Art and Belief in Early China

With MFA Chair of Asian Art Christina Yu Yu, in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Engaging with Experts

Focal Skills and Dispositions

Evaluating Visual Evidence, Inquiry, Developing Cross-Cultural Sensitivity


5 PDPs


Partnership educators: no cost
Non-partnership educators: $200

Especially for educators of grades 6-12.

Early China developed or imported a variety of belief systems that were often practiced as mutually compatible, from indigenous beliefs like ancestor worship, Daoism and Confucianism, to Buddhism that arrived from India in the first century CE. How did these systems interact, and how did they influence the forms and purposes of Chinese arts? In this virtual class, we will explore works ranging from early tomb objects to cave paintings and from temple complexes to landscape paintings to discern how they expressed early beliefs and values and gave them shape. We will draw upon the MFA’s strong collection of early Chinese art to illuminate the subtlety and complexity of different regions, as well as continuities across China. Along the way, we will leave time for focused discussion about particular artworks that are rich in possibilities for classroom use, and consider ways to integrate art to clarify and add nuance to students’ understanding of early religious and ethical beliefs.

*Rescheduled from December 2, 2020

Registration Information

Partnership Educators:

Registration must be approved through your school district. Contact your school district’s Primary Source representative with your request.

Non-partnership Educators:

Register using the form below.


Contact Sara Clamage at

Registration is ongoing until the course is filled.


* Registration is closed *