Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 22 - Asian Art (India)


Observe some characteristics of art from India.

Look closely at statue of Ganesha.

Infer that Ganesha is part of the religion of Hinduism.


Slide of Ganesha from 11th-century India

Slide of Henry Moore's Three Rings

Classroom size world map

Suggested Book

Glubok, Shirley. The Art of India. New York: Macmillan, 1969

Glubock, who has given art lectures for children at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, has written a whole series of art books for children. This one has striking black and white photographs that can be shared with the children and a great deal of useful information for the teacher. There is a wonderful picture of a Ganesha that the children can compare to the one they will see from the Walters.

Note for the Teacher

By the time you teach this art lesson, the children should already have studied World Civilization Lessons 31 and 32. The art lesson would be a good complement to this month's literature lesson on The Blind Men and the Elephant, in which the children hear about the Hindu god Ganesha who has a human body and the head of an elephant.


Review with the children some of the information they learned about India and Hinduism in World Civilization Lessons 31 and 32. Some leading questions might be: What continent is India part of? (Asia) Find it on the world map. How did India get its name? (from the Indus River) What religion do most people in India follow? (Hinduism) Who are the three principal gods of the Hindu religion? (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) If you have access to the book suggested above, or another book about India with photographs of their statues, show the children some examples of statues of the three main gods they have already learned about.

Tell the children that, according to the Hindu religion, Shiva's wife is called Parvati. (Show them pictures of a statue of Parvati if you can.) Say: Hindus believe that the great god Shiva and his wife Parvati had a son whom they named Ganesha. He was created in order to keep his mother Parvati from being lonely when Shiva was away. He is always shown in art as having a human body and the head of an animal beloved in India. Say: See if you can guess what animal this is.

Show the children the slide of Ganesha. Tell them it was made by an artist in India nearly a thousand years ago. Ask: What kind of art do you think we're looking at? (sculpture) Is sculpture 2- or 3-dimensional art? (3-dimensional) Can you tell which animal the head of Ganesha represents? (an elephant)

Ask: What piece of sculpture did we look at in the last art lesson? (If they have trouble BCP DRAFT ART 45

Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 22 - Asian Art (India)

remembering, show them the slide of the Henry Moore Three Rings.) Do you remember what the Henry Moore sculpture is made of? (marble, stone) What do you think the Ganesha sculpture is made of? (stone) Why do artists so often make sculpture out of stone? (very strong, long-lasting, is not harmed by the weather, so it can be outside as well as inside)

Say: If the Henry Moore sculpture and the Indian sculpture are both made out of stone and both 3-dimensional, what makes them so different from one another? (Accept any reasonable answer. For example, the children might make a point of the combination of animal head and human body, they might especially notice the fat, bare belly of Ganesha, the dark color of the Indian sculpture as opposed to the warm pinkish gray of the Henry Moore. If it is possible to direct the children even further, you can try to have them see that the Henry Moore does not represent anything whereas the Indian sculpture does.)

Tell the children that the Ganesha is made of a kind of stone found in India that is soft when it is dug from the ground, so it can be cut easily with a chisel and mallet. When the stone is left out in the air for a time, it then becomes very hard, so it is especially good for sculpture. Say: We know that Jews worship and give thanks in synagogues and temples; Christians, in churches and cathedrals; and Muslims, in mosques. Does anyone know what we call the buildings where Hindus worship their gods and goddesses? (temples) Say: Hindu temples are filled with statues of different examples of their gods and goddesses, both inside and outside the buildings.

Say: Take another good look at this Ganesha sculpture. What is Ganesha doing? (dancing) How can you tell? (the way his body seems to be moving, with his knees bent, moving with one foot supported on the toes) Does Ganesha look like a happy god? (yes) Tell the children that Ganesha is almost always shown as happy and cheerful, and Hindus believe that he is the god who brings success, good fortune, and wisdom to people. Therefore, when people prepare to go on a trip or start an important project in their lives, they worship Ganesha. He is also the protector of people who write and produce books.


Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 23 - Asian Art (China)


Observe some characteristics of art of China.

Look at some Buddhist sculpture.

Infer that Buddha is an important figure in Buddhist religion.

Identify a Chinese horizontal painting as a handscroll.


Slide of Ganesha from 11th-century India

Slide of Tung Pang-ta's Landscape with a Lone Figure contemplating a Waterfall (#3 in sleeve)

from China, c. 1750

Classroom size world map

Pictures of Buddhist sculpture in books or magazines

Suggested Book

Glubok, Shirley. The Art of China. New York: Macmillan, 1973.

Another in the series suggested for the previous lesson with the same format and well- chosen pieces of art photographed in black and white. Particularly good (in the book on China) are the many examples of animal sculptures and Chinese painting on scrolls of silk and of paper.

Note for the Teacher

This art lesson and the one following are good complements to the World Civilization lessons that revolve around Buddhism and China (Lessons 34, 35 and 36). You will need to find some pictures of Chinese art (such as porcelain, jade, and lacquer objects) in standard books on Asian art or in museum publications or postcards of Chinese art.


