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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cynthea J. Bogel
ART H 315
Seattle Campus

Buddhist Art and Material Culture of East Asia

Buddhist painting and sculpture of China, Korea, and Japan. Explores religious meaning, artistic development, and historical significance. Examples from the sixth to the seventeenth centuries, along with paintings and contemporary carvings.

Class description

SUMMER 2009: EMPHASIS ON JAPAN and its neighbors. This course features a comparative and contextual study of Buddhist icons and temples. In Japan, Buddhist art blends with Shinto beliefs; in China, with Daoist beliefs; in Korea, with shamanism. All these will be considered. The course emphasizes the ritual use of icons and why they were created for particular temples. It will examine Buddhist and mixed-Buddhist forms, including painting and sculpture; temple architecture, plans, and gardens; ritual or decorative implements and furnishings; reliquaries; and priestly possessions. If schedules allow we will visit a Seattle monastery! Each year the course will featue a particular culture/country or theme: Korea, China, Japan, Silk Road, Esoteric Buddhist visual culture, the art of the Lotus Sutra, gardens, etc.. For summer 2009 the emphasis is Japan, including comparisons with Chinese, Korean and Indian Buddhist art. The professor has over 30 years of study in Japan and the US in the area of Japanese Buddhist visual culture.

Student learning goals

Analyze the appearance and iconography of a Buddhist icon, including Buddhist meanings

Recognize differences in materials, date, and culture among Buddhist statues and paintings

Understand the function of icons and other ritual goods in Buddhist practice

A general knowledge of Japanese culture and history, and its relationship to China and Korea in ancient times

The role of Buddhism in ancient Asia and the importance of visual culture to a "philosophy" of Buddhism

The study of actual Buddhist icons in the museum and in private collections.

General method of instruction

Lecture, discussion of readings and images, and museum or temple visits.

Recommended preparation

NO PREREQUISITES. Some familiarity with East Asian arts, history, culture, or Buddhism is recommended. An open mind about foreign culture and religion. Willingness to learn foreign terms and ideas.

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments, exams, short presentations

writing assignments, exams, discussion


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Margaret E. Zabielski
Date: 05/24/2011