Arts of Asia in Reach
Lesson Plans

Gyotaku (guh-yo-tah-koo) is the Japanese art of fish painting. It was developed more than a century ago as a fisherman's method of recording the size and species of his catch, and is now accepted as an art form worldwide. Students will study the history of fish printing and make their own prints.

Chinese New Year: Lai-See Envelopes
Lai-See envelopes are typically given to children on Chinese New Year. Some contain money for candy or gifts and are always a special treat on this festive occasion! Students will learn about this holiday and make their own envelopes and Chinese coins!

Chinese New Year: Paper Lanterns
Students will learn about Chinese New Year, the Chinese zodiac, and some of the traditions of the holiday. Students will make their own paper lanterns in celebration of the Lantern Festival, the closing of the 15-day celebration.

Lacquerware Boxes
Primitive lacquering was known in Japan as early as the third century B.C., but did not develop into a significant art form until the introduction of Chinese lacquering techniques in the seventh or eighth century A.D. Based upon the AMAM's own lacquerware document box, students will create their own versions as they study the history and techniques of lacquerware.

1,000 Cranes
In Japan the crane is known as the "Bird of Happiness" and is a symbol of longevity. According to legend, if a person folds 1,000 paper cranes (senbazuru) pleases the gods so that he or she is granted a wish. Students will explore the legend, study the crane, read the story Sadako, by Eleanor Coerr and learn to fold origami cranes.

Bodhidharma/Daruma Doll
A Daruma is a spherical doll with a red painted body and a white face without pupils. Daruma dolls represent Bodhidharma, a Zen monk who meditated for almost 9 years while sitting in the Zazen posture. Students will be exposed to Bodhidharma in various works of art and create their own Daruma doll while learning to set goals.

Javanese Wayang Kulit
Wayang Kulit, the ancient Indonesian art of shadow play, is a unique combination of ritual, lesson, and entertainment. Students will explore the islands of Indonesia,learn about the history of Javanese shadow puppetry, and make their own puppets.

Students will follow a template to create and decorate their own uchiwa. Their handmade uchiwa can then be used as they learn and perform the Kumagawa Ondo, or the Kuma River Dance.

Carp Kites/Japanese Children's Day
In Japan, the carp is a symbol of strength and courage. Each year on the fifth day of the fifth month, carp kites are flown outside homes to represent each child. In this lesson, students will learn about Japanese carp, explore the traditions of Japan's Children's Day, and make their own carp kites.

Arashi Shibori is a specific type of shibori, (a Japanese method of dyeing cloth with a pattern by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, or compressing it) where the cloth is wrapped around a pole, secured, and dyed; the resulting patterns are diagonal since the cloth is shaped on the bias. In this lesson students will be introduced to a brief history of shibori, learn the significance of hachimaki in Japanese culture, explore different types of pattern, and create their own hachimaki using the arashi shibori method.

Kokeshi Dolls
Kokeshi are small dolls with cylindrical or spherical shaped bodies and rounded heads. Often made as souvenirs, these dolls have different characteristics according to which prefecture in Japan they originate from. In this lesson, students will take a closer look at the make-up of Japan and compare its geographic divisions to those in the United States, explore the Japanese Holiday Hina Matsuri, and create their own kokeshi dolls.
About the Program

In August 2002, the Allen Memorial Art Museum received a $150,834 grant through the Asian Art/Educational Outreach Funding Initiative of The Freeman Foundation. This grant has enabled the museum to develop Asian art educational programming for public school children and teachers in grades K-12. The AMAM's Arts of Asia In Reach effort is comprised of three components: a Learning Asian Art Syllabus for grades K-12; Asian Art In-Reach to the Oberlin public schools, which has brought Asian arts directly to local classrooms; and community days and workshops that involve local children, youth, and their families in the study and creation of Asian art outside the classroom during the summer and over the school year. To date, the programs have served over 1,500 children, teachers, and family members, helping increase knowledge of and appreciation for Asian cultures through art.

Since spring 2003, AMAM education staff have worked with Oberlin public school teachers to create lessons that align with State of Ohio teaching standards, incorporate topics of study in appropriate grade levels/curricula, and draw on the AMAM's excellent collection of Asian artwork. We believe that these rich, arts-based curricula will be of benefit to teachers and students not only in Oberlin but also throughout Ohio and the United States, and we welcome feedback.

The Allen Memorial Art Museum and Oberlin College are very grateful to The Freeman Foundation for its generous support, without which this initiative would not have been possible. Sincere thanks go to Education Assistant Loren Fawcett for her creativity and careful planning of the lessons and to the teachers, administration, and students of the Oberlin City Schools for their partnership in this project.

Stephanie Wiles
John G.W. Cowles Director

Comparative Sculpture
Throughout history artists in every culture and society have created sculpture of some kind. Sculptures come in many different shapes and sizes, are made using all kinds of materials and a variety of processes and techniques, and satisfy various purposes. Inspired by the book From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, students will compare several types of sculpture and create their own out of air-dry clay.

Silk Road/Trading Good & Currency
Students will explore concepts such as bartering, trade, and consumerism as they study the Silk Road. Students will also learn about the evolution of Chinese currency as it relates to the trade along the Silk Road. Students will relate learning experiences to modern day consumerism and create a replica of a Chinese coin that might have been used for trade along the Silk Road.

Japanese Family Crests
Japanese crests, or mon, are similar to coats of arms; they are emblems or symbolic representations of families, individuals, or groups of people. They consist of a rounded encircling of a design (such as bamboo, flowers, or some man-made object). After learning about the history of Japanese crests and discussing symbolism, students will create their own design and transfer the crest image onto t-shirts using stencils.

Peking Opera Masks
In this lesson students will be introduced to the Chinese Peking Opera and symbolism as it is used in such performances. Students will also explore stereotypes and relate such ideas to personal experiences. As a studio project, students will create their own masks in the style of Peking opera masks (both a 2D and 3D project are available).