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Lessons About Contributors

Arts of East Asia

Arts of Buddhism: Expressive Guardians Learn about facial expression through exploration of a Buddhist guardian figure View more
Arts of Buddhism: Geometric Mandalas Look for repeated shapes, colors, and patterns in Buddhist mandalas View more
Community: Views Around Town Explore a series of prints chronicling the people, places, and traditions of nineteenth-century Edo View more
Community: Representing Home Consider how artists represent the meanings and memories associated with “home” View more
Ceramic Traditions: Embracing Imperfections Discuss the importance of imperfections in Japanese Oribe ware ceramics View more
Ceramic Traditions: Nature and Symbolism Discover the symbolic meanings associated with natural imagery in Korean celadon View more


The Arts of East Asia curricular resources are designed for third grade teachers and their students with the goal of enriching their studies of East Asian art and cultures. Six new lessons expand on themes in the Arts of China Teaching Toolkit, providing opportunities for deeper explorations of artistic, spiritual, and community practices across cultures. Lessons are divided into three units—Ceramic Traditions, Arts of Buddhism, and Community—and highlight works of art from Korea, Japan, and Tibet. 

Connecting students to the vast and diverse artistic and cultural traditions throughout the world is extremely important. Exploring how communities have used artworks to celebrate, interrogate, and document their relationships with the environment, spirituality, family, and individualism enables students to enhance their empathetic and critical thinking. Similarly, the study of global cultural practices has the potential to bolster students’ self-affirmation and confidence. This is especially necessary as we face a culturally and politically divisive climate.

With that in mind, we have designed these lessons to support culturally inclusive learning by highlighting the complexity and diversity of East Asian cultures. We encourage teachers and students alike to challenge any stigmas, stereotypes, or false narratives that might exist about East Asia—both past and present—through the use of this resource. Please share with us and your community what you and your students have learned and created through these lessons.


Project lead: Michael Reback
Project coordinator: Niles Mattier

Support for this project was provided by Joan Cummins, Eugenie Tsai, ray ferreira, Stacey Kahn, Lindsay C. Harris, and Adjoa Jones de Almeida

Curriculum consultants: Natalia Choi, Rachel Ropeik, Neysela de Silva-Reed

Summer Teacher Institute participants: Amy Cai-Chin, Mienchen Chang, Teddie Davis, Abigail Getzler, Shanda Haynes, Kate Kruse, Cindy Leacock, Joy Li, Eileen Lynch, Lisa Magee, Michael Maraia, Meredith McDevitt