History of Non-Western Art


The course aims to present to students the great geographic areas of the development of non-western arts. At the end of the course, they will be able to identify works from various civilizations and periods, and contextualize their production. Understand the differences between the systems of arts in the various countries of the world and continent, the criteria according to which they were produced, the contexts in which they were inserted, and their functions. The objective is the familiarization with a great range of objects, and with the theoretical and methodological problems associated with their study and exhibition in museums, which is why the course will also include museum visits.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Stefanie Gil Franco


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Not applicable.


1. LaGamma, Alisa. Genesis: Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002.
2. LaGamma, Alisa and Christine Giuntini. The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008.
3. Fong, Wen C. Beyond Representation. Chinese Painting and Calligraphy 8th-14th Century. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.
4. Frelinghuysen, Alice Cooney and Clare Le Corbeiller. “Chinese Export Porcelain.” Special issue. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60, no. 3 (2003).
5. Beach, Milo Cleveland. Mughal and Rajput Painting. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
6. Walker, Daniel. Flowers Underfoot: Indian Carpets of the Mughal Era. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997.
7. Kjellgren, Eric et al. Splendid Isolation: Art of Easter Island. NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001.
8. Adorning the World. Art of the Marquesas Islands, edited by Eric Kjellgren. NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005.

Teaching method

The course will be taught with an extensive recourse to visual material, but it will insist on students’ participation, with questions and observations requested at each step. A lot of importance will be placed on the knowledge of foreign languages, especially English, which is why a lot of the reading material will be in English. 

Evaluation method

Evaluation Method - Evaluation will depend on a combination of attendance and participation, including the completing of written assignments to be presented in class(50%), one final exam(50%)

Subject matter

The course will proceed geographically, in an effort to avoid a linear history of non-western art, and to stress its richness and diversity, with special emphasis on the concept of encounter of civilizations. Subjects covered will include: African sculpture (wood, ivory); African textiles; the problem of African modernism; Persian illuminated manuscripts; Mughal and Rajput painting in India; Indian textiles (carpets); Indian modernism; Chinese painting; Chinese export porcelain; South Pacific art (Easter Island, Marquesas). At the course, various relevant concepts will also be debated, such as the definition of art, the concept of the primitive etc.


Programs where the course is taught: