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Arts and Material Culture

This seminar follows on from the fieldtrip, scheduled for 27 February 2012.

Presentations on an object of your choice from the Ashmolean collection

Please select an object from the collection that allows you to focus on the following questions. Feel free to do this in groups.

  • what do we know about the object itself? (When, where and how was it made? Do we know anything about where it was used/displayed/consumed?)
  • Who were involved in the production, trade, and exchange of this material good?
  • How and where did it travel?
  • Is it possible to say anything about the meanings the object acquired as it moved through space and time? Did the object mean something different when it was manufactured from when it was consumed? what does it mean now, on display at the Ashmolean?
  • Why does any of this matter? Why is the object important? How does the study of this object fit into the wider secondary literature on global connections between 1300 and 1800?



A history of the world in 100 objects: British Museum and BBC radio 4 programme starting on the 18th January 2010.

See also the accompanying book: Neil MacGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects (London, 2010) [D 20.M3]


Core Readings


Global Luxuries


Global Consumption and Connections

· Susan Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan (1997), chs. 1, 2 (Also available as a History e-book). [HP 8118.7.S7]

· Beverly Lemire and Giorgio Riello, ‘East and West: Textiles and Fashion in Eurasia in the Early Modern Period’ , Journal of Social History, 41/4 (2008), pp. 887-916.


European Reception of Asian Goods


Spices and Food


The Arts

  • Beckwith, John, ‘The Influence of Islamic Art on Western Medieval Art’, Apollo 103 (April 1976), pp. 270-281.
  • Howard, Deborah, ‘Venice and Islam in the Middle Ages: Some Observations on the Question of Architectural Influence’, Architectural History, 34 (1991), pp. 59-74. [Short Loan]
  • Howard, Deborah, Venice and the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture, 1100-1500 (New Haven and London, 2000) [NA 1121.V3]
  • Jairazbhoy, Rafique Ali, Oriental Influences in Western Art (Bombay, 1965) [N 7429.J2]
  • King, Donald and David Sylvester (eds.), The Eastern Carpet in the Western World, (Rugby, 1983) [NK 2808.A7]
  • Lach, Donald F., Asia in the Making of Europe. Volume II. A Century of Wonder. Book One: The Visual Arts (Chicago and London, 1970), chs. 1-2 [CB 251.L2]
  • Lightbown, Ronald, ‘Oriental Art and the Orient in Late Renaissance and Baroque Italy’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 32 (1969), pp. 228-279
  • Mack, Rosamond E., Bazaar to Piazza. Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600, (Berkeley, Los Angeles and London, 2000), chs. 9-10 [Short Loan NK 959.M2]
  • Naquin, Susan, 'Giuseppe Castiglione/Lang Shining: A Review Essay', T'oung Pao 95 (2009), pp. 393-412.
  • Raby, Julian, Venice, Dürer and the Oriental Mode (London, 1982) [NP 621.V3]
  • Watson, William, ed., The Westward Influence of the Chinese Arts from the Fourteenth to the Eighteenth Century (London, 1972). [N 7343.W3]
  • Jardine, Lisa and Jerry Brotton, Global Interests. Renaissance Art between East and West (London, 2003) [N 6370.J2]
  • Timon Screech, Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Imagery in Japan, 1720-1810 (London, 1998).
  • Carswell, John, Blue and White: Chinese Porcelain and its Impact on the Western World, exhibition catalogue (Chicago, 1985) [NK 4565.C2]
  • Clunas, Craig, Art in China (Oxford, 1997) [N 7340.C5]
  • Clunas, Craig Empire of Great Brightness. Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China 1368-1644 (Reaktion, 2007) [N 7343.5.C5]
  • Metcalf, T.R., An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture and Britain's Raj (1989) [NA 1503.M3]
  • Timon Screech, ‘Pictures, the Most Part Bawdy: The Anglo-Japanese Painting Trade in the Early 1600s’, Art Bulletin, 87/1 (2005), pp. 50-72.
  • Rosemary Crill, ‘Visual Responses: Depicting Europeans in South Asia’, in Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer (eds.), Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp. 188-99.
  • William R. Sargent, ‘Asia in Europe: Chinese Paintings for the West’, in Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer (eds.), Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp. 272-81.[CB 251.E6 – Oversize]
  • Mitter, Partha, ‘The Early British Port Cities of India: Their Planning and Architecture Circa 1640- 1757’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 45, no. 2 (1986), pp. 95-114. [Short Loan]
  • Schimmel, AnneMarie, The Empire of the Great Mughals. History, Art and Culture (Reaktion, 2004) [DS 461.S2]
  • Amin Jaffer, ‘Diplomatic Encounters: Europe and South Asia’, in Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer (eds.), Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp. 74-99. [CB 251.E6 – Oversize]
  • James L. Hevia, ‘Diplomatic Encounters: Europe and East Asia’, in Anna Jackson and Amin Jaffer (eds.), Encounters: The Meeting of Asia and Europe, 1500-1800 (London, 2004), pp. 100-123. [CB 251.E6 – Oversize]

All images below are from the Collections Database

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Block-printed textile fragment with band of rosettes and flowers (Front)


Musician in a landscape (Front)



Porcelain birdcage vase (Side)