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Arts of Song Period China

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Like the Renaissance in Europe, the Song period marked the beginning of early modern culture in China. Major advances in technology and an unprecedented expansion of commerce helped bring about an innovative and influential blossoming of crafts. Although best known as the “golden age of ceramics,” the period witnessed fascinating developments in metalworking, textile manufacture, and the working of jade, lacquer, and wood. The course explores the various crafts (and ceramic traditions) of this period in relation to one another and explains their development within social and political contexts. Issues of concern throughout the class are the promotion of artisans’ social standing; the changes in aesthetic appreciation of an object; the revival of antique design, trade, and the regional interactions between south and north China; and critical analysis of the writings of later connoisseurs. The course includes museum and gallery visits. 3 credits.