Early Chinese Art and Archaeology
As the first part of a multi-semester overview of the history of Chinese art, this course focuses on visual and material culture in what is now China from the 5th millennium BCE to the end of the Han dynasty (220 CE) and covers some of the most significant archaeological discoveries of recent decades. Materials include Neolithic ceramics and jade, bronze vessels and other objects of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, and the funerary arts–painting, sculpture, and grave goods–of the Qin and Han. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the complexity of China’s cultural and artistic origins, on strategies for the ongoing (re)writing of history, and on developing analytical skills for dealing with visual materials from the distant past. In the course of the semester, students will be introduced to a number of approaches to prehistoric, proto-historic, and historic artifacts, from archaeological typology and formal analysis to Marxist theories of social evolution, text-based studies, cultural and intellectual history and theories of aesthetics and narrative. (4 units)
This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical areas (B) and Chronological period (I).