Education About Asia: Online Archives

Browse and download over 1,500 articles — feature articles, lesson plans, interviews, classroom resources, and book and film reviews — from Education About Asia (EAA)!

Sign up for the EAA Digest E-Newsletter and receive monthly updates and announcements from the EAA editor. Subscribe

Help us do more

by supporting EAA through print subscriptions and donations.

How to use the EAA Online Search Engine

PLEASE NOTE: All article and essay illustrations, including many images and graphics necessary for understanding the content, may be viewed in the PDF.

  1. 1

    Use the dropdown menus

    to search by author, geographic location, article type, and academic field

  2. 2

    Enter keywords

    to search the full text of articles (where search terms may not appear in the article title, eg.)

  3. 3

    View an article

    by clicking on its title. To view the original print version of the article, select “PDF”

Search for Articles

(culture, history, art, marriage, etc...)

NOTE: Archive articles may be downloaded and reproduced for personal or classroom use only.

EAA Digest Exclusive

Teaching Resources: Integrating Visual Arts: Humanities and Social Sciences Classrooms

Just as they enrich our lives, the visual arts have wonderful potential to stimulate students’ imaginations, intercultural understanding, and knowledge of other academic subjects.  The following selections from the EAA archives should prove helpful for teachers and students from a wide range of academic disciplines including anthropology, history, communications, religion, philosophy, and art history courses. Each teaching resource essay has rich visuals, most include teaching questions an...

Feature Article

Objects of Fascination: Encountering Six Dynasties China through Material Culture

Material culture—images, built spaces, and objects—can open extraordinary windows into the past. This is especially true when exploring China’s Six Dynasties period (220–589 CE). The Six Dynasties was a time of fragmentation. In the south, there was a rapid succession of dynasties while, in the north, invading nomads competed with Chinese in establishing kingdoms and dynasties. Though often remembered as a time of warfare and disruption, material culture shows that it was also a time of ...

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

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...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Asian Art

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 chapter, framing the essence of the big ideas in this section of the book. Each chapter of Asian Art opens in this manner, with a fullpage, richly colored image of a work of art and ...

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 ...

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...

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...

Feature Article

The Trickster in Japanese Art

A story: Once upon a time, a priest at a temple called Morinji was about to hang a tea kettle over the fire when it suddenly sprouted a head, tail, and feet. The priest called in his novices to see the sight, and everyone stood aghast as the furry tea kettle scampered about the room. The monks attempted to catch it, but the kettle flew about the room, just out of reach. Finally, someone managed to snatch the little kettle and thrust it into a box. The kettle had turned into tanuki, or rather, a ...

Book Review, Resources

Ideas and Art in Asian Civilizations: India, China, and Japan

BY KENNETH R. STUNKEL ARMONK, NEW YORK AND LONDON ENGLAND: M.E. SHARPE, 2012 305 PAGES, ISBN 978-0765625410, PAPERBACK Ideas and Art in Asian Civilizations: India, China, and Japan is set apart from other surveys of Asia by a succinct examination of the cosmology and traditions of thought underlying seminal art and literary works from these three cultures. Explanations such as “[the] Chinese way of thinking is profoundly relational rather than sequential” (98) and “[the] poignancy of ch...

Feature Article

The Spirit of Afghanistan: Tradition and Renewal Through the Arts

Today’s war-torn Afghanistan has complex origins, with many tribal cultures contributing to its identity. An important crossroad of Central Asia for many centuries, the region now known as Afghanistan has followed various religions and witnessed interacting artistic traditions. Trade routes, blurred borders, and the nomadic life have helped bring about rich cultural exchanges, while tribal affiliations have maintained specific customs and identities within groups. [caption id="attachment_10...

Feature Article

Which Buddha is This Anyway? Notes on Identifying the Enlightened Ones

For most American educators, the imagery of Christian, Jewish, and, to a lesser extent, Muslim religious art is relatively familiar. Not only are angels and devils instantly recognized, even when they appear in the context of Saturday Night Live, but many of us heard Bible stories growing up, and some could recite a whole litany of saints and other holy beings. However, in our globalizing times, images from other religions also appear more frequently than ever—particularly in museums and galle...

Feature Article

Performing Arts of Mongolia: Treasure of a Nomadic Culture

The vast steppe of northern China has nurtured a brilliant and unsophisticated grassland culture, including the arts of the nomadic “horseback people” who reside on the steppe. A new form of arts came into being in order to adapt itself to the region’s natural environment and ecological system. Mongolian herdsmen have lived on the grasslands of northern China for many generations (Figure 3). They left a cultural legacy of romantic simplicity that is still revered today. However, real nomad...

Feature Article

A Brief Introduction to Beijing Opera

Beijing opera is a colorful, spectacular performance art that dazzles, fascinates, and often puzzles foreigners. A quintessentially Chinese art form, its elaborate costumes and makeup, gestural and acrobatic stage movements, highly symbolic and stylized content, and unique musical style amaze and intrigue audiences. The art might be best thought of as a confluence of stylized patterns of dress, makeup, action, staging, text, and music (instrumental and vocal). Each of these parameters is the fru...

Feature Article

Tomiyama Taeko’s Art and Remembrance of the Asia Pacific War

As pointed out in the recent issue of Education About Asia special section on “the Construction of ‘Memory’ in Asia”(14.1 spring 2009), war memorials in Japan and China present starkly opposing views of World War II. Yet some East Asian individuals have produced far more nuanced and reflective commentaries. One such individual, Tomiyama Taeko, a Japanese visual artist born in 1921, is changing the way the war is remembered in Japan, Asia, and the world. Her art deals with complicated mor...

Book Review, Columns

Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook

For those interested in primary documents pertaining to Japanese culture, history, and philosophy, the Tsunoda Ryusaku, William Theodore de Bary, and Donald Keene Sources of Japanese Tradition (1958) has been the standard sourcebook for nearly fifty years. Though it touches upon some aspects of Japanese aesthetics, space was limited. In Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture, Stephen Addiss, Gerald Groemer, and J. Thomas Rimer have created a complimentary collection of primary documents “about ...

Curriculum Materials Review

Learning from Asian Art: Korea

Learning from Asian Art: Korea is an exceptional teaching resource. Educators who know little about Korea can be confident in adopting the lessons with minimal preparation time. This resource is one of three complete lesson books on Asian Art developed by the Division of Education at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Teachers of all levels will be able to adapt these materials for their specific needs. Beautiful photographs and slides inspire assignments and research in art, history, and language ...