Chinese Ideas of Beauty and Erotica: Ancient to Modern - ARTS2464

Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

School: School of Humanities and Languages

Course Outline: School of Humanities & Languages

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3

Enrolment Requirements:

Prerequisite: 30 units of credit at Level 1; or 24 units of credit and enrolment in a Chinese Studies extended minor in Arts/Education (4053)

CSS Contribution Charge: 1 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

Available for General Education: Yes (more info)

View course information for previous years.


Subject Area: Chinese Studies
This course can also be studied in the following specialisations: Asian Studies, Women's and Gender Studies

This course is designed to explore the experiences and representations of beauty in Chinese culture. We will examine the intersections where philosophical ideas (Daoism, Buddhism as well as Confucianism) and literary conventions influence Chinese concepts of beauty, including China’s long history of erotica, as reflected in both written and visual texts. We will examine different spheres of beauty in Chinese culture, including the human body, family life, society and nature. We will consider questions such as: What underpins the notion of beauty in pre-modern China? Who/What are considered beautiful, and why? Have aesthetic values changed over time? How? What accounts for the rich repertoire of poetic/artistic images and motifs that tap into thousand of years of Chinese history? What is the desired balance between yin & yang, and between feminine beauty and masculine attractiveness? Such questions and more will be investigated in the light of Chinese cosmos and aesthetics. You will critically analyze and appreciate both written and visual texts as cultural artifacts and symbolic expressions of aesthetic values.

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