Arts of South Asia: Ancient to Early Modern

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000
Learn more about the arts of South Asia which reflect a rich diversity of religious and cultural traditions, seen through paintings and manuscripts, architecture and sculpture, textiles, metalwork and the decorative arts. Under the expert guidance of museum curators, academics, and practitioners, explore this fascinating subject through a series of lectures, behind-the-scenes films and spotlight sessions…

You can learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with more than 40 hours of study over 12 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for up to 12 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time. 

course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Dr Helen Glaister

Course Leader
Dr Helen Glaister

Dr Helen Glaister is an art historian specialising in Chinese Ceramics and Decorative Arts. Helen has been Course Director since 2006 and previously worked at the British Museum, has lectured for Birkbeck College, the British Library and is Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London.

The lecturers were experts and provided extensive illustrations, and all staff were friendly and helpful and willing to answer questions Previous V&A Academy Online Course Attendee

Course overview

The early emergence of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism across South Asia spawned the creation of a diverse array of temple architecture, sculpture and visual arts, offering valuable insights into ritual practise and belief across time and space. The evolution of artistic styles and techniques in a range of media indicate both distinct regional characteristics and connectivity between at times distant communities with shared religious beliefs which continue up to the present. 
The arrival of Islam heralded the eventual rise of the Mughal Empire, stimulating a new artistic repertoire and visual language. Court patronage produced some of the finest manuscripts and paintings, textiles, carpets and jewelled arts which exemplify the luxuries of court life. The arrival of Western visitors and traders spurred on artistic production, who keenly sought South Asian art objects and commercial products, so highly prized for their fine workmanship, rare and precious materials and distinctive artistic style. 
Under the expert guidance of museum curators, academics, and practitioners, explore Asian art through a series of lectures, behind-the-scenes films and spotlight sessions. 

V&A Academy Online. A learning environment you can trust.

V&A Academy Online courses are built using the latest Microsoft software. Tune in to expert lectures live, or catch up later on demand. Download handouts and presentations. Join the discussion in a secure, closed class environment, wherever you are.

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Online course: Arts of South Asia: Ancient to Early Modern

23 September 2024 - 9 December 2024


Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)

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Header image: Head of the Buddha © Victoria and Albert Museum, London