EALC145g: Introduction to Chinese Culture, Art and Literature (4 units)

Tues. Thurs. 2-3.20 p.m. THH 301

Instructor: Professor Dominic Cheung

Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Office hrs:Tuesday 3.20-5.20 pm, THH356T and by appointments

Teaching Assistants:

1. Jingyu Xue,

2. Di Luo,

3. Wei Xiao,

Information on TAs’ locations and walk-in office hours will be announced and posted.

Course description:

This course provides a historicalintroductionto the culture, art and literature of pre-modern China through the lens of the cultural products of identity. We examine the artistic andculturaldevelopments from the beginning of the proto-historical Bronze Ageonto the Empires of Qin and Han, the Imperial States of Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing in an attempt to see how cultural identities are simultaneously created and expressed through varied artistic mediums (bronze, sculpture,porcelain, paintings…etc) and literary genres of these periods. Coupling with the study of visual, cultural, and literary texts under the three major topics of 1/ The Discovery of the Self, 2/ Illusion of the Self in relations to Nature and Religion, 3/ Towards the Harmony of Self and Nature, especial attentions will be paid to thequest of the self and human harmony with the universe and the other, the function of art and literature in religious, philosophical, social and aesthetic discourse, conception ofnaturein art, literature, and in visual and material cultures.

Required texts:

Chang, K.C. Art, Myth, and Ritual: The Path to Political Authority in Ancient China, (abbreviated as AMR) Cambridge: HarvardUniversity, 1983.

Sullivan, Michael, The Artsof China (abbreviated as AOC), 5th edition, 2008.

Course Reader (CR), available at “Magic Machine”University Graphics (University Village, 3309 S. Hoover).


10% Class participation, attendance, quizzes and reading assignments

30 % Midterm examination (multiple choices, fill-in blanks and short answers)

15 % First short term-paper (5-7 pages)

15 % Second short term-paper (7-10 pages)

30 % Final examination (multiple choices, short answers, and a short essay question, bring a blue book)

Explanations: Two short term-papers (2 x 15% towards the total grade), typed, double-spaced ; a midterm examination and a final examination, each counted for 30% towards the final grade with an additional 10% for classroom participation (quiz and regular attendance, students are expected to attend all class lectures, evidence of studying assigned readings, and class discussions.) Paper topics can be selected through consultation with the instructor or in reference to the topic suggestions. Late submission of papers will be penalized by a deduction of one percentage point per day of lateness from the grade of the paper. There is no makeup examination except for students who submit an authentic medical proof. Likewise, those who fail to attend one-third of the semester class sessions will receive a failing grade.

PLEASE NOTE; Failure to attend lecture and discussion sections will be taken very seriously. One unexcused absence will be tolerated, but further unexcused absences will affect the “class participation” portion of the student’s grade (not the overall grade) as follows:

2 absences: 1 letter grade deduction

3 absences: 2 letter grades deduction

5 or more: automatic “F”

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities:

Students who need to request accommodations based on a disability are required to register each semester with the Disability Services and Programs office (Student Union, Room 301). In addition, a letter of verification to the course instructor, from the Disability Services and Programs office is needed for the semester in which you are enrolled for this course. If you have questions concerning this procedure, please contact both the instructor of the course, and the Disability Services and Programs office at 213-740-0776.


Week 1: January 11, 13


Maps and Chronology

Reading:From AOC (TheArts of China)

Map (page after Table of Contents)

Chronological Table of Dynasties (only major Dynasties)

See also handouts for simplified chronology and provincial map.

Week 2 January 18, 20

Part I: The Beginning of Chinese Civilization and theDiscovery of the Self

The Early Bronze Age: The“Three Dynasties”

Reading:AMR (Art, Myth and Ritual)Chapter 1 “Clans, Towns, and the PoliticalLandscape”, 9-32.

Week 3January 25,27

Quiz on map and chronology

The Early Bronze Age (continued)

Reading:AMR, chapter 2 “Moral Authority and Coercive Power”, 33-43.

Reading. AOC, chapter 2 “The Early Bronze Age: Shang and Western Zhou”15-43.

Week 4February, 1,3

The Late Bronze Age and Political Authority (Bronze Age Power-point)

Reading: AMR, chapter 6 “Access to the Path” 95-106.

Reading: AMR, chapter 7 “The Rise of Political Authority” 107-129.

Week 5 February8,10

Reading: AOC, chapter 3, “Eastern Zhou and the Period of the Warring States" 45-63.

