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Background Information

What is Asia?

“Asia” is a term invented by the Greeks and Romans, and developed by Western geographers to indicate the land mass east of the Ural Mountains and Ural River, together with offshore islands such as Japan and Java.

GRADE LEVEL: College and Beyond, Elementary School (4-5), High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)

Background Information

An Introduction to Islam

Islam is one of the world’s major religions. It shares with Judaism and Christianity a belief in a single god. The Arabic name for God is Allah. The word Islam means “surrender (to God).” The followers of Islam are called Muslims, which in Arabic means “one who surrenders to God.”

GRADE LEVEL: College and Beyond, High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)

Background Information

An Introduction to the Qu'ran

A brief introduction to the Qu’ran. Includes audio by Qamar Adamjee, Malavalli Family Foundation Associate Curator of Art of the Indian Subcontinent.

GRADE LEVEL: College and Beyond, High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)

Activity

Create a Personal Murakkaalar

Students create a murakkaalar (calligraphy album) of their name and adjectives that describe their personality written in Arabic. They will make a calligraphy reed and learn to write with it. A kit’alar is a calligraphic work written on a rectangular piece of paper pasted onto a cardboard backing. Equal margins are left around the calligraphy in which the artist decorates with marbled paper (ebru) or illumination. A murrakkalar is a series of kit’alar attached together in an album that resembles an accordion.

GRADE LEVEL: High School (9-12)
https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/F2005.73_Garden_of_Happiness-600x450.jpg 1x, https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/F2005.73_Garden_of_Happiness.jpg 2x

Background Information

China: An Introduction to the Tang Dynasty (618-906)

Scholars often refer to the Tang (618–906) and Song (960–1279) dynasties as the “medieval” period of China. The civilizations of the Tang (618–906) and Song (960–1279) dynasties of China were among the most advanced civilizations in the world at the time. Discoveries in the realms of science, art, philosophy, and technology—combined with a curiosity about the world around them—provided the men and women of this period with a worldview and level of sophistication that in many ways were unrivaled until much later times, even in China itself.

GRADE LEVEL: College and Beyond, High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)

Activity

Afghanistan and the Silk Road Map Project

Students will use map resources to label a map of Afghanistan with its current bordering countries, current key cities, and ancient sites/cities: Students will learn the geographical placement of Afghanistan in Asia and its neighboring countries. This knowledge will bring a heightened awareness of the influence and exchange among nearby countries with Afghanistan—culturally, politically, and militarily. They will also become familiar with the names of ancient sites and their location in present-day Afghanistan.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8)
https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/silktrademap-scaled-600x450.jpg 1x, https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/09/silktrademap-scaled.jpg 2x

Activity

Mapping the Silk Road (interactive)

Students analyze objects from South Asia, West Asia, and China to connect to the travel experiences of ancient merchants and traders, develop an understanding of the breadth of the land and sea trade, and explore how art and ideas travel and change over time and place.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School (6-8)

Background Information

How to Identify a Buddha

The earliest surviving representations of the Buddha date from hundreds of years after his death, so they are not portraits in the usual sense. Buddha images vary greatly from place to place and period to period, but they almost always show these conventional features . . .

GRADE LEVEL: Elementary School (4-5), High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)

Background Information

Islamic Calligraphy: Materials and Tools

In addition to giving artistic instruction on the art of writing, a teacher of Islamic calligraphy trained a student in how to prepare and use a multitude of materials and tools.

GRADE LEVEL: College and Beyond, High School (9-12), Middle School (6-8)
https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/10/B60P1862_Large_Bowl_with_Arabic_Inscriptions-600x450.jpg 1x, https://education.asianart.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/10/B60P1862_Large_Bowl_with_Arabic_Inscriptions.jpg 2x