Courses

Spring 2017

  HA 35 | CCN: 31991

Art and Architecture in Japan

Gregory Levine,

Tuesday | Thursday: 8:00 - 9:30am

This introductory survey poses a challenge: to look and think critically about the art and architecture of Japan, ancient to contemporary. We will study a range of artistic/architectural categories and styles across a long historical span: objects and structures of the Neolithic and Tumuli eras; Buddhist icons; pictorial and calligraphic works related to the brush arts in East Asia; figural and landscape works of the medieval to early modern eras (narrative paintings, portraits, and woodblock prints); ceramic and lacquer arts; Buddhist temples, Shintō shrines, and castles; modern and contemporary art in a global context; and so on. We will consider: diverse visual, material, and spatial presences and practices; social-political histories; gender and race; and inter-regional, transnational encounter and translation. We will ask questions such as: why do images of the Buddha seem to look alike (do they really?); why are rough earthenware tea bowls among the most treasured artistic objects in Japan; what’s up with the representation of “Geisha;” what is a Zen rock garden; why is Hokusai’s famous “Great Wave” print a “great work of European art”; and so forth. The course requires active participation and stresses writing.