This module examines the Arts of Japan and Korea in relation to religious, historical, and social contexts. The course follows a broad chronological progression from pre-history to contemporary, with the first few weeks focusing primarily on religious art and architecture of ancient to medieval eras when the links between Japan and Korea were particularly strong. While the major part of the course is dedicated to Japan, the study of Korean art is integrated into the course in order to compare and contrast the cultural differences of the two countries. The relationship with China is also considered in a larger East Asian context of transmission of ideas and trade.
The second part of the course examines secular traditions of painting, and a wide variety of decorative arts such as ceramics, lacquer, and textile. Lectures on cultural activities such as tea ceremony and garden making will also provide an overview of the artistic expression that is unique to the region. The study of innovative contemporary architecture and designs towards the end of the course will encourage the students to gain a sound understanding of the continuation of aesthetic ideas.
Visits to museum collections will provide an opportunity for object study to complement the course which combines academic discipline and practical skills. By the end of course, students should be equipped with analytical tools and conceptual framework that will allow them to pursue research interests with greater confidence.
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