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Traditions and Innovations: Art in medieval China


Admission requirements

Prerequisite: preferably BA1: Literatuur & Kunst van China or BA2: General Introduction to Art in China


Profound changes took place in Chinese politics, economy, culture and society from the sixth to mid-fourteenth century. The burgeoning economy, the emergence of the scholar-official class, and the rise of local elites during the Song dynasty (960-1279) were central driving forces to these transformations. Within this context, this course explores new art concepts, forms, and practices in court paintings, literati paintings, calligraphy, prints, gardens, urban culture, and religious art. It focuses on the agency of various participants, such as emperors, scholar-officials, women, and local elite class, in their innovative construction of aesthetic ideals, discursive spaces, and artistic practices.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Become familiar with major artifacts in medieval China and discuss them with appropriate vocabularies and approaches;

  • Understand the basic concepts and arguments relevantto the study of medieval Chinese arts;

  • Identify basic primary and secondary sources related with major topics in medieval Chinese art;

  • Write analytically and critically on aspects of medieval Chinese art, and formulate clear and coherent arguments.


See timetable Chinastudies

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • Weekly seminars: 12 × 2 hours (24 hours total )

  • Class preparation (complete assignments and readings): 12 × 5 hours (60 hours total)

  • Research paper: 56 hours

Assessment method

Class assignments (participation, quiz, reports): 50%
Research paper: 50%


Blackboard ( is usded in the course.
Students must self-enrol on Blackboard, which is used for posting syllabus, class communications, and essay submission.

Reading list

See blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch


Dr. Fan Lin