The seminar explores ways in which heaven is visualized in Chinese art. Topics include astrology, ceiling decoration, heaven-earth correlative cosmology, macro-microcosms, etc. Media include tombs, caves, buildings, and other structures. The periods covered range from the early to late imperial times. Students will be presented with a general body of literature and encouraged to explore their own specific topics.
The seminar focuses on a Dunhuang cave with vexed ties to Harvard. Mural fragments acquired by Langdon Warner-led Harvard team now reside in Harvard Art Museums. Visually restoring the fragments to the existing cave, the seminar explores the programmatic integrity of the cave decoration. In particular, it seeks a deep understanding of the role of apocalypse in the cosmic vision the cave evokes. The seminar also aims to create an educational media presentation of the cave.
The seminar is a prelude to the full-fledged Gen Ed course to be offered in the spring. Exclusively drawn from the Harvard Art Museums' collection, the twelve artworks range from a Shang dynasty bronze vessel to early twentieth-century painted fan. The seminar selects, sorts out, and filters relevant background readings, identify key issues embedded in the materials, and researches related works that substantiate the central storyline inherent to the twelve key artworks.... Read more about HAA 287S: China in Twelve Artworks