Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties, 300 BCE-200 CE

This seminar offers an introduction to the Qin and Han dynasties by examining major archaeological finds, including the tomb complex of the First Emperor and the tomb of the Marquis of Haihun, discovered in 2011, which yielded some 20,000 artifacts. The considerable body of interpretive scholarship generated over the past 50 years in the field of Qin and Han archaeology forms the focus of this class. Exhibitions and catalogs will serve as major resources, while several class meetings will be dedicated to a close reading of recent studies on the development of crafts, manufacturing technology, artisans, transcultural objects, and funerary conventions. The course also considers the luxuriousness of craft products (notably silk, lacquer, bronze, gold, and jade) in light of despotism, intolerant laws, religious zeal, and cosmological and Confucian thought. Finally, we will pay attention to how Qin and Han objects were treated in subsequent eras as collectible antiquities, sources for late imperial design, and centerpieces in contemporary discussions of national identity. 3 credits. Satisfies either the non-Western or pre-1800 requirement.