Encounters and Entanglements: Chinese Art in Global Perspective (MLM2011)

StaffDr Yue Zhuang - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will develop your critical tools for analysing Chinese artefacts in various historical periods since the seventeenth century. You will engage with a range of perspectives about the role of artefacts in both the ‘Chinese’ and ‘global’ contexts. You will understand that in both historical terms and in the contemporary world, any analysis of artefacts requires you to see beyond aesthetic values and national boundaries. You will achieve a better understanding of the world through studying Chinese art by attending to questions of the history of interactions, flows and encounters.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Appreciate and explain some of the dominant concepts, methods and debates informing the study of Chinese art history
  • 2. Analyse coherently the form and content of particular artworks over different historical periods and trans-cultural contexts

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Research, present and evaluate relevant visual materials from contrasting contexts
  • 4. Interrogate texts, artworks, images and representations, and relate them to the cultural contexts in which they are produced and perceived

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 5. Construct a coherent, substantiated, written argument in clear and cogent prose, demonstrating appropriate research and bibliographic skills
  • 6. demonstrate effective oral presentation skills, working effectively with others to engage and inspire an audience

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

The module consists of a series of lectures and seminars. You will be introduced to a range of art forms and the historical, cultural and trans-cultural contexts in which they were produced and perceived, as well as critical tools for assessing the place of art objects in Chinese culture. The artefacts studied range from the 16th century to the present day and include key examples of rocks, gardens, architecture, porcelain, paintings, and prints.

 An indicative week by week syllabus runs as follows: 

  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Week 2  : Calligraphy
  • Week 3 : Chinese painting
  • Week 4: Stones and Rocks
  • Week 5: Chinese garden
  • Week 6-7: China and gardens in Europe
  • Week 8: Porcelain
  • Week 9: Qing ceremonial representations
  • Week 10: Europeanerie
  • Week 11: Cityscapes

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching 11Lectures x 10 and 1 x conclusion (1 hour)
Scheduled learning and teaching 5Seminars x 10 (0.5 hour)
Guided independent study134Additional research, reading and preparation for module assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
One presentation demonstrating your understanding of the core reading and research on a specific topic related to Chinese art10 minutes1-6Oral
Mini essay based on presentation500 words1-5Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1002500 words1-5Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-5Ref/def period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Zhuang, Yue, and Andrea Riemenschnitter (eds), Entangled Landscapes: Early modern China and Europe, Singapore, National University of Singapore Press, 2017
  • Sullivan, Michael. The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art, from the Sixteenth Century to the Present Day. London: Thames and Hudson, 1973.

Plus selected readings from texts listed below. These will be listed week-by-week on ELE.

Further readings:

  • Bush, Susan, and Hsio-yen Shih. Early Chinese Texts on Painting. Cambridge, Mass.: Published for the Harvard-Yenching Institute by Harvard University Press, 1985
  • Cahill, James. The Compelling Image: Nature and Style in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Painting. Cambridge, Mass.; London: Harvard University Press, 1982.
  • Fu, Xinian, and Nancy Shatzman Steinhardt. Chinese Architecture. Culture & Civilization of China. New Haven, Conn. London: Yale University Press, 2002.
  • Keswick, Maggie, and Charles Jencks. The Chinese Garden: History, Art & Architecture. London: Academy Editions, 1978.
  • Lee, Thomas H. C. China and Europe: Images and Influences in Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1991.
  • Reichwein, Adolf. China and Europe: Intellectual and Artistic Contacts in the Eighteenth Century. The History of Civilisation. London: Routledge & K. Paul, 1968.
  • Sirén, Osvald. China and Gardens of Europe of the Eighteenth Century. New York: Ronald P., 1950.
  • Sterckx, Roel. Food, Sacrifice, and Sagehood in Early China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Vogel, Hans Ulrich, Gu nter Dux, and Mark Elvin. Concepts of Nature: A Chinese-European Cross-Cultural Perspective. Leiden: Brill, 2010.
  • Zou, Hui. A Jesuit Garden in Beijing and Early Modern Chinese Culture. Indiana, Ind.: Purdue University Press, 2011.


Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

China, art history, global encounters, visual culture