Skip to main content

Asian Art Sources: Getting Started

This guide is for beginning scholars on the art of Asia in Western languages.

Beginnings - Reference Sources

Oxford Art Online

- Dictionary of Art and the Encyclopedia of Esthetics.  Includes Asian topics, history.  Updated periodically.

Oxford Reference Online - Art and Architecture
- group of electronic dictionary sources published by Oxford U Press.  Short definitions but updated coverage of major initiatives and artists.

Encyclopedia of World Art - hardcopy only
- older, but longer essays on art topics and issue  + half of every volume is plates, may in color; nothing after 1958.

Pelican History of Art (series) Lilly Reference Lilly N5300.P38 - includes William Watson's volumes Arts of China After 1620

Specialized Reference

Keep in mind that specialized Dictionaries can answer many simple art questions.  These are just some examples:

Symbol Dictionaries

A dictionary of Chinese symbols : hidden symbols in Chinese life and thought.
Eberhard, Wolfram, 1909-1989.
New York : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986.
Lilly Library Reference DS721 .E32613 1986
Perkins Reference DS721 .E32613 1986

Artists Biographical Dictionaries

Modern Chinese artists : a biographical dictionary.  
Berkeley : University of California Press, 2006.
Lilly Library N7348 .S85 2006

Nihon bijutsukan = The art museum of Japan. / 日本美術館 = The art museum of Japan.
Tōkyō : Shōgakkan, 1997.
Lilly Library Reference N7350 .N64 1997
East Asian Reference N7350 .N64 1997


Subject Guide

Lee Sorensen's picture
Lee Sorensen
Box 90727
Lilly Library