This is a two-week intensive course focusing on the arts of China exploring jade, bronzes, painting, ceramics from ancient times to the modern and contemporary period. The course includes handling sessions and visits, encouraging students to have hands on engagement with art objects, in order to gain an understanding of the history and material culture of arts from China. It aims to be highly informative and enjoyable, bringing the subject to life through sessions held by leading experts in the field.
During the first week, students will examine highly sophisticated forms of early Chinese material cultures and how these were related to rituals, the afterlife and burials of elite members of society from neolithic to bronze age China, forming the foundations of early iconographies and script. They will also study early painting traditions linking the treatment of the figure and line to later works during the flourishing of literati and court painting. Lectures will be supplemented by visits to key institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and specialist dealerships. The second week focuses on the arts in later dynasties from the Ming and Qing through to the modern period, exploring modernism and Westernisation leading up to the contemporary art world. The course will also investigate the ways in which international museums and collections are responding to the current explosion of the art world in China and its effect on culture at large.