Teaching Asian Art

When you teach world history you can’t skip Asian art and unfortunately, too many teachers do. I get it. Americans really are not exposed to it and most history teachers took very few if any Asian history courses. Here is the perfect resource to help you get started on your journey of learning, teaching, and loving Asian art.

Tournament of Asian Arts

Tournament of the Arts Asian Edition

This resource grew out of my Tournament of Technology game that I created in the build-up of the biggest sporting tournament in late winter/early spring. I developed the Tournament of the Arts but honestly was scared that students would always eliminate the Asian arts for the simple fact that they don’t know it.

The Tournament of Arts: Asian Edition includes:

  • 12 paintings, artists, and art movements
  • 8 books and authors
  • 16 pieces of architecture

Sure, there are plenty of Asian paintings, artists, and artistic movements that deserve to be discussed but I had to narrow down to the most important for high school history students. These paintings, artists, movements, books, authors, and architecture are all world-famous and are often included in the curriculum and standardized testing. In other words, I’ve done the work for you: this is what students need to know!

Student Research

I am not going to profess to be an Asian art expert (I’m not a European art expert) and neither are your students. That’s why I included a research page for you to print for your students. Have them do the research on each piece in the tournament.

I have NOT included images or excerpts of the prompts because this is a tournament game, not an art lesson. I really feel it is best to have students spend two or three class periods engaged in their own research and discussion amongst themselves about the prompts.

How to Use

Set up your tournament board by shuffling the prompts so they are in random order and place 16 prompts on one side of your whiteboard and another 16 prompts on the other side. This should look exactly like any other sports tournament bracket.

Split your students into pairs (my recommendation) or small groups and have them research each pairing. Use the included research pages if you wish to help students know what they are looking for. Using classroom computers or their own phones they should be researching each piece of art. Amongst themselves have them debate and decide which was more important.

To hold them accountable for their research you can have them present their winner(s) to the class with their justification. Make it a short presentation.

This process will take at least two days to complete.

I also like the idea of splitting this up over the course of a month(ish). Maybe every Friday for a month. Or when I taught in Florida we had short-day Wednesdays and I was always searching for something interesting to fill those days. I hated trying to fit in a regular lesson during a shortened class period. This would fill a couple of Wednesdays.

Here are a few of the prompts:

  • Girl with Flower by To Ngoc Van
  • The Great Wave Off Kanagawa
  • Jeong Seon
  • Poem of Mulan
  • Tale of Genji
  • Potala Palace
  • Red Fort

Click on the images below to see them in my TpT store.

Tournament of TechnologyTournament of the ArtsTournament of the Arts Asian EditionTournament of Full Bundle


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