Museum Paper Assignment

Museum Paper Assignment

This assignment is an exercise to look at a work of art and record your personal understanding and observations. Visit a museum or gallery with a wide selection of Asian art. Select one object to observe more carefully. (Museum visit must be done during the current quarter.)

Consider the following questions as you examine your subject:

Form and Function

What is it? What function does it serve? How is it made? How does its shape or form contribute toward its purpose?

Stylistic Analysis

What types of design or decorative motifs are used? How do they enhance its appearance? Do they contribute toward the meaning of the object?

Meaning and Symbolic Content

What kind of feeling or emotion does the object express or evoke? What devices do the artist used to convey these feelings or emotions? How does the artist gave it visual and symbolic meaning through the manipulation of line and form.


What makes this piece an outstanding work of art?


Paper must be typed and stapled, doubled space, 1” margins, 10-12 point font.

Italicize or underline foreign word

Title page must include (upper right hand corner):

Student’s name (Last name, First name) course name and number

Museum visited, date of visit, length of visit

Name or title of object

Image page

Provide a picture or drawing of the subject.

Identify the object by name, period, material, and country/culture.

Ex. Rhino zun, late Shang period, bronze, China (Information should be on museum labels)

Be very careful about matching the label information to the correct piece.

Length: 2-3 typed pages (600 to 1000 words) (Title and bibliography pages do not count.)

Note: Additional research might be needed for particular works of art. Published sources are preferred over internet sources. Provide proper citations and bibliography.

Local museums:

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco has the best collection of Asian art in this area. Reduced admission with valid student ID. Free admission on the first Sunday of each month.

Both the Cantors Art Center at Stanford and the University Art Museum at Berkeley have good collections of Asian art. Cantors opens late on Thursdays and is free.

Check museum website for current exhibitions and museum hours.

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