Week 6 February15 17

Mid-term examination (Thursday, February17)

The First Unification and the Great Wall

Reading:AOC,Chapter 4 "The Qin and Han Dynasties" 65-96.

[Course Reader]: Ancient Tales, “The Serpent Sacrifice”, “The Sword Maker”24-27, “Prince Tan of Yen”30-41, “The Biography of Bo Yi and Shu Qi”142-145, From “Biographies of the Assassins”: “Yu Jang” 18-20;Nie Zheng” 152-154.

Week 7 February 22,24

Terra-cotta Warriors and the Lishan Underground Tomb

DVD The First Emperor—China’s Terracotta Army (The British Museum Press, 2007)

[Course Reader]: Terra cotta and “A Magic Army for the Emperor”, Lothar Ledderose, Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art, 68-73.

Film Hero, (2004)

Week 8 March 1,3 (1st term-paper due, March 3th)

Part II: The Illusion of the Self(momento mori, carpe diem)

[Course Reader]: Chuang Tzu “ The Secret of Caring for Life” 46-49

Daoism, The Birth of Aesthetics, Calligraphy, The Birth of Landscape and Figure Paintings.

Reading: AOC Chapter 5, "The Three Kingdoms and the Six Dynasties, 99-110

Yungang, Longmen, and Dunhuang cave chapels (power-point)

Reading: [Course Reader]: “The Introduction of Buddhism”, Wm. de Bary, Sources of Chinese Tradition, 415-420

Reading: AOC Chapter 5, "Buddhism and Buddhist Art", 110-124.

Week 9March 8,10

Tang Buddhist sculpture in Longmen, Buddhist paintings, court paintings

Reading: AOC Chapter 6, "Sui-Tang Dyansties" 131-151

Reflections of the Mundane Self and Nature in Chinese Painting:(Tang and Late Tang) Power-point

[Course Reader]:“Governor ofthe SouthernTributary State”56-69, “TheSpendthrift and theAlchemist”136-143.

Longmen Caves (Fengxian Temple only, Power-point), Mogao Cavesin Dunhuang (Cave 45 only, Power-point)

Spring Break March 14-19

Week 10March 22, 24

Part III: Towards Harmony of the Self and Nature

[Course Reader]: “Ren the Fox Fairy” 13-25, “Story of a Singsong Girl”, “Wushuang the Peerless” from TangRomances, 70-96.

Week 12(2nd term-paper due April 2)March 29, 31

Landscape and Court Culture in Chinese Painting (Song)Power-point

Reading: AOC Chapter 7 "The Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty" 163-166.

Sculpture 168-172

Paintings:Court painting 173-175

Landscape paintings and Masters 175-185

Song Huizong and the Academy, Birds and Flower painting 186-188.

Week 13April 5, 7

Reflections of Self and Nature in Chinese Art and Painting:(Yuan and Ming, Late Ming and Qing) Power-point


AOC Chapter 8: "The Yuan Dynasty" 207-208

Art under the Mongols 211-225

AOC Chapter 9: "The Ming Dynasty" 227-231

Painting of the Literati, 235-239

Dong Qichang and the North and South Schools 241-244.

Week 14April 12,14;Week 15April 19, 21,

Material culture: Ceramics and porcelain, Yue wares (Celadon wares, Introduction to Chinese Porcelain Power-points)

Ceramics and Porcelain (Song, Yuan, Ming) Power-point

Reading: AOC: Introduction to Chinese ceramics and porcelain

Han ceramics 96-97

Six Dynasties 127-129

Sui and Tang Dynasties 153-161

Song ceramics: Northern wares 196-201, Southern wares 201-205

Yuan porcelain 224-225

Ming ceramics 251-255

Qing wares of the Kangxi, Yong Zheng, Qiang Long periods 277-282.

[Course Reader]: Lothar Ledderose “Export Porcelain”—The Geldermalsen. 88-97.

[Course Reader]: “The Rise of Tea Drinking in China”, from John Kieschnick,The Impactof Buddhism onChinese Material Culture, Princeton UniversityPress, 2003, 262-275.

Excerpts from Dream of the Red Chamber, chapter 41“Jia Bao-yutastes some superior tea at Green Bower Hermitage….” 304-316.

Week 16April 26, 28

Review week

FINAL EXAM:ThursdayMay 5th, 2-4 p.m. in the lecture classroom (bring blue book).

The University has a strict policy against deviating from this exam scheduling (for details see ).

