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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2006

ANS 372 • Zen Art

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31245 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
SZB 380

Course Description

Zen (or Chan in Chinese), a branch of Buddhism which originated in ancient China and later spread to Japan, is considered a gateway to East Asian wisdom and a force that challenges the conventions iof the modern world. The nature of abstraction, spirituality and spontaneity in Zen Buddhism is best characterized in the art associated with this religious sect, including ink painting, garden designs, calligraphy and ritual paraphernalia (such as ceramics and wood carvings). Through examining important works of Zen art from China, Japan in their historical and religious contexts, this course will introduce the history of Zen Buddhism and the underlying philisophical concepts of Zen art in Chinese and Japanese societies. With a comparative perspective, this course will explore the similarities and differences with regard to format, materials, and the use of subject matter and iconography in the works by Chinese and Japanese Zen masters. The course will also examin the religious functions of these works with the aim to understand how Zen Buddhism was practiced through its art in China and Japan.

Grading Policy

Class participation 20% 3 Image quizzes 15% 2 midterms 20% Final exam 20% Final paper 25%


Course packet


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