic traditions of China, Korea, and Japan, from the prehistoric era to the present day. Following a chronological order, the course surveys important artworks that represent major developments in medium, style, and subject matter in the three cultures, while paying attention to the movement of objects and art techniques across the region. Key themes of the course include bronzes, lacquerware, ceramics, tomb building, Buddhist reliquaries, ink painting, wood-block printmaking, and timber frame architecture. Students will learn about the development of art and artisanal practices in East Asia, while gaining a broader understanding of the continuity and discontinuity of the local artistic traditions in relation to the region’s history, politics, religion, and culture. East Asia boasts a history of art that stretches five thousand years. In addition to gaining an overview of important artistic traditions in the region through the lectures, students will develop visual analysis skills and engage with critical methodologies in East Asian art through closelooking exercises and discussion-driven case studies during sections. The course pays special attention to how the constant cross-cultural exchanges between China, Japan, and Korea contributed to the development of art in unique ways across time. What is the shape of “East Asian art”? How does art help define East Asia culturally? And what does it tell us about East Asia’s past, present, and future? Exploring these questions through art, students gain an objectbased understanding of the civilizations in East Asia. The curriculum also integrates objects from the Williams College Museum of Art.
The Class: Format: lecture; A viewing session at the Williams College Museum of Art.
Limit: 45
Expected: 30
Class#: 1355
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Attendance and participation (25%), two 2-3 page artwork analysis essays (20%), four quizzes (10%), a midterm exam (20%), and a final exam (25%).
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: Art history majors are prioritized if the course over-enrolls.
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ASIA 103 Division I ARTH 103 Division I
Attributes: ARTH pre-1800

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