In this online gallery, students will use objects from the Museum's Chinese collection to learn the key teachings of Confucian philosophy.
In this online gallery, students will use objects from the Museum's Chinese collection to learn the key teachings of Confucian philosophy. Through images of paintings, calligraphy, ritual vessels, textiles and other artworks, they will discover the important role of Confucianism in helping to shape Chinese culture over more than 2,000 years and also to appreciate its influence even today within the People's Republic. Over the centuries, Confucianism coexisted with the philosophy of Daoism in a somewhat yin/yang relationship. Therefore, the online galleries Confucianism and Daoism can be considered as two parts of a single study, and we suggest that teachers begin with Confucianism and then turn to the more difficult notion of Daoism.
Grade Level: this lesson can be adapted for students in grades 6-12
In exploring this lesson, students will:
- Be introduced to the basic concepts of Confucian philosophy
- Look closely at the art of Imperial China as a way of understanding the values and social institutions of the culture which produced it
- Appreciate the beauty and fine craftsmanship of art made in China over the past 3,000 years
This discovery will require students to:
- Examine the art in this collection closely
- Establish opinions using pieces from the collection as evidence
- Compare and contrast art pieces from different time periods
Using this Resource:
- Social studies teachers and students can use this resource to explore and learn about the key values of Confucianism and its role in society.
- Visual Arts teachers and students can use this resource to explore the imagery in this collection as a means of defining Confucian values.
- Chinese Language teachers and students will be able to describe objects and imagery of the culture they are studying.
For sample related classroom activities, download the PDFs available under Related Resources.
The objects in this tour are just a beginning. We encourage you to explore the Museum’s online collection through this web resource—or even better, to visit the Museum and walk through the physical galleries—to look for other objects that will provide further insights into Confucianism and its visualizations in the arts.