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East Asian scroll

The Ph.D. program in East Asian Art at Harvard consists of training in Chinese and Japanese art history with the three faculty who oversee the program – Yukio Lippit, Melissa McCormick, and Eugene Wang – as well as complementary coursework in Western art history, and the languages, history, literature, and religions of East Asia.

Offerings include introductory lectures, theme-based courses, and advanced seminars on painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, Buddhist art, modern art, museum research, and pedagogical training. The examination of objects in the Harvard University Art Museums and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, regular study trips to East Asian, European, and American collections, and instruction with a steady stream of visiting professors and scholars in residence are integral aspects of the program.

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Featured Courses

HAA 286S - The Shōsō-in Treasury, Spring 2019

Yukio Lippit, Eugene Wang, David J. Roxburgh

This graduate seminar examines the remarkable array of objects preserved in the eighth-century Shōsō-in Imperial Treasury in Nara, Japan. Each session will be centered around in-depth analysis of case studies drawn from different categories of objects (painting, calligraphy, textiles, lacquerware, ceramics, glass, and metalwork among others) created in different cultural regions along the Silk Road, spanning Persia and Japan, from the sixth through eighth century. The goal will be to work outwards from specific objects to larger themes including the interregional transmission of artistic techniques and cultural knowledge along the Silk Road; transposition of modalities of making from one material or process into another; the role of artifacts in diplomatic exchange; vernacular iconographies; pseudomorphology; the role of treasuries in the construction of kingship; the relationship between art and environment in Central and East Asia; the contribution of conservation science to discursive forms of art historical analysis; and the merits and demerits of various digital humanities approaches to the study of the Silk Road and its cultural history.

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HAA 83: Buddhist Monuments, Spring 2019

Jinah Kim, Yukio Lippit, Eugene Wang

Examines works in the Harvard Art Museums in art historical, literary, and religious context in preparation for future exhibitions. The Fall 2016 seminar focuses on the celebrated thirteenth-century sculpture of Shôtoku Taishi (99.1979.1), the texts, sculptures, and relics, once stored inside the statue, and how the ensemble sheds new light on Kamakura religious history, charismatic monks such as Eison and Ippen, and the meaning behind dedicatory offerings by nuns and laypeople in the medieval period.