is the first British institution to offer a Master’s programme devoted exclusively to Chinese art. While acquiring experience in object analysis, you will explore archaeological and historical contexts and the multiple narratives in the story of Chinese art. Starting from the Neolithic and Bronze Age art, the course covers pottery, bronze, lacquer, silk and jade, then examines Buddhism from the Han dynasty onwards, to the global reach of the ‘Silk Road’ in the Tang dynasty. Extensive treatment of artistic production during late imperial China—from the ’golden age’ of the Song dynasty to the High Qing—range through a variety of media such architecture, painting, printing, ceramics and luxury goods. The course also explores cultural developments from the 19th to the 21st century, when intensified contact with foreigners generated new practices, functions and meanings in Chinese art.
Crucially, the course will propel you into Chinese art-world practice and introduce you to the curators, scholars, artists, and dealers who shape the discipline. You will gain exposure to historical and current trends in the circulation of art within China and abroad, historically and to the present day. The programme takes on only a small and exclusive group of students each year and has already trained many of the next generation of art-world professionals in the field of Chinese art.
Object-based study is the foundation of our teaching and will provide you with relevant training for the public and commercial art worlds. This includes practical and research-based study of materials and techniques, style, dating, quality and authenticity. You will be trained in cataloguing to auction house and museum standards. Handling sessions and visits to museums and to Christie’s warehouse form an essential part of the course. Engagement with current debates about curatorial practice will enable you to devise fresh approaches to the display and interpretation of art works. You will learn how to produce reports on works of art to a professional standard. You will explore varieties of art criticism, developing skills to review exhibitions. Methodology seminars equip you with the theoretical tools for the analyses of objects, and introduce you to major texts relating to cultural history and aesthetics.
The Arts of China core lecture series from the Neolithic period to the present underpins all components of the programme. The Culture and Ideology seminars will enable you to discuss the relationships among objects and broader debates around ancient to contemporary Chinese art. You will participate in study trips to UK museums and collections throughout the year and visit a European city with extensive collections of Chinese art (in recent years, Paris) in the spring, and Hong Kong, China and Taiwan in the summer. The programme will propel you into the centres of scholarly and artistic creativity, highlighting the impact of historical globalism(s) on the production and circulation of Chinese art.
The thesis, produced at the end of the year, presents an opportunity to create an exhibition catalogue around a small group of objects, independently researched, representing a synthesis of the key academic and professional skills learned on the programme.
A university degree. Non-English speaking students should normally have IELTS 7 or equivalent