As a way of brief review, show the children the slide of Ganesha from the previous lesson and ask: What country did the Ganesha sculpture come from? (India) What continent is India found on? (Asia) Ganesha is a god in which Asian religion? (Hinduism) Can someone name a very large country in Asia whose name begins with the letters CH? (China) Can someone else find it on the map of the world? If the children have already had some of their World Civilization lessons for this month on China, encourage a few children to tell the rest of the class what they have learned about that country.

Say: Today, we're going to talk about art in China and look at some Chinese art. Long, long ago, when important people died in China, they were buried in tombs surrounded with very beautiful things that were works of art. Some of these works of art were for pouring wine or oil, some were for cooking; many were in the shapes of the animals that the Chinese people loved. (If you have pictures of these ancient objects, show them to the children as you talk about.) What animal did you see as the head of Ganesha? (elephant) That animal was also loved by the Chinese people and appears as an art object. What do you think there is about the elephant that people loved? (very large but also slow and gentle, mysterious, strong but quiet) They also made sculptures out of bronze (a hard metal) and clay. Another animal they sometimes represented in


Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 23 - Asian Art (China)

clay is the camel. What do you think camels would have been used for in China? (carrying things across the desert--show on map where the desert is)

If you have pictures of objects made from lacquer, show them to the children and tell them that the lacquer comes from the juice of the lac tree, which is put on the outside of wooden figures and boxes in many thin layers like paint and becomes very hard when it dries in the air. Ask if anyone has ever seen anything made of a stone called jade. (Show them a picture of something made of jade if you can.) Say: Some jade is bright green, some pale green, and some such a light green it is nearly white. Chinese artists love to carve the jade into pieces so thin and delicate that they are translucent (Help them to understand that translucent means the light passes through even though they are not clear like glass, which is transparent. You could remind them of the translucent silk they looked at when you read The Crane Wife.)

Finally, show them some pictures of porcelain or other Chinese dinnerware and ask: What do we call very fine plates and dishes that we use on special occasions? (china, chinaware) Say: We call it china, because long ago when the Chinese first began to send their beautiful dishes, plates and vases to wealthy Europeans who wanted to buy them for their own fine parties and banquets, the Europeans called these things "china," and the name has remained ever since. Ask: How do you think that what the Europeans called "china" traveled from the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe? How would it go if it went partly by land and partly by sea? (Have someone show on the map.) Do you think it would have been a long trip in the days before planes and cars?

Next, ask: What about Chinese painting? Does anyone remember that we saw a slide of a Chinese landscape painting in the fall? (Let them tell about it if they do.) Show the slide of Tung Pang-ta's landscape, tell them the name of the artist and the painting. Say: Take another good look at the painting. Do you remember what the artist painted it on? (paper, a scroll of paper) Say: Yes, on a paper scroll. The Chinese invented a way to make paper long before anyone in Europe did--nearly 2,000 years ago. They painted with brushes on paper and on silk, and there were two kinds of scrolls. One kind hung vertically. Who can draw a vertical line on the board?

The vertical scrolls were called hanging scrolls, and the second kind were called handscrolls and hung horizontally. (Have someone draw a horizontal line on the board.) Which kind of scroll do you think the Tung Pang-ta is? (hand scroll)

Ask: What else do you see that looks red in the landscape? (Chinese calligraphy, writing, seals, anything that indicates they are looking carefully) Say: Chinese write their language in beautiful brush strokes of wonderful shapes. It is called calligraphy and is written in columns. When you write and read Chinese calligraphy, you read all the way down one column from top to bottom and then go to the next column to the left and read that one from top to bottom (indicate by sketching figures in a column on the right side from top to bottom; then, move left and make a second column moving from top to bottom).

Say: In the next class, we are going to make a Chinese hand scroll.


Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 24 - Asian Art (China)


Make a Chinese hand scroll as a cooperative class project.


Quantity of discarded newspapers, flower and vegetable garden catalogs, and magazines for cutting

Pieces of 9 x 12" drawing paper for each child

Scissors and glue

Masking tape

Two 1" dowels or regular rolling pins

Note to the Teacher

The children will be cutting out pictures from the catalogs, magazines, and newspapers to create scenes that will eventually be combined into a scroll. They will be asked to sign their names "the Chinese way" (first name from top to bottom, last name in second vertical column to the left of the first). They may need help with this, especially if they choose to decorate the letters in their names so they look more like brush strokes. It would be a good idea to make a picture beforehand that is signed so that they have an example of the possibilities.


Ask: Does anyone remember what I promised we would be making for this art class? (Chinese hand scroll) Review the information you discussed at the last lesson about scrolls and ask: Which will our hand scroll be, vertical or horizontal? (horizontal) Say: Each of you is going

to make pictures , using your paper the horizontal way, to make a scene of something you like to do, to look at, to think about, or imagine. Next you will cut out the things you have chosen for your picture and glue them onto a piece of paper. Each of you will sign your names in the Chinese way somewhere on the picture where it looks as though it's really part of the picture. What do you think I mean by writing your name in "the Chinese way"? (first name in a column from top to bottom; last name in a vertical column to the left of it)

Probably the children should sign their names in capital letters only or else they should print their names rather than using both upper and lower case letters.

