This reference page features an ever expanding list of classroom vocabulary and art history timeline listings (to be added throughout the school year).



Developed in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618)
Batik of Java (video link)

  • Batiks origins can be traced back to Asia, India and Africa. Some say the word is of Malay roots and translates "to write" or "to dot”.
  • Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to cloth, made either by drawing dots and lines in wax with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap.
  • Batik was practiced in China as early as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618). These were silk batiks and were traditionally decorated with trees, animals, flute players, hunting scenes and stylized mountains.
  • Indonesia, most particularly the island of Java, is the area where batik has reached the greatest peak of accomplishment. The Dutch brought Indonesian craftsmen to teach the craft to Dutch warders in several factories in Holland from 1835. The Swiss produced imitation batik in the early 1940s.
  • The tradition of making batik can be found in dozens of countries today, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Nigeria; the batik of Indonesia, however, is the best-known. 


Developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960-1274 A.D.)
Brought to Japan in the mid-14th Century

Sumi-e Brush Painting

Ogawa Ryu - Sumi-e Bamboo Painting for Student Level 1 (3:29)

  • Sumi-e means: ‘Black Ink Painting’
  • Monochrome ink painting first developed in China during the Sung dynasty (960–1274). 
  • In the mid-14th century, Zen Buddhist monks took ink painting to Japan & other parts of Asia (the artists of Japan, Korea and Malaysia learned from the Chinese and then developed their own versions of East Asian brush painting).
  • Emphasis is placed on the beauty of each individual stroke of the brush.
  • The Four Treasures = the tools which are essential to East Asian painting: the ink stick, ink stone, brush and paper.
  • The 4 Basic Brush Strokes = the pulling stroke, pressure stroke, side stroke and smooshing stroke
  • An integral part of the composition is the red seal, which signifies the artist's name. Additional seals may be added to indicate a location or philosophy.


Pre: 10th Century A.D.
NDONESIA: Shadow Theater

Balinese Shadow Theater (5:00)

  • Wayang Kulit: elaborately decorated puppets made from perforated leather
  • Wayang Kruchil: wooden puppets in low relief
  • Wayang Golek; Three dimensional wooden figures manipulated by rods
  • Wayang Wong: Pantomime by live actors


250 - 552 A.D.
JAPAN: Kofun Culture

  • Highly organized aristocratic society, able to command huge numbers of workers & large region
  • This period was characterized by large earthen key-hole shaped burial mounds (kofun) surrounded by moats, some Kofun are as large as the Pyramids at Giza
  • Haniwa SculptureJapanese Haniwa warrior in keiko armor (5:02)


228 - 210 B.C.E.
CHINA: Emperor Qin’s Terracotta Army

Discoveries in Chinese Archaeology (4:17)

  • Emperor Qin ordered work to start on his mausoleum shortly after taking the throne (he died in 270 BC and work halted)
  • Over 700,000 workers involved
  • Discovered in 1974
  • Four Pits: 1. 6,000 Soldiers, 2. Cavalry & Infantry, 3. Officers & Chariots, 4. Empty


4th Century B.C.E. - 3rd Century A.D.
JAPAN: Yayoi Culture

  • Created pottery with clean, functional shapes using coil method with surface smoothed and clay slip added to seal
  • Pottery at this time was used for storage, cooking and offerings (preference for imperfect, natural style)
  • Metallurgy developed during this time - bronze and iron used to make weapons, armor, tools and bells (dotaku)


Imperial Rome (video link)


5th Century B.C.E.
Greek Architecture:

The Classical Orders: Doric, Ionic and Corinthian (video link)

The Parthenon

  • All horizontal architectural elements arch slightly in the center. This means there are no true straight horizontal lines in the Parthenon. These architectural refinements made the Parthenon look alive and flawless to the human eye. This curvature is repeated in Nashville's Parthenon.
  • Nashville's Parthenon: brick, stone, structural reinforced concrete, and cast concrete aggregate; 10 years to build, 1921-1931
  • Parthenon in Athens: Pentelic marble; 10 years to construct the building, 447-438 B.C.
  • East Pediment sculptures: including Helios, Horses and Dionysus (video link)

