Arts of China (Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art)

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
FHEQ Level
Department of History of Art and Archaeology

Module overview

Module synopsis

The Arts of China module examines the material and visual cultures of China from the Neolithic period to the 21st century. The course covers developments in metalwork, jade, lacquer, ceramics, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, and textiles. Lectures on history, religion, philosophy and literature provide a contextual framework for understanding these developments. The course also considers the importance of patronage (imperial, elite, and popular), the impact of systems of belief (Confucianism, Buddhism, Daoism), and the role played by changes in the lives and social roles of artists. Technology and design approaches as well as the impact of interaction between China and the outside world are among the topics considered.

Module delivery

  • In-person lectures given by SOAS academic staff, leading national and international scholars, museum curators, and art market professionals, generally taking place between 10.00 and 13.00 Monday through Thursday
  • Exclusive contributions from the British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Visits and object study sessions at a variety of museums, galleries and auction houses
  • A series of asynchronous online lectures exploring critical thinking and current methods
  • Recommended weekly readings
  • Weekly review sessions
  • Weekly one-to-one tutorials with your module convenors


  • One object analysis of 1,500 words (20%)
  • One written assignment 2,500 words per module (40%)
  • One 48-hour, take-home exam per module (40%)