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FA 329 - Art of China and Japan


The following guide is intended to provide an overview of some of the resources available in the library and online for the study and research of the arts and civilization of China and Japan. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in the Geisel Library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person or online at Ask a Librarian.


Reserve Reading List

FA 329: Art of China and Japan


Resources for Background and Reference

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks near the reference desk. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available on the lower level of the Library. Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, or listed on E-Reference Resources. Use reference resources to find background information on religion, social issues, historical periods, and themes being addressed in this course.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
This online encyclopedia is a useful source of background information.

Oxford Art Online
This database provides access to the full contents of The Grove Dictionary of Art and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, two highly-regarded multi-volume reference resources in the fine arts. View over 3000 thumbnail art images, conduct keyword searches, or browse the database by geographic area, time period, or art form.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
This fully-searchable reference document encapsulates the thinking of different eras and cultures.

Oxford Reference Online
This collection comprises over one million dictionary definitions, facts, figures, people, places, sayings, and dates from 150+ of Oxford's central English and bilingual dictionaries, usage, quotations, and subject reference books. Important subject areas for this class include: Art and Architecture; History; Mythology and Folklore; Prehistory; Religion and Philosophy.

Print Reference Resources

The Arts of Asia: Materials, Techniques, Styles
     Ref N7260 .M33 2005
This is an outstanding source of information, particularly for the object identification project.

The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs
     Ref N7346.T5 B43 1999
A visual guide to the symbols of Buddhism in Tibet, the information is also useful in determining iconography in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist images.


Cambridge Encyclopedia of China
     Ref DS705.C35

Information China
     Ref DS706.I5 (3 vols.)

Cultural Atlas of China
     Ref DS721 .B56

Dictionary of Chinese History
     Ref DS733 .D54

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture
     Ref DS779.23 .E53

China's New Cultural Scene: A Handbook of Changes
     Ref DS779.23 .H8613


Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan
     Ref DS805 .C36

Japan: an illustrated Encyclopedia 2 vols.
     Ref DS805 .J263

Cultural Atlas of Japan
     Ref DS821 .C62

Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan
     Ref DS833 .P3

Materials to Assist with Writing the Research Paper

Dictionary of Art Terms
     Ref N33 .L75 2004

A Short Guide to Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .B37 2003
     Online: Art History Writing Guide

Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .S29 2002


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Finding Books/Secondary Sources

Subject Headings to consider using in the online Catalog.

  • Art, Asian
  • Art, Buddhist
  • Architecture - Asia
  • Calligraphy
  • Decorative arts
  • Landscape painting - Japanese
  • Landscape Painting Chinese
  • Painting - Asia
  • Painting - Chinese
  • Painting - Chinese - History
  • Painting - Japanese
  • Symbolism in art
  • Textile fabrics
  • Ukioye

Keywords to consider using in the online Catalog. Consider combining keywords by using "and".

  • Mural painting
  • Buddhis*
  • Dao*
  • Shinto*
  • Zen
  • Embroidery
  • Sculpture
  • Mythology
  • Landscape*
  • Tomb*
  • Pottery
  • Samurai
  • Name of artist
  • Name of period or dynasty
  • Type of artwork: cave painting, temple, etc.
  • Geographic area: Kyoto, Yangtze, etc.
  • Media of the painting: architecture, painting, sculpture

If you are unable to locate materials in the Geisel Library Catalog, search libraries worldwide using WorldCat.


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Find Journal Articles

Below are several databases that may yield useful journal articles for your research. Some focus on art and architecture criticism while others will provide historical, theological, and socio-cultural context for your area of study. Try searching on the same keywords that you used in the book catalog. Remember to use Boolean operators and wildcards (the asterisk symbol) to improve your search.

In the results screen, if there is no full-text link readily available, click on the WebBridge icon to determine whether the journal is available in the Geisel Library or in full-text via another electronic database. If the article isn't available, consider clicking on the Interlibrary Loan link to request a PDF copy of the article from another library. Articles requested via ILL will be delivered to your email inbox within about a week. Please read the WebBridge info carefully. If the book or article is already available at Saint Anselm College, you will not be able to obtain it through Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Search Premier
Gain access to full-text articles and citations from a wide range of journal titles, covering the arts and more.

Historical Abstracts
Provides abstracts to journal articles, books, and dissertations covering world history from 1450 to the present (excluding North America).    Journal List

LexisNexis Academic
Find full-text newspaper articles from local, national and international papers. Gain access to full-text general reference information as well.

New York Times
"The New York Times (1851-2003) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue."

Times of London
The digital archive of 200 years of London's leading newspaper(1785-1985). The collection includes full page images with fully searchable text.

A large collection of back issues of major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including the Arts and Asian Studies. Coverage is generally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.

Project MUSE
"Project MUSE provides online, worldwide, institutional subscription access to the full text of more than 200 scholarly journals in arts and humanities, social sciences, and mathematics."    Journal List


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Find Images

Connect to ARTstor to access a half -million images and related text. These images can be printed for use in your paper, or included in PowerPoint demonstrations. Ask a Reference Librarian if you require assistance using ARTstor.

Images are also available from JSTOR and Oxford Art Online.

Websites with useful images include:

Asian Historical Architecture

Asia Society

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Asian Collection

Google Images (be careful to confirm accuracy of source)


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Selected Websites

Websites that Focus on Asian Art

Asian Art Special Topics (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Art of Asia (Minneapolis Museum of Art)

Arts of China Consortium

The Asia Society Collection

Buddhist Art of China (Huntington Collection, Ohio State University)

Encyclopedia of Shinto

Glossary of Japanese Art Terms

Japan Atlas: Traditional Crafts

Jaanus: Japanese Architecture and Art Users System

Major Asian Art Museum Websites

Art Institute of Chicago

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Cleveland Museum of Art

DeYoung Museum, San Francisco

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Philadelphia Museum of Art


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Citing Sources

Work cited in this class should use the formats as described in the Chicago Manual of Style, available at the Library's Reference Desk (Ready Ref. Z253 .U69 2003). See the library's Citing Sources guide, which provides online examples for Chicago/Turabian.


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