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Chinese Art: From the Bronze Age to the People’s Republic
4-Session Evening Course

Monday, October 16 to November 6, 2017 – 6:45 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Code: 1H0277

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"Lady Under a Gnarled Pine Tree", 16th century, Ming dynasty, China (Freer Sackler)

With a dynamic and far-reaching history that spans the Neolithic period to the modern age, Chinese civilization has given rise to some of the world’s most remarkable artistic creations. Robert DeCaroli, associate professor in the department of history and art history at George Mason University, explores that complex legacy by examining how shifts in China’s social, religious, and political life have influenced transformations in its material culture.

OCT 16 Origins of Chinese Culture (5000–256 B.C.)

Explore the beginnings of Chinese civilization through the ceramics, bronzes, jades, and other grave ghosts revealed through archaeological digs. Spanning the Neolithic era to the Zhou dynasty, DeCaroli examines the objects and ideas that characterize China’s earliest periods.

OCT 23  Foundations of the Chinese Imperial System (221 B.C.–618 A.D.)

From China’s first emperor in the Qin, to the birth of the Confucian state in the Han, and the arrival of Buddhism in the Northern Wei, DeCaroli looks at the spectacular art and architecture of China’s early and occasionally fractious dynasties. What political philosophies and religious ideas most inspired the works?

OCT 30  China and the Outside World (618–1368)

Trade and expansion during the Tang dynasty brought new wealth, new customs, and new ideas. The eventual rise of ethnically Jurchen and Mongol dynasties moved China further into contact with the wider word. Export goods such as porcelain and silk continued to be produced, as indigenous painting traditions among the literati and court artists flourished.

NOV 6   From the Forbidden City to a People’s Republic (1368–Present)

As the Ming dynasty closed its northern borders with the Great Wall and China explored the seas, the arts of the court continued to change and evolve. The decline of the Qing dynasty in the face of mounting foreign aggression paved the way for the end of the imperial system and the rise of the People’s Republic—and entirely new forms of state- sponsored art. 

4 sessions

World Art History Certificate core course: Earn 1 credit 


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)