nl en

General Introduction to Art in China



This course provides a general survey of artistic production in China from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century. Twelve sessions deal with diverse contexts of art and interpretative issues, and they address these topics in chronological sequence.
Classes will introduce a range of artefacts and approaches, mostly with the aid of slides/Blackboard. Students are expected to play an active role during classes in offering their own views and questions.

Reading will be set for preparation between classes. Students are expected to read these set texts in out-of-class hours and to discuss what they have read when the class assembles. Each week’s assignment will demand a minimum input of three to four hours, including preparatory reading and familiarization with visual material.


Check timetable

Teaching method

English will be used for classwork. Dutch or English (not both) may be used for written work.

Admission requirements


Course objectives

The primary aim of the course is to gain experience of using material remains and art productions in a variety of critical discourses that claim when, why, for whom and in what ways particular objects were significant. Supposing that art was important for the last four thousand years or longer in a huge region now called China, this course aims to question what “art” meant in several different times and places.
This is an introductory course, so the content is broadly selected and designed for students who have had no experience of studying art history. Students will be expected to take responsibility in focussing their specific interests on particular media or practices of art, certain historical periods, or methodological approaches to the study of art history in China. This will affect students’ ability to carry out work required for writing assignment set during or at the end of the semester.

Course load

5 EC * 28 hours = 140 hours

Required reading

Texts will be stipulated for reading in preparation for class. A reader will be available in late August.
Although they are not obliged to purchase them, students may find the following volumes useful:

  • Craig Clunas, Art in China, Oxford, 1997

  • Robert Thorp and Richard Vinograd, Chinese Art and Culture, New York, 2001

A convenient source of historical and social background, especially for students who have not followed courses in Chinese art/history/society, is:

  • Patricia B Ebrey, Cambridge Illustrated History of China, London, 1996 (.S.I. shelf no: L 6 B5)

Test method

Requirements to pass the course

  • one long essay (max. 3000 words), deadline: mid December

  • one article review (max. 500 words), deadline: early November

  • satisfactory scores in slide tests given during classes


  • Classwork (including slide test scores and an oral presentation): 30%

  • Article review 30%

  • Essay 40%

Students must complete all requirements (classwork; review; essay) to pass the course. High scores for one requirement will not compensate failure to complete any other one. Guidelines for preparation of written work and the criteria for grading will be duly provided.


For further information about the contents of this course, please contact Dr. O.J. Moore.


Meld je voor dit college op tijd aan via uSis. Niet ingeschreven, betekent geen toestemming tot het volgen van dit college. Zie ook [Aanmeldprocedures voor colleges en tentamens]( voor) inschrijvingsdeadlines en meer informatie over in- en uitschrijven voor colleges.

Note: A maximum of 30 students may enroll for this course. Students Chinese will be given priority.


For enrollment, visit the website Blackboard. Then click on: courses > Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen > China, Talen en Culturen van > 2009-2010 > Registreer/enroll.