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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Angela Sheng


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 425

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23156


Office Hours: Wednesdays 13:30-14:30 pm or by appointment

Course Objectives:

This course surveys the arts and visual culture of early East Asia and South Asia from antiquity to early modern times. Artistic development for religious purposes in ancient India has been added to this course this year to further emphasize its impact on innovations in 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 +MySearchLab.  Pearson Education Inc.

Barnet. 2015. A Short Guide to Writing about Art.

Textbook (print or e-copy), available for purchase through then Titles Bookstore:

a) Neave Print Text + Barnet Print Writing Guide: ISBN 9780133874815 OR

b) Neave e-Text + Barnet Print Writing Guide: ISBN 9780134032412

Method of Assessment:

Written Assignment 1 due September 10, 10%

Written Assignment 2 due September 30, 15%

Term Journal due October 29, 10%

Midterm (Image Identification in class) on October 29, 20%

Take-Home Exam due December 15, 2014, 30%

Term Journal due December 15, 2014, 10%

Full Attendance, 5%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

This is a self-reporting tool for undergraduate students to report absences DUE TO MINOR MEDICAL SITUATIONS that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period. You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is YOUR responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (NORMALLY WITHIN TWO WORKING DAYS) regarding the nature of the accommodation. If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term, you MUST visit your Associate Dean's Office/Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation. This form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

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.


Grading Scale:

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 (Sept. 5)            Introduction


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


PART ONE South Asia: Weeks 2-4


Week 2 (Sept. 9, 10, 12)            e-Wang Lab in Mills on Sept. 9 (mandatory)

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


Week 3 (Sept. 16, 17, 19)

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


Week 4 (Sept. 23, 24, 26)

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


PART TWO: China: Weeks 5-8


Week 5 (Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 3)

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


Week 6 (Oct. 7, 8, 10)           

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


Week 7 (Oct. 14, 15, 17)           

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


Week 8 (Oct. 21, 22, 24)           

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


Week 9 (Oct. 28, 29)           


Review Discussion in Groups based on Term Journal on October 28

Midterm (Image Identification) on October 29, 20% and Term Journal due, 10%


PART THREE: Korea and Japan


Week 10 (Nov. 4, 5, 7)           

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


Week 11 (Nov. 18, 19, 21)           

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 12 (Nov. 25, 26, 28)           

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


Week 13 (Dec. 2 and 3)           

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

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.


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 to Learn.