Textiles of China and Japan: Highlights from the Ancient World to the Early Twentieth Century


Fall 2014


2nd Floor Classroom


Joyce Denney

This seminar will survey the textiles of China and Japan in a generally chronological sequence and with an episodic focus on highlights of the extremely long period it covers. (The two cultures have an extremely close relationship, especially in the medieval period, and Chinese textiles must be understood to achieve an adequate understanding of Japanese textile history.)  By the end of the course, students will have a basic grounding in the woven textile structures of Chinese textiles and the dye techniques of Japanese textiles. Making use of textiles and visual materials of various sorts (ranging from Chinese tomb figures to Japanese prints, paintings, pattern books, and literary works), the class will explore various textile types and issues of their interpretation. Students will give brief reports on readings and objects and contribute to in-class discussions. The culminating project, a class presentation followed by a paper, should reflect the students' own areas of interest, as related to East Asian textiles. (For students unable to read East Asian languages, consultation with the instructor will be necessary to assure that enough material for the project is available in Western languages.) 3 credits. Satisfies non-Western or, depending on final research project, pre-1800 requirement.