Have the children choose their materials, take a piece of drawing paper, scissors, and glue for their project. As they finish their individual cutting and pasting, you may need to circulate around the room to help with signing their names. Encourage them to be creative when they are writing their names. For example, if someone has writing skills sufficient to write with flourishes, help them to do so.

Next, attach all of the pictures with a strip of masking tape at the side seams to make a long, horizontal strip. Fasten each end to a dowel or a rolling pin so it can be rolled and unrolled. When it is finished, let the children help you to unroll and hold different sections so that the whole thing can be viewed at once, and--if there is time--let each child tell the rest of the class a little story about what he or she has made. Alternately, you could let the children draw names of their classmates, so that each child would tell a little story about the picture by the person whose name they have chosen. This way, they would each have to be able to read the names written "the Chinese way."



Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 25 - Asian Art (Thailand)


Look carefully at sculpture of Buddha from Thailand.

Note that Buddhism began in India.

Review on map the path of the spread of Buddhism. (See World Civ. Lesson 33)


Classroom size world map or map of Asia

Slide of Ganesha, India, 11th century

Slide of Seated Buddha, Thailand, 14th or 15th century

Pictures of Indian and/or Chinese Buddhas from books or magazines

Poster of Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan, available free (See Resources, below)

Note to Teacher

This art lesson should be taught following World Civilization Lesson 33 on Buddhism, because it builds on some of the information given in that lesson.


Second Graders will be studying Japan in History/Geography for the month of May. At that time, they will look more carefully at Himeji Castle and the Great Buddha of Kamakura, posters of which are available at no cost from:

Japan National Tourist Organization

One Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1250

New York, NY 10020

Tel. (212) 757-5640

Another good source for Teacher Packets about Buddhist art and the arts of China and Japan is the Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington D.C. These packets used to be sent free of charge; now there is a small charge, but they can be sent through the mail. A descriptive bulletin with prices is available from:

Schools and Family Programs

Education Department

Freer Gallery of Art/Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

MRC 707

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, D.C. 20560


Briefly review with the children some of the information they learned about Buddhism in World Civilization Lesson 33 including biographical material about Gautama Buddha, the most basic Buddhist teaching, and the geographical path of the dissemination of Buddhism in Asia. Remind the children that Buddhism began in India, and have someone come to the world map and show some of the other countries where Buddhism took hold. Name the countries as they show the general areas: Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Tibet, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, and Japan.


Second Grade - Visual Arts - Lesson 25 - Asian Art (Thailand)

Ask the children: What other religion besides Buddhism began in India? (Hinduism) Do you remember the name of the Hindu god we looked at in a piece of sculpture? (Ganesha) Do you remember what Ganesha looked like? (head of an elephant and body of a man) Show the children the slide of Ganesha again and ask whether they think Ganesha is happy or sad and why (happy, dancing) Ask: Does he look thin and sickly? (no, round belly)

Next, show the children some pictures of the image of Buddha in either Chinese or Indian art (the more images you have, the better). Ask: What do you notice about the Buddha images? There are some things that seem to be the same for each sculpture of Buddha. What are the things that are the same? Are they sitting or standing? (all sitting) What about the ears? (long) Say: All images of Buddha have very long ears to show that he was born into a very wealthy Brahmin family, a family that would have jeweled earrings for everyone to wear. What about his head? (some kind of topknot on all the images) Tell them that all of the images of Buddha have that to show that once he was enlightened he was filled with wisdom.

Show the children the slide of the Seated Buddha from Thailand. Show them on the map where Thailand is and remind them again of the path that Buddhism took from India, to China, and on to other southeast Asian countries. Ask: What do you think the name of this sculpture is? (They should be able to recognize the figure as Buddha.) How can you tell? (seated, elongated ears, topknot) What do you notice about the way the Buddha is seated? (crossed legs) What do you notice about his feet? (bare feet) Do they look like your bare feet? (no) Why not? (If children don't notice how flat the feet are, have them remove one of their shoes and feel the arch of their feet. You could remind them of what a bare footprint looks like in the sand, showing clearly where the arch of the foot is raised and does not print.)

Tell the children that when artists in Asia sculpted figures of Buddha, they always made flat feet on the figure to show that he spent seven years wandering through India before he sat under the Bodi tree and became enlightened. Ask: Do you see any other differences between this Buddha from Thailand and the other Buddhas we have looked at? (Depending on what you have showed the children, this one is likely to be more delicate, thinner, and with more expressive hands than Chinese or Indian examples.) Encourage them to compare and contrast the other Buddha figures you have brought in to show them.

If you have room, a good way to end this class might be to have each child sit on the floor in a Buddha pose, with crossed legs, feet tucked carefully, spine very long, and face very serene as if waiting for enlightenment!