ARTH 232

Warrior Art of Japan and the Ryūkyūs

This course explores the arts produced for and by the warrior elite of Japan and the Ryūkyū islands (now Japan's Okinawa prefecture) from 1185 until 1868. From the tragic tale of Minamoto Yoshitsune to the mythical, warrior origins of Ryūkyū royalty, the class will concentrate on the arts produced for the men who led these nations through both treacherous and prosperous times. We will study arms & armor, castles & retreat pavilions, various ceremonial performances, including Ryūkyūan investiture and the Japanese tea ceremonies, paintings, Noh theatre, Ryūkyūan dance, and film. Through a careful consideration of translated documents, slide reproductions of art objects, movies, and selected treasures from the DePauw University Art Collection, students will learn about what motivated these powerful men to produce art, how they embraced the arts to better themselves culturally, and what these monuments and artworks conveyed about the culture of Japan's and the Ryūkyūs's medieval and early modern eras.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

Fall Semester information

Pauline Ota

232A: Warrior Art of Japan: Shoguns & Daimyo