Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties, ca. 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 field of Qin and Han archaeology has produced a considerable body of interpretive scholarship over the past 50 years. Exhibitions and catalogs will serve as our introductory resources, while several class meetings will be dedicated to a close reading of recent studies on the development of crafts, manufacturing technology, artisans, funerary conventions, and transcultural objects. To what extent was Qin and Han design linked to Inner Asia, the Middle East, and Greece and Rome? 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 the geocultural or chronological requirements.