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FA 350 - Art of South and Southeast Asia


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 art, history, and culture of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. For further research assistance, please take advantage of the reference services available to you in Geisel Library. Stop by the Reference Desk in person or online at Ask a Librarian.


Reference Sources for Background Information

Online Reference Resources

Online reference sources can be found in the library catalog, or listed on E-Reference Resources.

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

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 titles for this class include The Dictionary of Asian Mythology, the Dictionary of Buddhism, and the Concise Dictionary of World Religions.

Search for books and other materials in libraries worldwide; also useful for interlibrary loan requests.

Print Reference Resources

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.

The Dictionary of Art 34 vols. (Grove)
     Ref N31 .D5
This comprehensive set on the visual arts contains articles that are international in scope, covering prehistory to the present. Consult the index for related information on a topic.

A Dictionary of Buddhist and Hindu Iconography - Illustrated
     Ref N8193 .A4 B86

Encyclopedia of World Art 10 vols.
     Ref N31 .E533
This set contains essays and bibliographies with a primarily Western art focus; but there is good introductory material on Asian, Hindu, Islamic and Buddhist arts.

The Arts of Asia: Materials, Techniques, Styles
     Ref N7260 .M33 2005
This is an outstanding source of information.

The Book of Hindu Imagery: Gods, Manifestations and Their Meaning
     Ref BL1216 .J3613
A handbook of Hindu gods and goddesses, and their associated symbols.

The Dictionary of South and Southeast Asian Art
     Ref N7300 .C53
A very simple and useful source to clarify foreign terminology. Some entries are illustrated.

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.

A Short Guide to Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .B37 2003
This is an excellent resource for a basic understanding of art jargon.
Online: Art History Writing Guide

Writing about Art
     Ref N7476 .S29 2002
See the inside front cover for a useful outline.


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Find Books/Secondary Sources

Books that are on RESERVE for this class.

Subject Headings to consider using in the online Catalog:

  • Art, Buddhist
  • Art, Hindu
  • Art, Islamic
  • Architecture - India
  • Architecture - Islamic
  • Decorative arts - India
  • Gods
  • Hindu symbolism
  • Painting - India
  • Painting - Indic
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Symbolism in art
  • Textile fabrics
  • Temples

Keywords to consider using in the online Catalog:

  • Buddhis*
  • Hindu*
  • Islam*
  • Jain*
  • Sculpture
  • Mythology
  • Tomb*
  • Pottery

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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.

Websites that are helpful for finding images:

Asian Historical Architecture

Asia Society

Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Metropolitan Museum of Art - Asian Collection

Google Image Search


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Find Articles

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

Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Provides indexing to the world's leading arts and humanities journals and includes articles, bibliographies, editorials, letters, and reviews. (1980 – present)

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 Universe
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."

A large collection of back issues of major journals in the humanities and social sciences, including the Arts and Asian Studies. Coverage isgenerally from the beginning of publication to within 5 years of the current issue.  Journal list for:   Arts & Sciences I     Arts & Sciences II

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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Selected Websites

Websites that Focus on Asian Art

Asian Art Special Topics (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Art of Asia (Minneapolis Museum of Art)

Visual Encyclopedia of Buddhist Iconography

The Asia Society Collection

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

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Singapore Art Museum

Digital South Asia Library

Internet Indian History Sourcebook


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How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a selected list of resources that are available in a given field (the bibliography), each one being accompanied by a brief description and critical assessment of the source (the annotation). Geisel Library has instructions available to assist you when preparing your annotated bibliography. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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Citing Sources

See the library's Citing Sources guide for resources on how to properly cite research materials. Always confirm the style required by your instructor.


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