Should you take ND’s first-ever Asian art history course? Yes, for these five reasons

Author: Christine Cox

Longmen Grottoes Panorama 1200x628


When Introduction to the Arts of Asia: Materials, Processes, Contexts (ARHI 20703 and ASIA  20703) kicks off this spring, it will be Notre Dame’s first-ever Asian art history course.


Coleman At The Gaochang Archaeological Remains 1200x620Fletcher Coleman

“This is an exciting step for Notre Dame,” says Fletcher Coleman, a visiting assistant professor who will instruct the course, which covers a nearly 3,000-year period of art in China, Korea, Japan, and Central Asia.

“There’s been an impressive emphasis on art history here at Notre Dame, covering a wide variety of time periods and with a strong focus on the Catholic mission and art related to that mission. The University and the Department are now moving toward an expanded global focus, and I’m happy to be here to teach this first course.”


No matter what your major is, here are 5 reasons why you'll want to sign up for Intro to the Arts of Asia:


You’ll learn about incredible art from one of the oldest art cultures in the world.
You may be familiar with some of the most famous objects and forms of Asian art: stone sculptures, silk embroidery, woodblock prints, jade carving, and ink painting. Now, you’ll get a chance to learn about the fascinating historical contexts and technical processes behind them.


Burial Figurine 1200x650

You’ll try your hand at ancient art processes.

One of the best ways to understand art creation is to try it yourself, so the learning modules will include many hands-on activities. You’ll try your hand at mural painting and stenciling, for example, just as ancient artists did. But don’t worry: You won’t be graded on your artistic ability!


You’ll get up close with amazing art pieces on campus and in Chicago.
The class will travel to the Art Institute of Chicago to have lunch with a curator of Asian art and view significant pieces from the Asia collections. Students will also examine art at the Snite Museum of Art at Notre Dame and in the classroom.


Lotus 1200x628

You’ll meet top specialists in art technology.

Two guest speakers from China will introduce digital art preservation of Buddhist grottoes in Asia, including techniques such as 3D scanning, digital mapping, photogrammetry and interactive animation. And you’ll get to try photogrammetry yourself.


You’ll learn from a farmboy-turned-Harvard scholar who is passionate about introducing people to Asian art.

Coleman grew up on a 60-acre corn and soybean farm in Ohio before embarking on his career path studying Asia and art—a path he chose largely to expand his worldview. “My mission as a professor is to bring art to all audiences. I think the study of art and museums can be intimidating, so introducing people to art has been very important to me. I want people to appreciate the beauty and significance of art as much as I do.”


Introduction to the Arts of Asia meets at 12:30–1:45 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. View the registration summary here.