2,600-2,400 B.C.E.
Standard of Ur
(video link)

3,000 B.C.E. to 30 A.D.
Egyptian Art
 (video link)

  • Saqqara (First True Pyramid) ca 27th Century BCE
  • Pyramids at Giza ca 2560 BCE.
  • Sphinx at Giza: ca 2,500 BCE, Lion with head of Egyptian King, 240 feet long, 66 feet high, “Very embodiment of antiquity and of mystery itself.”
  • Hatshepsut: ca. 1,450 BCE, daughter of Thutmose I, crowned herself pharaoh, successful, booming economy, many public works projects (video link)
  • Nefertiti: ca. 1,350 BCE, created at time of artistic and cultural shift, Akhenaten (shift to monotheism with he and his wife sole recipients of divine wisdom), new ideal of beauty to go with new religion
  • Tutankhamun: ca. 1,300 BCE, re-established religions from before Akhenaten’s reign, crowned with only six years old and died at eighteen, tomb found in 1922
  • Ramses II: ca. 1250 BC, reigned after his father (Ramses I), 30 years into reign, ritually transformed into a god during Sed festival

3,500 B.C.E.
Cylinder Seals:

WHERE: Sumeria (Modern day Iraq)
WHY: Religious / Administrative Tool / Ownership / Jewelry

30,000-15,000 B.C.E.
Paleolithic Cave Paintings:

The oldest known representational imagery comes from the Aurignacian culture of the Upper Paleolithic period (Paleolithic means old stone age). Archeological discoveries across a broad swath of Europe (especially Southern France, Northern Spain, and Swabia, in Germany) include over two hundred caves with spectacular Aurignacian paintings, drawings and sculpture that are among the earliest undisputed examples of representational image-making. (resource link)

  • Archeologists believe that the paintings discovered in the cave at Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in France, are more than 30,000 years old. 
  • The images found at Lascaux and Altamira are more recent, dating to approximately 15,000 B.C.E. (video link)
  • The paintings at Pech Merle date to both 25,000 and 15,000 B.C.E.




5 elements of shape: straight line, curved line, angled line, circle, and dot.

Color Theory: is a body of practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of specific colors

  • Primary Colors: there are 3 primary colors (red, blue and yellow) that cannot be created through the combination of any other colors (the roots of all other colors) 
  • Secondary Colors: there are 3 secondary colors (orange, green and purple) which are the combinations of two primary colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel
  • Tertiary Colors: there are 6 tertiary colors (magenta, vermilion, amber, chartreuse, teal, and violet) which are created when one primary color is mixed with one of its nearest secondary colors

Complementary Colors: colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be complementary colors (example: red and green). The high contrast of complementary colors creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation. Complementary colors are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out.

Hue: the name we give to a color (red, blue, etc.). / one of the 3 properties of color

Intensity: refers to the strength/vividness of the color, for example "royal" blue or "dull" gray / one of the 3 properties of color

Monochromatic color schemes: derived from a single base hue and extended using its shades, tones and tints (tints are achieved by adding white and shades and tones are achieved by adding a darker color, grey or black)

Perspective: is the technique used to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface (a piece of paper or canvas ) in a way that looks natural and realistic. Perspective is used to create an illusion of space and depth on a flat surface (or the picture plane). There are three basic types of perspective: one-point, two-point, and three-point. The one/two/three refers to the number of vanishing points used to create the perspective illusion.

  • One-point perspective: contains only one vanishing point on the horizon line. This type of perspective is typically used for images of roads, railway tracks, hallways, or buildings viewed so that the front is directly facing the viewer.
  • Two-point perspective (is the most commonly used): one vanishing point on either side, is used when the corner of a building is facing you.
  • Three-point perspective: (consisting of three vanishing points), is used when your subject is viewed from above or below and therefore the effects of perspective occur in three directions.

Value: meaning a color's lightness or darkness (shade and tint are in reference to value changes in colors) / one of the 3 properties of color