Art and Authority in Japan

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Arts & Department of History of Art and Archaeology

Module overview

This module aims to examine the imageries of power, status and authority in Japan.

The material covered may address a particular theme - such as Buddhist Art in Japan or Art and Power during the Tokugawa Shogunate - or address the intersection of art and authority in a particular period in Japanese history, such as the Edo (1603-1868) or Meiji (1868-1912) periods. The material examined may range from wall- and screen-paintings to the art and architecture of temple, court, state and/or empire. Class discussion will be complemented by study-visits to museums.

Objectives and learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • Assess the role of the visual arts in the construction and maintenance of authority in Japan. 
  • Evaluate the spatial and/or institutional contexts for the production and use of art in Japan.
  • Analyse different approaches to understanding the art and/or architecture of Japan.


  • Lectures: 1 hour per week  
  • Seminars: 1 hour per week 

Method of assessment

  • 1,000-word review/report (worth 30% of marks)
  • 2,000-word essay (worth 70%)

Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.