• Offered by School of Art and Design
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Art History
  • Areas of interest Art History, Visual Arts
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The European demand for spices spurred the search for new trade routes to the East. From the mid 15th century, their voyages of discovery, improvements in naval technology and competition for domination of the East-West commerce opened up new markets.  At the same time, they facilitated new opportunities for exchange and provided a fresh stimulus for artistic expression in both continents.  This course explores the creative transactions that took place through court and religious art, luxury goods and exotica in Asia and Europe from 1450 to today.  The history of trade, imperial ambitions and movements of people provides a context for assessing the dynamic relationships between art and changing tastes, the fascination with the exotic, and perceptions of the self and the world around.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Relate art works and their creation to their specific historical, social and political contexts of contact and exchange
  2. Identify and analyse the imitation, appropriations, assimilations and transformations in art within these contexts
  3. Use specific examples to evaluate theories of and approaches to the processes and exchanges between Europe and Asia that informed artistic creation from 1450 to the present
  4. Research, select and combine examples of art and integrate key textual and archival sources to develop and present, orally and in writing, their own perspectives on the exchanges in European and Asian art.

Indicative Assessment

Forum presentation and research paper (6000 words) - 50% (Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Forum chair/responder and paper on key issues/questions (2000 words) - 20% (Learning outcome 1, 3 and 4)

Short writing exercises based on forum topics (3 x 1000 words) - 30% (Learning outcomes 1 and 4)

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260 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 48 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 12 hours of lectures and 36 hours of discussion forums; and, b) 212 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a Bachelor of Arts Honours (HARTS or HARTS2), Bachelor of Art History and Curatorship Honours (HAHCR) or Bachelor of Asian Studies Honours (HASIA), or completion of 144 units towards the Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts) (APHAR or APNAR).

Prescribed Texts

Michael Sullivan, The Meeting of Eastern and Western Art. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989

Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer, Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800, London: V&A Publications, 2004

John M. MacKenzie. Orientalism: History, Theory, and the Arts. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995

Jay A. Levenson (ed.). Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration, Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1991

Jay Levenson (ed.). Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World, 3 vols.  Washington: Smithsonian, 2007

Yukiko Shirahara (ed.). Japan envisions the West: 16th – 19th century Japanese art from the Kobe City Museum. Washington: Seattle Art Museum, 2007

John Vollmer et al. Silk Roads China Ships, Toronto:  Royal Ontario Museum, 1983.

Assumed Knowledge

Completion of a cognate major.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
12 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $5712
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $8160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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