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8.0 Overview

5 min readโ€ขjanuary 12, 2023

Charly Castillo

Charly Castillo

Minna Chow

Minna Chow

AP Art Historyย ๐Ÿ–ผ

34ย resources
See Units

In Unit 7, we learned about West and Central Asia, but now, we're going to move east to the areas that we haven't explored yet ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ; welcome to South, East, and Southeast Asia!
In this unit, you'll learn about the influence of different religions and philosophies on people's beliefs and how this translates to their artworks ๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ We'll also learn more about cross-cultural interactions on the continent, and how this led to artistic syncretism (fusion of different cultures).
So, without any further delay, let's start learning about the history and art of Unit 8.

Contextualization (AKA The Historical Religious Background) ๐ŸŒ

For this unit, we're going to shake things up a little bit! Because so much of the art that we're going to review was made for religious purposes, it only makes sense to go over South, East, and Southeast Asia's religious history, instead of its general history. Below are brief descriptions of the six main religions of this unit, including when they originated, where they're practiced, and some (not all!) of the related art forms.

Buddhism โ˜ธ๏ธ

  • Founded by the Buddha (AKA Siddhartha Gautama) in the 6th century BCE.
  • Practiced in all of the nations covered in this unit in different forms (Theravada and Mahayana, including Zen)
  • Neither monotheistic or polytheistic because its followers don't believe in a god-like figure.
  • Related Art Forms: Stupas, Buddha statues, Mandalas, Raigo scenes (Buddha descending) associated with Pure Land Buddhism, the Zen rock garden, Zen ink painting

Hinduism ๐Ÿ•‰๏ธ

  • No founder, but first appeared sometime between 2300 BCE and 1500 BCE
  • Practiced mainly in India ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ, but there is a visible Hindu community in Indonesia ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ
  • Some consider Hinduism to be polytheistic or monotheistic, but it's actually neither (read this article to find out exactly why!)
  • Related Art Forms: Images of Hindu Gods/Goddesses, Hindu Temple

Daoism โ˜ฏ๏ธ

  • Founded by Laozi in the 6th century BCE.
  • Most of its followers live in China ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ and Taiwan ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ, where it functions as both a religion and a philosophy.
  • Some believe that Daoism should be considered polytheistic, but others argue that it doesn't fit the framework for either monotheistic or polytheistic religions.
  • Related Art Forms: Nature scenes (such as Travelers Among Mountains and Streams)

Confucianism ๐Ÿ‘ด๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿฝ

  • Founded by Confucius in 479 BCE.
  • More of a system of thought and ethics than a religion.
  • Confucianists mainly live in China, but the religion has influenced both cultural and religious practices in South Korea ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท and Japan ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต
  • Doesn't have a god or deity (god or goddess in a polytheistic religion), so it isn't considered monotheistic or polytheistic.
  • Related Art Forms/Ideas: Paintings of Ancestors, Filial Piety, Ancestor Worship

Shintoism โ›ฉ๏ธ

  • Doesn't have a founder, since it is a religion based on indigenous (native) animist beliefs
  • Almost exclusively practiced in Japan ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต
  • Considered polytheistic because its followers believe in different kami (spirit or gods) that are found throughout nature
  • Related Art Forms: Depictions of Gods and Goddesses

Christianity โ›ช

  • Started by Jesus Christ in the first century CE
  • Brought to Asia by European explorers and missionaries during the Age of Imperialism; small communities of believers on the continent (mainly in ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต and ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท)
  • Monotheistic and considered to be one of the three major Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam)
  • Related Art Forms: Depictions of God/Saints

Islam โ˜ช๏ธ

  • Founded by Muhammad in the seventh century CE in what is now Saudi Arabia
  • Practiced mainly in India ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ during the time of this unit, but now also followed in Indonesia ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ and parts of China ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ and Cambodia ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ
  • Like Christianity, it is monotheistic and Abrahamic.
  • Related Art Forms: Calligraphy
Study Tip: It's important to note that a piece of art in this region is more likely to be influenced by different types of religious thought compared to the art of Europe.
Now that you know a bit more about what's going to inspire so many works in this unit, let's get into the art!

Summary of the Works

Here is a summary of the works you need to know for this unit!
Great StupaSanchi, IndiaStone masonry and sandstone3rd century BCE-1st century CE
BorobudurMagelang, IndonesiaStone masonryc. 750-842
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)Tamil Nadu, IndiaBronzec. 11th century
Lakshmana TempleKhajuraho, IndiaSandstone930-950
Angkor WatSiem Reap, CambodiaStone masonry and sandstonec. 800-1400
Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Shaikh to KingsIndiaGold, ink, and watercolor on paperc. 1620
Forbidden CityBeijing, ChinaStone masonry, brick, marble, wood, and ceramic15th century
Funeral Banner of Lady Dai (Xin Zhui)Changsha, ChinaSilk and paint180 BCE
Travelers Among Mountains and StreamsChinaSilk and inkc. 1000
Chairman Mao En Route to AnyuanBeijing, ChinaOriginally an oil painting, but then a color lithograph1969
Terracotta WarriorsXi'an, ChinaTerracotta and paintc. 221-209 BCE
Longmen CavesLuoyang, ChinaLimestone493-1127
The David VasesJiangxi Province, ChinaPorcelain with underglaze1351
Portrait of Sin SukjuSouth KoreaSilk, ink, and pigment1417-1475
Gold and Jade CrownGyeongju, South KoreaGold and metalc. 5th-6th century
Tลdai-jiNara, JapanWood and ceramicOriginally 743, but was rebuilt c. 1700
Ryลan-jiKyoto, JapanRock gardenc. 1480
Night Attack on the Sanjรด PalaceJapanPigment and ink on paperc. 1250-1300
Red and White Plum BlossomsJapanWatercolor on paper1710-1716
Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa Oki Nami Ura)JapanWoodblock printing with ink and pigment on paper1830-1833
And that's it for Unit 8. Hopefully, this guide will come in handy as you go through the AP Art History course and prepare for the final exam. As a bit of motivation, there's only two more guides to go before the end of the course and you're almost there (woot woot ๐ŸŽ‰)! Happy studying, art historians!
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿ—ฟUnit 1 โ€“ Global Prehistoric Art, 30,000-500 BCE
๐Ÿ›Unit 2 โ€“ Ancient Mediterranean Art, 3500-300 BCE
โ›ช๏ธUnit 3 โ€“ Early European and Colonial American Art, 200-1750 CE
โš”๏ธUnit 4 โ€“ Later European and American Art, 1750-1980 CE
๐ŸŒฝUnit 5 โ€“ Indigenous American Art, 1000 BCE-1980 CE
โšฑ๏ธUnit 6 โ€“ African Art, 1100-1980 CE
๐Ÿ•ŒUnit 7 โ€“ West and Central Asian Art, 500 BCE-1980 CE
๐Ÿ›•Unit 8 โ€“ South, East, and Southeast Asian Art, 300 BCE-1980 CE
๐ŸšUnit 9: The Pacific, 700โ€“1980 ce
๐ŸขUnit 10 โ€“ Global Contemporary Art, 1980 CE to Present
๐Ÿ™Exam Reviews

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