ARTH305: Arts of Asia

Course Syllabus for "ARTH305: Arts of Asia"

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

This course serves as an introduction to the major pre-Modern artistic traditions of India, China, and Japan.  It is organized into three units that focus on the art and architecture of India, China, and Japan respectively.  Each unit is structured chronologically.  Unit 1 examines Indian Art from the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2600-1900 BCE) through the art of the Mughal Empire (1526-1858), focusing on Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic art and architecture.  Unit 2 covers the arts of China from the Shang Dynasty (c.1600-1050 BCE) through the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), detailing the interaction between art, politics, and culture throughout Chinese dynastic history.  Unit 3 introduces Japanese Art from the Jomon Period (c.10,500-300 BCE) through the Edo Period (1615-1868), exploring the effects that various sub-traditions and sub-cultures (Tang Dynasty China, Buddhism, and the warrior class) had on the art of Japan. After completing this course, you will have a comprehensive understanding of the arts and architecture of pre-Modern India, China, and Japan and their relationship to the history and culture of their respective times and places.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify major pre-modern Indian, Chinese, and Japanese works of art and architecture.
  • Identify the major art historical time periods in India, China, and Japan and the important artistic developments that occurred during each of them.
  • Recognize how art and architecture can be used to understand the politics, history, and culture of India, China, and Japan.
  • Look at, analyze, and compare and contrast different types of Asian art.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash) and software.

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Techniques, ARTH110: Introduction to Western Art History—Pre-Historic to High Gothic, and ARTH111:  Introduction to Western Art History—Proto-Renaissance to Contemporary Art

Course Information

Welcome to ARTH305, Arts of Asia.  Below, please find general information on this course and its requirements. 

Primary Resources: This course makes use of a variety of different online resources, including:

Requirements for Completion: To complete this course, you must work through all the assigned resources (readings, interactives, lectures, and videos), complete three assignments (“Guided Observation 1: Buddhist Iconography and Kushan Buddhist Sculpture,” “Guided Observation 2: Northern Song Monumental Landscape Painting,” and “Guided Observation 3: Japanese Woodblock Prints”), and pass the Final Exam with a grade of 70% or more.

Time Commitment: Approximately 135 hours.

Tips/Suggestions: Before beginning this course, it may be useful to review ARTH101: Art Appreciation and Art Techniques, Units 1–4, which focus on general art history vocabulary, materials, and techniques.  This knowledge, combined with the more specific vocabulary covered in this course, will be useful when discussing pre-modern Asian art and architecture.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.