Image of Pair of Ewers
Image of Pair of Vases
Image of Ewer
A decorative object from home, such as a vase or candle holder
Overhead transparencies of each of the featured works of art, with the original porcelain object cut out as much as possible so that the gilt-bronze mounts can be viewed separately
White plastic or paper cups or bowls
Paint and paint brushes, or markers in assorted colors
Various decorative supplies, such as sequins, beads, feathers, straws, metallic markers, as well as reusable materials such as cardboard tubes, water bottle caps, and images from old calendars or magazines.
Part 1: Discussing Decorative Objects
1. Show the class a decorative object you brought from home. Ask students what they think the object is used for. Tell students that they will be discussing decorative arts from the Getty Museum's collection. Explain that decorative objects are beautiful works of art that usually have a specific function or use in a home, such as a piece of furniture, vase, or bowl.
2. Tell students that they will be viewing decorative objects that were first made in China and then sold in France. Now the objects are in the United States at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California. Point these countries out on a map so students will have a sense of how far the objects have traveled.
3. Display the cut-out transparency showing only the original porcelain objects in Pair of Ewers. Ask students what they observe about the objects. Students can pair-share their ideas with a partner before opening discussion to the whole class. Discuss the form and function of the object, using the following questions as a guide:
What do you notice about the design of the objects? How are the objects decorated?
Is there a theme to the decoration (i.e., animals, floral patterns)?
What colors and patterns are included? What else is included?
How do you think these objects were used?
4. Inform students that they are looking at an example of porcelain, which is a ceramic that was invented in China, more than 2,000 years ago. For hundreds of years, people living in Europe wanted to know how porcelain was made, but they did not find out the secret ingredient (kaolin) until the late 18th century.
5. Add the cut-out from the transparency that shows the gilt-bronze mounts, and ask students the following questions:
How do you think the objects can be used now?
Do you think the objects look better now compared to the original porcelain objects?
6. Repeat step 3 and 5 using Pair of Vases and Ewer.
7. Lead a discussion about all three images, and ask students to share any similarities they noticed between the objects. Point out that the original porcelain was made in China, and artists in France added the gilt-bronze mounts. Ask students the following questions:
Why do you think French artists added decorations to the original objects?
How would you feel if a stranger added decorations to a work of art you made?
Can you think of anything in your house that looks pretty but does not have a specific function or use?
What are some reasons people buy decorative objects for their home, even if they do not serve particular functions?
8. Inform students that French artists thought they were improving upon the style of the porcelain objects. Although the original Chinese porcelain was decorated with detailed patternsoften with objects from naturefancy gold handles and accents were added to the smooth surfaces in France because the style was popular among wealthy people in France.
9. Explain to the class that each student will decorate an ordinary white bowl or cup. As students create their decorative objects, remind them that the porcelain pieces were decorated with images from nature. What decorative themes will they choose for their objects? Ask students to brainstorm ideas with a partner then share them with the class.
Part 2: Making Decorative Objects
1. Pass out plain white bowls or cups and either markers or paint and paint brushes. Remind each student to paint or draw a design that has a theme.
2. When finished decorating, each student must now "sell" his or her item to a classmate who will pretend to be a French tourist. Once the French tourists have "bought" the objects, instruct students to switch objects with their partners. The new owner of the object will now add decorations that the owner thinks would enhance the object, just as French artists believed they were doing for the porcelain objects at the Getty Museum.
3. Tell students they will be using their imaginations to add to the designs. Pass out scissors, glue, and assorted items students could use to decorate the objects. Give students time to add to the original designs.
4. When finished, the "French tourists" will share their designs with the original artists. Discuss what students like about the new designs, and what they wish was kept from the original designs.
Part 3: Writing about Decorative Objects
1. Have each student write an account of his or her decorative object's journey, from the perspective of the object. You may wish to give students the following writing prompts:
Where did I come from originally? Where did I go next?
How did my decorations change over time? How did I feel when my new owner altered my decorations?
Where will I go next?
2. Invite students to read their narratives aloud.
Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
3.4 With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose.
5.4 Produce clear and coherent writing (including multiple-paragraph texts) in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
4.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
5.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
5.3 Summarize the points a speaker or media source makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence, and identify and analyze any logical fallacies.
3.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.
3.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).
4.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being (e.g., quizzed, whined, stammered) and that are basic to a particular topic (e.g., wildlife, conservation, and endangered when discussing animal preservation).
5.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).
Visual Arts and Performing Arts Content Standards for California State Public Schools
4.1 Compare and contrast selected works of art and describe them, using appropriate vocabulary of art.
4.2 Identify successful and less successful compositional and expressive qualities of their own works of art and describe what might be done to improve them.
Connections, Relationships, Applications
5.2 Write a poem or story inspired by their own works of art.
EnglishLanguage Arts Standards for California Public Schools
2.0 Writing Applications (Genres and Their Characteristics)
2.1 Write narratives.
2.2 Write descriptions that use concrete sensory details to present and support unified impressions of people, places, things, or experiences.
Written and Oral English Language Conventions
1.6 Use knowledge of the basic rules of punctuation and capitalization when writing.
Listening and Speaking
1.0 Listening and Speaking Strategies
1.3 Respond to questions with appropriate elaboration.