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July 4, 2016 3:00 , by Regina Vogel - 0no comments yet | No one following this article yet.
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Importation of Western (German and American) ideas on art education – the route



Since mid 19th century, China had been suffering from Western aggression and this gradually led many Chinese to think highly of Western culture. The debates over Westernization and Traditionalism initiated after a number of unequal treaties were signed in the second half of 19th century. The pace of Westernization became hasty in the early 20th century. Art education for general school education was first introduced to China in the very beginning of 20th century when reform of education was carried out and Western system of education was adopted.


It is found that the development of Chinese art education was under strong Western influences in the previous study. All kind of terms concerning and related to art education such as meiyu (aesthetic education), yishu jiaoyu (art education), meishu jiaoyu (art education), meishu (fine art) were from the West. As well, the curricula for the art subjects in primary and secondary schools had also adopted American and German ideas. In the issue of importation of Western ideas on art education, Chinese writings had played a very important role.


Present study

This project is based on the previous study and focus will be given to the route being taken to import Western ideas on art education to China, which remains a mystery. Answers for this main research question would doubtlessly provide more insight into Chinese enthusiasm for learning from the West (i.e. Germany and United States) and hegemony of Western culture. Research questions for this project include: • How did the Chinese school art education curricula be influenced by American or German ideas? Which part was under American influence and which part under German influence? • How did these ideas be imported to China, were they imported to China directly or indirectly (such as through Japan)?



This project will mainly employ historical research, which includes collecting data or evidence from the past and interpreting the data. This project will mainly draw on the written documents in or before early 20th century. It is also a comparative study, i.e. comparing Chinese art education with German and American art education through the written documents of the three countries. As China had imported much Western knowledge through Japan, according to the previous study, Japanese writings published in the period concerned will also be investigated. In this project, the historical context of the written texts collected will also be taken into consideration while they were being interpreted.

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