Art History: The Beauty of Materials - Japanese Art in the U

Ref: C2418954

This course will discuss Japanese crafts and design, focussing on the materials, techniques and motifs used. Their aesthetic and historical contexts will also be introduced and examples from UK Japanese art collections will be used.

Additional information about this course

This course will discuss Japanese crafts and design, focussing on the materials, techniques and motifs used. Their aesthetic and historical contexts will also be introduced and examples from UK Japanese art collections will be used.

Course aim

This course aims to provide a basic knowledge of Japanese crafts and design with reference to the collections in UK art institutions, particularly those of the V&A and British Museum.

Who is the course for?

This is an introductory course. Specific knowledge and qualifications are not required.

What topics will this course cover

Course topics will include ceramics, lacquer and textiles, with examples being drawn from Japanese art collections in the UK. These works will be examined in terms of the materials that they were made from, their motifs, and the techniques used to produce them. Essential Japanese aesthetics will be introduced appropriately; for example, a lecture on ‘The Way of Tea’ will be given for a better understanding of the art of the tea ceremony and explain the role of tea bowls and the tea house. Contextual information, the export of Japanese art to the West in particular, will also be introduced to aid comprehension of some of the significant issues relating to the course subject. In doing so, the course will provide an overall picture of Japanese crafts and design in order to assist the students in their understanding of the subject, and further develop their familiarity with some Japanese pieces, especially those in UK collections.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Have an overall picture of the history of Japanese crafts and design with a more in-depth awareness of some specific aspects of Japanese culture. 2. Be able to visually identify Japanese craft and design works. 3. Be better able to discuss Japanese crafts and design. 4. Recognise some of the important issues in Japanese art in general. 5. Gain easier access to some relevant art and cultural organisations in the UK to further develop interest in the subject.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Viewing many images of Japanese craft and design works is an achievement in itself. Questions and answers, classroom discussions and informal feedback will provide you with the opportunity to measure your progress. There will be no formal assessment.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

None.

Reading and information sources

1. Gregory Irvine, ed., Japanese Art and Design: The Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum (London: V&A Publishing, 2016). 2. Lawrence Smith, Victor Harris and Timothy Clark, Japanese Art: Masterpieces in the British Museum (London: British Museum Publications, 1990). 3. Gregory Irvine, ed., A Guide to Japanese Art Collections in the UK (Leiden: Hotei, 2004). 4. Joan Stanley Baker, Japanese Art (London: Thames & Hudson [World of Art Series], 1984 and 2000) [This is a useful book for gaining a basic knowledge of Japanese art history].

What could the course lead to?

Participants will be able to develop their interest in the subject by attending some events - including lectures and exhibitions, which will be organised by Japanese cultural organisations such as the Japan Foundation and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation in London. Sometimes relevant courses are held by adult educational organisations, and some universities run academic courses.

Download full course outline

Art History: The Beauty of Materials - Japanese Art in the U Course Outline

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This course is not available for online enrolment.

Conditions

You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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