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ARTHIST 2Z03 Art/Vis Clture in East&So Asia

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Angela Sheng


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 425

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23156


Office Hours: Wednesdays 1-2 pm

Course Objectives:

This course surveys the arts and visual culture of South Asia and East Asia from antiquity to early modern times. The emphasis will be on the intercultural artistic development in ancient India, China, Korea, and Japan. This course aims to challenge students to make intercultural comparisons of art works.


This course is also designed to encourage active learning. Students will work in small groups to make presentations and lead discussions on specific topics, where appropriate. Students will learn how to look at and write about art works that allow them to better understand how art and society are integrated.

This course is designed for students with little or no proficiency in the original languages and with minimal or no cultural background. The course will begin with a familiarization of the systems of romanization and general chronologies in relation to the geographies

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Neave, Blanchard, and Sardar. 2015. Asia Art. Pearson Education Inc.

Barnet. 2015. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. Pearson Education Inc.

Textbook (print or e-copy), available for purchase through the Titles Bookstore.

Method of Assessment:

Written Assignment 1, due January 14, 10% Details of all assignments to be discussed in the first class.

In-class presentation followed by written submission, February 1, 20%

In-class quiz, March 7, 20%

Essay due April 7, 20%

Take-Home Exam due April 14, 25%

Full attendance, 5%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

No extensions without a timely medical certificate.

Late penalties: for every day past the due date, 5% of the assignment’s grade.

To get A+ requires correct spelling and grammar on all written work.

A+ 90-100      B+  77-79        C+  67-69        D+       57-59

A   85-89         B    73-76        C    63-66        D         53-56

A-  80-84        B-   70-72        C-   60-62        D-       50-52

                                                                         F          0-49


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

This course will follow roughly the topics in the main textbook by Neave, Blanchard and Sardar: Asian Art.

Week 1 January 6, 7   Introduction

Neave et al. Asian Art, pp. XII-XXIII

PART ONE South Asia:

Week 2 January 11, 13, 14 (Assignment due on January 14)

Ch. 1 of Asian Art: The Rise of Cities and Birth of the Great Religions: Early Indian Art

Week 3 January 18, 20, 21

Ch. 2 of Asian Art: Religious Art in the Age of Royal Patronage: The Medieval Period

Week 4 January 25, 27, 28

Ch. 3 of Asian Art: India Opens to the World: The Early Modern Period


Week 5 February 1, 3, 4 (In-class presentation on February 1)

Ch. 6 of Asian Art: Ritual and Elite Arts: The Neolithic Period to the First Empires

Week 6 February 8, 10, 11

Ch. 7 of Asian Art: Looking Outward: The Six Dynasties and Sui and Tang Dynasties

Reading Week: February 15-19

Week 7 February 22, 24, 25

Ch. 8 of Asian Art: Art, Conquest, and Identity: The Five Dynasties Period and Song and Yuan ynasties

Week 8 February 29 and March 2, 3

Chapter 9 of Asian Art: The City and Market in the Chinese Art: The Ming and Qing Dynasties

PART THREE: Korea and Japan

Week 9 March 7, 9, 10 (Quiz on March 7)

Ch.11 of Asian Art: An Unknown Land, A People Divided: Korean Art from Prehistory to Present

Week 10 March 14, 16, 17

Chapter 12 of Asian Art: The Way of the Gods and the Path of the Buddhas: Japanese Art from the Prehistory to the Asuka Period

Week 11 March 21, 23, 24    

Chapter 13 of Asian Art: External Influences and Internal Explorations: The Nara and Heian Periods

Week 12 March 28, 30, 31

Ch. 14 of Asian Art: Strife and Serenity: Kamakura, Muromachi, and Momoyama Periods

Week 13 April 4, 6, 7 (Essay due on April 7)           

Conclusion and Review

Please note that there might be some adjustment to the above topics and dates depending on the progress of the class. If so, such adjustment will be announced in class and posted on Avenue to Learn.

Other Course Information:

Attendance of all classes is mandatory. Lectures will cover supplementary materials.

REFERENCES, all on reserve at Mills Library:


BL 80.2 .C334 2002 Bowker, John W. The Cambridge illustrated history of religions.

BL 1032 .A85 1999 Donald S. Lopez, Jr. (ed.), Asian Religions in Practice, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).

N7260.L48 Lee, Sherman E. A History of Far Eastern Art (Fifth edition).

N 8193 .A4 F57 1993 Fisher, Robert E. Buddhist Art and Architecture.

N 8193 .M39 2002 McArthur, Meher. Reading Buddhist Art.


BL1033 .I43 2004 EB Shinohara, K. and Granoff, P. E. Images in Asian Religions Texts and Contexts.


N 5300 .P4 V .Z2 1977 Rowland, Benjamin. The Art and Architecture of India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain.

N 7301 .H86 1985 Huntington, Susan. The Art of Ancient India: Buddhist, Hindu, Jain.


DS 706.E37 1996 Ebrey, Patircia. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China.

N 5300.P4 v. Z10 1971 Sickman and Soper. The Art and Architecture of China

N 7340 .C59 1997 Clunas, Craig. Art in China.

NX 583 .A1 T49 2006 Thorp, Robert and Richard E. Vinograd. Chinese Art and Culture.


N5300.P4 v. Z8 Paine and Soper. The Art and Architecture of Japan.

N7350.M26 1993. Mason, Penelope. History of Japanese Art.

N7350.S72000. Stanley-Baker, Joan. Japanese Art.


N7360.M3 1962 McCune, Evelyn. The Arts of Korea, an Illustrated History.

N7360.P67 2000 Portal, Jane. Korea: Art and Archaeology.

When necessary, additional references will be posted on Avenue.