Undergraduate Seminar: The World of Chinese Landscape Painting
Image credit: Shen Zhou, Knowing-the-Joy Pavilion (Zhile Xuan 知樂軒) in Eastern Villa Album, ca. 1478. Album leaf (1 of 21), ink and colors on paper, 28.6 x 33 cm. Nanjing: Nanjing Museum.
The living world is a dynamic horizon in which human consciousness and material things constitute and condition one another. How does the work of art make or manifest that world? This course wrestles with this question by examining Chinese landscape paintings from the seventh century to the seventeenth century. During this period, Chinese painting underwent significant changes in terms of subject matter, compositional mode, as well as art-historical awareness. These changes were tangled with how people relate themselves to the sociopolitical and physical environments. Considering some major art-historical phenomena transpired over time, this course provides an understanding of Chinese paintings by highlighting their real-world engagements with respect to historical transformations, political climates, and geophysical specificities. The course also deals with some theories of ecological criticisms and new materialisms that have reshaped certain intellectual inquiries in recent years. The goal of the course is to lead students to critically viewing what seems to be familiar and to insightfully challenging what appears to be normal. A portion of the course will be devoted to examining Chinese paintings in the UM Art Museum (if safety issue is cleared).
HISTART Distribution Requirements: 1. Ancient, C. Asia (includes China, Japan, India, South and Southeast Asia, and the Pacific)