Art and Architecture in Japan
This introductory lecture course poses a challenge: to look and think critically about the art and architecture of Japan. We will study a range of artistic/architectural works situated across a long historical span: objects and structures of the Neolithic and Tumuli eras; medieval to early modern narrative paintings, portraits, and woodblock prints; late medieval ceramic and lacquer arts; Buddhist temples, Shintō shrines, and castles; modern and contemporary art in global context; and so on. We will consider: diverse visual, material, and spatial presences and practices; social-political histories; gender and race-ethnicity; as well as interregional, transnational encounter and translation. We will ask questions such as: what is painting in Japan (materiality, narrative, self-fashioning, ideology, etc.); how do Buddhist icons function as images; 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. What does study of art and architecture in Japan offer or reveal about art, history, modernity, and globalism? There are no Japanese studies or art history prerequisites for this course, and students from all colleges/majors are welcome. Active preparation and participation are necessary. All readings will be available on bCourses.