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New Fall 2013 courses

Art History 307 Early Chinese Art: From Antiquity to the Tenth Century

Introduces art forms and concepts developed from antiquity to mid-10th century, covering jade carving, metalwork, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, painting, woodblock printing, and architecture. Emerging aesthetic concepts also discussed.

This course will introduce art forms and concepts that developed in China from remote antiquity to the mid-10th century. The artworks that survive from this long period were created primarily in the contexts of funerary culture and religion, while knowledge of art made for other purposes is based on texts. Organized chronologically, the course will examine the materials, techniques, and functions of the most important artistic media in each period. These media will include including jade-carving, metalwork, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, painting, woodblock printing, and architecture. We will also consider the aesthetic concepts and social groups associated with the various art forms.

The course has two meetings per week, at which attendance will be taken. In general, the first class in each section of the syllabus will be a lecture overview, and others will focus on more specific aspects and allow more class participation. The goals are to foster in-depth understanding of art historical developments in early China and to encourage students to develop skills and confidence in analyzing, describing, and comparing visual forms. You do not need to know Chinese for this course, but I will expect you to become familiar with important names and terms.

(Taught by Prof. Li | Offered on Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:15 | L150 Elvehjem Building)

Open to Freshmen. I; 3 credits (H-E)

Art History 576 Pro Seminar in Chinese Art: Gendered Material Practice and the Cult of Guanyin

The bodhisattva Guanyin (Perceiver of Sounds), or Avalokiteśvara (the Bodhisattva of Compassion), originally a male deity in India, was completely indigenized as a female deity during the fourteenth century after Buddhism had spread in China for about a millennium. Following her feminization, Guanyin soon became the most popular female deity in China in the late imperial period. This course will investigate various material practices related to the gendered transformation of Guanyin and the impact of the feminized Guanyin on believers in terms of their own gendered identities. We will study this phenomena from aspects such as the iconographic transformation, pilgrimage, gendered devotional practice through making and patronizing the icon of Guanyin, embodying Guanyin though women’s things and bodies, the cult of Guanyin in relation to the cult of women’s purity, courtesan and Guanyin, staging Guanyin, etc. We will cover a wide range of mediums such as architecture, sculpture, mural and scroll painting, prints, ink rubbing, embroidered and woven images, jewelry and photography.

Through this course, we will ask the questions such as, why only in China did Avalokiteśvara undergo a sex-change? How do we understand the relationships that obtained between worshipped and worshipper in terms of their gender differences? How did women synthesize the conflicting symbolic frameworks of Buddhism and Confucianism within material culture and practice?

1. 5 page, book review
2. 15 page, final paper
3. Student presentation

(Taught by Prof. Li | Offered on Wed 4:00-6:00 | L170 Elvehjem Building)

Requires consent of instructor (contact Teddy Kaul ejkaul@wisc.edu for consent). 3 credits (H-D).


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Center for East Asian Studies, International Institute, 333 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive,
Madison, WI 53706-1397 email: eas@eastasia.wisc.edu tel:(608)262-3643 fax:(608)265-2919