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Chinese Art History (ResMA)


This is the course description of 2015-2016. It will be updated later.

Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant research MA programme. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


To expose students to a number of approaches for doing art history with art produced in China. Approaches are stressed in a broad sense in preference to direct reference to –isms (e.g. antiquarianism, feminism, Marxism). A good deal of overlap will be apparent between different sessions. The combination of stipulated readings and optional readings is a huge quantity. No single individual is expected to read all of it. The full breadth/depth is designed for the course requirements (see below), and during the progress of the course there will be opportunity to divide up tasks and set specific targets.

Aside from discussing readings, each session will introduce a artefacts/artworks with the aid of printed publications, blackboard/internet resources, to illustrate topics at hand and to stimulate discussion. During the course, students are expected to exercise growing competency in accessing/referring to/using visual material. This is an obligatory exercise that will impact on the requirement to complete the essay, and it will feature among the criteria for grading that work.

Readings will be set for preparation between classes. Students are expected to read these set texts in out-of-class hours and to discuss what they have read when the class assembles.

Course objectives

To familiarize students with art in China via:
a). scholarly discourse relevant to the modern discipline of art history;
b). scholarly discourse relevant to particular conditions of art and historical discourse pertaining to art in China;
c). methods most useful for sociological and aesthetic enquiry into art in China

In order to contextualize the aims of b) and c) within the state of the discipline (a), the course will demand an amount of reading about/considering other regional engagements with art/art history (e.g. Africa, Europe, etc). The usefulness of this comparative design will become clearer as the course progresses, but it is controlled to ensure that China remains the primary focus of the entire course.


Check timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar.

Attendance and participation are obligatory.

Note: English will be used in classwork. Dutch or English (not both) may be used for written work.

Course Load

280 hours total

  • Weekly seminars: 2 hours per week; 26 hours total

  • Extra sessions for ResMA students: 6 hours

  • Preparation for classwork: 6 hours per week; 72 hours total

  • Preparation for extra ResMA sessions: 40 hours

  • Preparation for presentation: 20 hours

  • Written work: 116 hours

Assessment method

a). Reading the set readings. Optional readings are what the description suggests, and also provided as extra resources for completing an essay (see below).
b). Essay (5,500 words): this is the major course requirement to pass this course. Students must choose a topic relevant to the content/aims of the course by/before week 7. Delivery of this essay will be expected by/before 31 May (subject to further discussion). Extra guidelines will be provided during the progress of the course.
c). maximally two short written assignments, e.g. reviews and critical summaries.

  • Classwork: 40%

  • Written work 60%
    Guidelines for preparation of written work and class assignments and the criteria for marking will be duly provided.
    (The paper deadline mentioned in uSis is a fictional date for administration purposes only. The actual date will be communicated by the convenor of the course.)

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher.

The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Yes. Blackboard is used for posting complete reading list, class communications, and essay submission.

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list

A programme (keyed to a course reader) lists the core texts selected for this course. In addition, four volumes that students will find useful are:

  • Craig Clunas, Art in China (Oxford, 1997)

  • Lothar Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art (Princeton, NJ, 2000)

  • Patricia B Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China (London, 1996) [S.I. shelf no: L 6 B5]

  • Robert Thorp and Richard Vinograd, Chinese Art and Culture, New York, 2001

Additional reading for the ResMA students will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ field(s) of interest. This extra literature will be discussed during the (extra) tutorial sessions.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. Oliver Moore


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).