Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Online Supplement, Teaching Resources Essay

AP Art History and Chinese Art

The AP art history curriculum identifies 250 works students are required to know, spanning 20,000 years of history and cultures across the globe. The list includes thirty works of Asian art. I teach in a rural fringe district and am committed to giving my students “equal access” to non-Western artistic traditions, and have taken several courses with NCTA, including the 2011 China study tour. My study tour began with Shanghai at night (with its river of lights), the gardens at Hangzhou, Ch...

Feature Article, Online Supplement

Bringing Traditional Chinese Culture to Life

This issue of Education About Asia addresses the question, “What should we know about Asia?” Based on my experiences teaching courses on China and East Asia, traditional Chinese culture is one of the most important topics in understanding both past and present Asia. China has one of the world’s oldest civilizations. This poses many challenges to teachers who desire to make this rich and complex tradition accessible to their students. On both a temporal and spatial level, traditional China ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Ai Weiwei: Artist Activist Best Practices for Teaching Modern Art in the History Classroom

Editor’s note: This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA). The work of NCTA is directly related to the theme of this issue, “What Should We Know About Asia?”, and core components of NCTA professional development courses are classroom innovation and implementation, with NCTA teacher-participants developing lesson plans as part of their completion projects. To both commemorate NCTA’s anniversary and, as important, to ...

Teaching Resources Essay

Message in a Bottle Cap: Stories for All Classes as Told by Korean Art

One tends to gain a more comprehensive understanding of a culture through the close examination of its messages, visualized in the medium of art. This essay will identify several ways in which an investigation of the visual arts can help students explore the impact of past events and understand the influence of contemporary issues on the development of resources and methods of artistic production, using case studies of Korean artwork. Access to this work in Korea, however, has often been limi...

Feature Article

Constructing Communism Teaching about Revolutionary Societies through Chinese Poster Art

The images are striking: Brilliant smiles on happy peasants, proudly driving their tractors, harvesting their crops, fields bright yellow with grain. Workers in steel mills, their serious faces illuminated by orange glowing metal. Soldiers, airmen, sailors in their green and white uniforms, sternly on guard, holding their weapons and red books against an unseen enemy. A happy family, enjoying urban prosperity under the all-seeing gaze of Chairman Mao Zedong. Angry youth contemptuously smashing a...

Feature Article

Another World Lies Beyond: Three Chinese Gardens in the US

After more than a decade in the making, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for a grand classical Chinese garden in Washington, DC, in October 2016. The US $100 million project, expected to be completed by the end of this decade, will transform a twelve-acre site at the National Arboretum into the biggest overseas Chinese garden to date. Interestingly, the report allures that the garden project is meant to implant “a bold presence” of China near the US Capitol and “achieve for Sino-US rel...

Book Review Essay, Resources

The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

By Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions Translated by Frederik L. Schodt Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press, 2016 928 pages, ISBN: 978-1611720259, paperback Reviewed by William Tsutsui Tezuka Osamu is hardly a household name in the United States, even in the fan communities that so eagerly consume the products of the Japanese pop culture industry that Tezuka was instrumental in building after World War II. In Japan, however, Tezuka is revered as a “god of manga,” a pi...

EAA Interview, Resources

An EAA interview with the 2016 Franklin R. Buchanan Prizewinners Dorinda Neave, Lara C. W. Blanchard, and Marika Sardar for Asian Art

This is our twentieth consecutive interview with the recipients of the AAS Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. This year’s winners are Dorinda Neave, Lara Blanchard, and Marika Sardar, who are coauthors of the textbook Asian Art (Pearson, 2014). Asian Art is an accessible introduction for students to Asian art history, the emergence and evolution of Asian art in all its diversity, and the patterns of continuity and change between the arts and cultures of various regions comprising Asia. Dorinda Neave ...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asian Art

Asian Art By Dorinda Neave, Lara C. W. Blanchard, and Marika Sardar Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2014 432 pages, ISBN: 978-0205837632, Paperback Reviewed by Kachina Martin A Book from the Sky by Xu Bing is the opening image from chapter 10, “The Push for Modernization: 1912 to the Present” in the textbook Asian Art by Dorinda Neave, Lara Blanchard, and  Marika  Sardar  (Pearson, 2014), winner of the 2016 Franklin R. Buchanan Prize. Xu’s statement opens the text of the c...

Film Review Essay, Resources

Chinese Calligraphy, a Dance on Paper: The Art of Professor Yang Xin

Produced by Raymond Olson DVD, 46 Minutes, Color Sacred Mountain Productions, 2015 Reviewed by Jared Hall Calligraphy is among the most recognizable markers of Chinese culture. Even Americans who have never stepped foot in a Chinatown have likely encountered Chinese characters gracing a takeout restaurant sign or peeking out from a neck tattoo. Partly for this reason, Chinese characters provide an accessible entry point to learning about China and East Asia. It is a process that can begin...

