This courseís intention is to immerse students in the living culture of China and Japanís art, religion and architecture, which will allow us to mine these experiences as bases to spark the imagination and inspiration. The primary focus is to introduce art and architecture, within the context of China and Japanís spirituality and philosophy, which essentially informs their materiality. We will examine the influence of rituals within the arts and crafts of these countries living history specifically those of woodblock printing, textiles, pottery, fiber and sculpture. During our travels we will visit Buddhist Temples, Imperial Courts and Aristocratic Gardens including the Imperial Courtyards of The Forbidden City and Heavens Temple, the Tibetan Temple of Yong He Gong and Ming Gardens in Suzhou in China and Kinkakuji and Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

Our sojourn through China will find us trekking through the palaces, temple and back streets of Beijing, Shanghai and Suzhou. These areas are steeped in history, and rich in artistic traditions. In particular, we will travel through the Jiangsu Province, which encompasses numerous canal cities including the most notable one of Suzhou, famous for Ming Gardens. In addition, we will venture to villages off the well worn track, such as Zouzhueng and Tongli. These sites date back to the Tang Dynasty, and are of great significance to Chinese art and literature. Their canals and proximity to Tai Lake from which most scholar rocks are harvested have been a source of inspiration for centuries of artists and poets. Beyond enriching ones life experience, this introduction into Chinas historic and religious art and architecture, will also enhance your understanding of this countryís contemporary culture.

In addition to visiting China, we will sojourn into Japan, where we will spend five lively days in Kyoto, former capital of Japan. It is here that weíll visit the Shinto Shrines and immerse ourselves in this historic city that still retained its original charms. While in Kyoto, we will compare and contract the similarity and uniqueness of the art, garden and architecture between China and Japan. Throughout the trip, the creative and scholarly stimulation will be re-enforced by close contacts with locals with the aim to awake ones five senses.