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HA2001 The Arts of Japan

Module Organiser: Ms Ruth Starr
Duration of the Module: Hilary Term
Contact Hours: 1 lecture pw, and 1 seminar per fortnight
Weighting: 5 ECTS

This module will examine cultural highpoints in the arts of Japan from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Artefacts in all media - painting, ceramics, lacquer and textiles - will be examined in the context of the influence of China on Japan, the creation of the Shogun Court, the rise of the merchant classes and the establishment of the pleasure districts in burgeoning Tokyo. Particular attention will be paid to lacquer ware created for the domestic and European market, the arts associated with the tea ceremony and traditional Japanese theatre. Themes of Japonisme will be explored, particularly in nineteenth century Ireland as Japan emerged after 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the outside world.


Assessment is by coursework only. Students undertake one essay and one slide test. The essay is worth 70% of the assessment, and the slide test accounts for 30% of the assessment.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • recognize and explain a range of themes in Japanese art relating to: social contexts; various media; explain how meaning is conveyed, through in-depth study of pertinent examples from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
  • compare and evaluate different approaches to understanding art traditions in Japan.
  • assess critically the materials and themes explored in the course through the use of particular examples of Japanese art
  • employ correctly the range of skills used in art history and undertake independent analysis and research, and communicate their findings through written assignments and class presentations on works of art before their peers
  • demonstrate a familiarity with the holdings of public collections of Asian art in Dublin.