Feature Article

Cultivating Enlightenment: The Manifold Meaning of Japanese Zen Gardens

While Zen gardens have been a fixture of Japanese aesthetics since the Muromachi Period (1336–1573), the purposes and meanings of these austere landscapes have been far less fixed, and indeed have changed somewhat since their first appearance as places for meditation in the Zen temples of medieval Japan. For those of us who have been fortunate enough to visit such magnificent sites as Ryōanji or Tenryūji, the primary function of Zen gardens today seems to be to remind the busloads of tour...

Book Review, Resources

Chinese Religious Art

By Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky Lanham: Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield), 2013 394 Pages, ISBN: 978-0739180594, Paperback Reviewed by Benita Stambler It seems hard to believe that there has not been a volume prior to this one devoted to Chinese religious art, but this work by Patricia Eichenbaum Karetzky is the first comprehensive volume on the subject. It thus fills an important gap in literature on Asian art by providing a less- familiar lens for examining dynastic art. In this b...

Online Supplement

Beyond Cultural Tourism: Experiencing the Arts in Bali

Music, dance, theater, and arts and crafts are important parts of Balinese culture. Their ceremonial nature reflects the multiple layers of Balinese Hindu religious practices and philosophies within the complex social-cultural structure of Balinese society. The inseparable relationships among these arts provide a vivid soundscape and landscape for students to experience the functions of arts in a living environment. Since the early twentieth century, Bali has been staged for the consumption of c...

Online Supplement

“Beyond Cultural Tourism: Experiencing the Arts in Bali” Syllabus

The cooperating overseas agency is the Traditional Dance and Music Studio, Sanggar Manik Galih, in Tabanan, Bali. The program is in response to Americans’ growing awareness of Southeast Asian cultures in general and of the unique Balinese arts and their functions in traditional and modern-day Balinese society in particular. Music, dance, and theater along with art and crafts are important parts of Balinese culture. The ceremonial nature of the arts reflects the multiple layers of religious pra...

Asia: Experiential Learning, Columns, Resources

Drawing Insights in Việt Nam

Every spring, Marlboro College offers one or two semester-long courses that include a travel abroad experience. A few years ago, I had the opportunity as part of a Freeman grant held by the college to participate, along with students, in a study course focused on Asia.1 The year that I participated, the course was titled Việt Nam: Revolution and Restoration, and it included a three-week trip to north and central Việt Nam. The classwork introduced our group of five faculty and twelve students...

Feature Article

Another Floating World: Maritime Japan through Woodblock Prints

Modern-day viewers can glimpse the maritime world of Edo period (1603–1867) Japan through the ubiquitous ukiyo-e, woodblock print. The majority of early woodblock prints were pictures of beautiful women often associated with the pleasure quarters and available for mass consumption. As printing techniques improved, artisans experimented with new perspectives, and subjects’ woodblock prints attained a higher status. Changes in society’s perception of actors, courtesans, and artists mirrored ...

Book Review, Resources

The Art of Modern China

When China first emerged on the world stage as an economic power some twenty years ago, not many Western scholars had attempted to define the trajectory of modern Chinese art, focusing instead on works created before the last dynasty ended. The reasons for this are complex but, besides a limited audience for more contemporary works, included such questions as what modern art really is in an era of globalization, what influence indigenous verses foreign stimulation played in its development in Ch...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using Korean Bojagi in the Classroom

Bojagi (sometime written pojagi) is a traditional Korean folk art consisting of patchwork cloths made from scrap fabrics such as cotton, silk, ramie, and hemp. These practical cloths of varying sizes were present in Korea as early as the fourteenth century and were used to cover and contain items such as gifts, beds, tables, and foods. The art has historically been passed down through generations of unnamed female artists and were used by Korean people from all classes, commoners and royalty ali...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Between the Floating Mist: Poems of Ryokan, and Lotus Moon: The Poetry of Rengetsu

In addition to its importance as a major world religion, Buddhism has produced one of the longest-running, most multifaceted, and brilliantly textured literary cultures, spanning nearly two millennia and covering the full range of the Asian continent. Over the last three centuries or so, Buddhist literature has also exerted increasing influence on authors in the West. Henry David Thoreau owned a copy of Robert Spence Hardy’s A Manual of Budhism[sic]. Gary Snyder, Alan Ginsberg, and Jane Hirshf...

Feature Article

An Environmental Ethic in Chinese Landscape Painting

Landscape painting in Western art did not develop into an important category of painting until the seventeenth century. In contrast, landscape painting in China was already a prized art form by the ninth century. In fact, when Chinese art was systematically introduced to the West during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the prominence afforded nature—as opposed to humans— in Chinese art startled Western audiences. One reviewer of a pioneering exhibition of Chinese art at the British Mu...

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