Asian Art and Spirituality

Subject 107-236 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first-year art history.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Gary Hickey
Subject Overview:

The influence of spirituality can be discerned in the practices and beliefs of Asia's major religions and understood through well-preserved religious literature. Concurrently architecture, carvings, paintings and sculpture provide a visual record of the history of these religions and through their iconography an understanding of the role spiritual beliefs played in their genesis. One aspect of this subject will elaborate how the philosophical and physical discipline of Yoga has informed the major religions of Asia and how this has been visualised in the arts. The study will provide a foundation for an understanding of the arts of Asia and the philosophical beliefs underpinning their expression. Students should gain familiarity with the meaning of posture and gesture in vitalising form. There will be the opportunity to explore issues such as the symbolism of postures, mythology, how the soul is visualised, the spirit of Eastern calligraphy, as well as how spirituality relates to the religious beliefs of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Shinto and Jainism. Topics considered in relation to Asian art include: the belief systems of Asian countries, early animist beliefs, Asian mythology, History and philosophy of Asian religions, the sacred sites of Asia, posture, gesture, breath and the meditative state, Kundalini and Tantrism, Sacred calligraphy, Zen Buddhism, Shinto and Taoism.

Assessment: A 2500 word research essay 60% (due during semester, two weeks after delivery of a class paper), and a 1500 word take-home exam 40% (due in week 13).Assessment submitted late without an approved formal extension will be penalised at 2% per day. Students who fail to submit up to 2-weeks after the final due date without a formal extension and/or special consideration will receive a fail grade for the piece of assessment.
Prescribed Texts: Prescribed Texts:A subject reader will be available from the Bookroom at the beginning of semester
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to conduct independent research using catalogued sources and bibliographic indexes;

  • have developed their ability to think creatively and express their ideas clearly in written communication;

  • have developed their skills in verbal communication and oral presentation.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (Ancient and Medieval Studies)
Diploma in Arts (Art History)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Ancient and Medieval Studies)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Art History)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (Renaissance and Early Modern Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Ancient and Medieval Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Art History)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Medieval & Renaissance Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (Renaissance and Early Modern Studies)

Download PDF version.