Papers will be based on visual objects. All papers must have full documentation including images and their sources. Students may use the documentation systems appropriate for your majors. See for quick overviews of each of the major documentation systems.
The term paper (ca. 5-8 pages plus endnotes/footnotes and bibliography) is based on student analysis of an ancient or medieval object from Greek, Islamic, Chinese, Indian, African (excluding ancient Egypt), Silk Road or European cultures in a museum collection. The object such as a sculpture, painting, ceramic, textile, glass, seal, papyrus, parchment, inscription, ceremonial or cultic artifact, or object of material culture must date between the origins of civilization and ca. 1400 C.E. The first part of the paper should be based on observation and should include a detailed description of your chosen object together with its museum accession number (e.g., MMA 86.11.378). The description should be inclusive of all major elements of the object under examination and may also include information on the method of production (if known), materials used, and aesthetic or stylistic impressions. The second part of the paper is based on historical research and may include information on the object or artifact’s use, context that shaped its function, historical setting, and/or the significance of the idea or ideas that its creator attempted to communicate. Comparisons or contrasts with other objects viewed in a museum or discovered in your research may aid in the analysis.