EALC145: Paper topic suggestions

  1. From “Imagined Communities” to “Real Kingdoms”---The formation and development of the clans and community in the Bronze Age. Trace and discuss.
  2. Discuss the importance of lineage formation of the Three Dynasties in the Bronze Age.
  3. Discuss the First Emperor of Qin and his Empire. Comment on Zhang Yimou’s film “Hero”.
  4. Discuss the characteristics of “assassins” in the tales and biographies of “Yu Jang”, “Princes Tan of Yen”, and “Nie Zheng”. Compare and contrast.
  5. Discuss Buddhism and Buddhist characteristics in the cave chapels of Yungang, Longmen, and Dunhuang?
  6. Discuss “life as a dream” in the tales of “Governor of the Southern Tributary State”, “The Spendthrift and the Alchemist”.
  7. Discuss the theme of “love” in Tang romances---“Ren the Fox Fairy”, “Story of a Singsong Girl” and “Wushuang the Peerless”.
  8. Trace the development of “portraiture” paintings in Late Tang and the discovery of nature in Song paintings. Compare and contrast.
  9. Discuss the characteristics of “literati” paintings in Yuan and Ming. How does the “re-discovery of the self” reflect in contrast to the “concealed self ” in Song landscape paintings?

10. Discuss the development of the ceramics and porcelain from Tang to Ming Dynasty.

11. Discuss tea drinking and tea utensils in excerpts from the Dream of the Red Chamber[from Course Reader].

12. Trace the significance and development of “export porcelain” from China to the West. Discuss the application of Ledderose’s “module system” to these porcelains such as the “Nanking Cargo”.


Benn, Charles. China’s Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Cahill, James. Chinese Painting. Rizzoli, 1977.

------, Fantastics and Eccentrics in Chinese Painting, The Asia Society, Inc. 1967.

Clunas, Craig. Fruitful Sites: Garden Culture in Ming Dynasty China, Reaktion Books, 1996.

------. Art in China, OxfordU. Press, 1997.

------. Superfluous Things, Material Culture and Social Status in Early Modern China, U. of Hawaii Press, 1991.

------, Elegant Debts, The Social Art of Wen Zhengming, Reaktion, 2004.

Edwards, Richard. The Art of Wen Cheng-ming (1470-1559), The U. of Michigan Museum of Art, 1976.

Ebrey, Patricia., ed. Chinese Civilization, The Free Press, 1993.

------, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, CambridgeU. Press, 1996.

Ecke, Tseng Yu-ho, Wen-Jen Hua: Chinese Literati Painting from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Hutchinson, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1988.

Falkerhausen von, Lothar. Chinese Society in the Age of Confucius (1000-250 BC)--The Archaeological Evidence, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA, 2006.

Frazer, Sarah. Performing the Visual, The Practice of Buddhist Wall Painting in China and Central Asia, 618-960, StanfordU. Press, 2004.

John Kieschnick, The Impactof Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture, PrincetonUniversity Press, 2003.

Kerr, Rose. Song Dynasty Ceramics, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2004.

Ledderose, Lothar. Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art, Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 2000.

Liang, Ssu-ch'eng, Chinese Architecture, A Pictorial History, Dover, 1984.

Murck, Alfreda. The Subtle Art of Dissent: Poetry and Painting in Song China, Cambridge: HarvardUniversity Press, 2000.

Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art, Style in the East Asian Tradition: Colloguies on Art & Archaeology in Asia No. 14, U. of London, 1987.

Rowley, George. Principles of Chinese Painting, revised ed. Princeton UP, 1970.

Schafer, Edward H. The Golden Peaches of Samarkand: A Study of Tang Exotics,

Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Silbergeld, Jerome. Chinese Painting Style, U. of Washington Press, 1982.

Thorp,Robert & Richard Vinograd, Chinese Art and Culture, (abbreviated as CAC) New York: Abrams, 1999.

Wang, Eugene. Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture in Medieval China, U. of Washington Press, 2005.

Whitfield, Roderick. In Pursuit of Antiquity, Princeton U. 1969.

------ed. The Problem of Meaning in Early Chinese Ritual Bronzes, U. of London, 1993.

Yang, Xiaoneng. Reflections of Early China, Decor, Pictographs, and Pictorial Inscriptions, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2000.

Yang, Barnhart, Nie, Cahill, Lang, Wu. Three Thousand Years of Chinese Painting,YaleU. Press, 1997.