Course description

This course surveys the arts of Japan from the prehistoric era through the twentieth century. The primary focus is on Japanese painting sculpture and architecture of the premodern period although the critical role of calligraphy garden design ceramics lacquerware textiles and prints is also explored. Aesthetic ideas religious traditions craft processes and viewing practices are studied alongside more focused themes such as the role of print culture censorship erotica Japonisme Sino-Japanese exchange the representation of war and the role of art in the transition to modernity. Emphasis is placed on the development of analytical skills for the interpretation of visual images as well as the comparative understanding of Japanese artistic practices vis-a-vis other artistic traditions.


  • Professor of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

  • Harvard Summer School

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