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General Introduction to Art in China


Admission requirements



This course provides a general survey of artistic production in China from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century. Minimally seven sessions deal with diverse contexts of art and interpretative issues. Students are expected to play an active role during classes in offering their own views and questions.
Classes will introduce a range of artefacts and approaches, mostly with the aid of slides/Blackboard.

Reading 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. Each week’s assignment will demand a minimum input of three to four hours, including preparatory reading and familiarization with visual material.

Course objectives

The primary aim of the course is to gain experience of using material remains and art productions in a variety of critical discourses that claim when, why, for whom and in what ways particular objects were significant for the history of art in China. Supposing that art was important for the last four thousand years or longer in a huge region now called China, this course aims to question what “art” meant in several different times and places.
This is an introductory course, so the content is broadly selected and designed for students who have had no experience of studying art history. Students will be expected to take responsibility in focussing their specific interests on particular media or practices of art, certain historical periods, or methodological approaches to the study of art history in China. This will affect students’ ability to carry out work required for the writing assignment set during or at the end of the semester.

Course load

5 EC * 28 hours = 140 hours


Check timetable

Teaching method

Seminar; English will be used for classwork. Dutch or English (not both) may be used for written work.

Test method

  • Classwork (presentation, assignments): 30%

  • Final Essay (deadline mid-December) 70%

The final grade consists of the weighted average of both course components. A resit for the final essay is allowed if a student scores a non-passing grade (5,49 or lower) on the first attempt.


For enrollment, visit the website Blackboard. Then click on: courses > Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen > China, Talen en Culturen van > 2011-2012 > Registreer/enroll

Required reading

Extra texts will be stipulated for reading in preparation for class. A reader will be available in September.
Students should purchase the following volume:

  • Craig Clunas, Art in China, Oxford, 2nd edition, 2009

Convenient sources of historical and social background, especially for students who have not followed courses in Chinese art/history/society, are:

  • 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


Meld je voor dit college op tijd aan via uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. For registrationprocedure, deadlines etc., see also Aanmeldprocedures voor colleges en tentamens

Note: A maximum of 30 students may enroll for this course. Students Chinese will be given priority


For further information about the contents of this course, please contact Dr. O.J. Moore.