Arts of Imperial China

Course Dates: 30/01/24 - 05/03/24
Time: 12:00 - 13:30
Location: Online
Explore the arts of imperial China spanning across 13 dynasties and 2000 years. Study how painting, sculpture, and architecture were deeply shaped by its richly diverse culture, philosophy, and religion.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £99.00 Senior fee £79.00 Concession £64.00

Arts of Imperial China
  • Course Code: VB921
  • Dates: 30/01/24 - 05/03/24
  • Time: 12:00 - 13:30
  • Taught: Tue, Daytime
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Online
  • Tutor: Meitao Qu

Course Code: VB921

Tue, day, 30 Jan - 05 Mar '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This introductory lecture series offers a broad overview of imperial Chinese art between the formation of the Qin dynasty in 221BC to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. As the mandate of heaven passed through disparate cultures and ethnicities, the area now known as China was a melting pot of pluralisms. Nevertheless, art was characterised by an unusual commitment to tradition and continuity. Each week, we will journey through the rise and fall of dynasties to consider how material culture responded to the shifting conditions of history, politics, and religion. For example, how does landscape painting unite the philosophies of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism? Or how does folding screens operate as both an illusory representation and an architectural device?

We will also explore the influence of Chinese decorative arts on European artistic traditions through the Chinoiserie movement that peaked during the 18th century. Furthermore, we will examine the production and circulation of Chinese art and goods, so highly sought after that it eventually prompted the First Opium War.

Examples of case studies which will be included but are not limited to:
• Scroll painting
• Calligraphy
• Ceramics
• Lacquerware
• Landscape design
• Imperial architecture.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

• A Broad overview of Imperial Chinese art between Qin and Qing dynasty
• Intellectual and decorative artistic traditions
• How material culture responded to the shifting conditions of history, politics and religion
• Influence of imperial Chinese art on European artistic traditions
• The production and circulation of Chinese art in domestic and international contexts.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• List the major dynasties in Chinese history
• Identify the core forms of material culture during the imperial era
• Understand how art was influenced by socio-political, philosophical, and religious contexts
• Have an awareness of the impact of Chinese art on European artistic traditions.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is suitable for all levels.

You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and operate basic elements of Zoom like the camera and microphone functions.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught online with slide presentations and group discussions. Handouts will be provided by your tutor to support your learning on the course; these handouts will be available online/digitally for download via the college’s Google Classroom. You will be sent an invitation to join the Google Classroom within a week of the course start date.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

You might wish to purchase a notebook for taking notes. You might wish to buy some of the books on any reading list provided.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Image and Identity: 20th century Chinese art and cinema
Looking at Chinese art in London galleries
Friday lates: Contemporary art in China - over the Great Firewall.

Meitao Qu

Meitao is an associate lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art, where she received an MA specialising in Contemporary Chinese Art and Geopolitics. From Shanghai Golden Age cinema to memes on the Chinese internet, Meitao’s research interests span across 20th and 21st century visual culture in China. She also holds an MFA from Ruskin School of Art and maintains a visual art practice alongside teaching.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.