Arts of India (Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art)

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 1
FHEQ Level
Department of History of Art and Archaeology

Module overview

Module synopsis

From 2500 BCE to the present day, the Arts of India module explores the monumental, fine and decorative arts of South Asia. The course deals with architecture, sculpture, miniature painting, carved jades, carpets, textiles, furniture, jewellery, arms and armour, and the rural arts. The syllabus is broadly chronological and places the art in its religious and historical context. The course begins with an introduction to the Vedas, Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism focusing on early Jain and Buddhist art and the principles of Hindu iconography, architecture, sculpture and wall painting. It emphasises the relationship between ritual and image in the study of medieval Hindu sculpture and architecture. Lectures cover Buddhist, Jain and Hindu manuscript painting. The course includes Tibetan and Himalayan sculpture and painting. The latter half of the term will explore Mughal and Rajput court art from the 16th century. It will give particular emphasis to miniature painting and jewellery. Terracottas, textiles and other rural arts will also be covered and there will be lectures on modern and contemporary South Asian art.

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%)