Ranxu Yin, June 1

Speaker: Ranxu Yin (visiting graduate student)

“Re-Presencing the Past? Rethinking the Exhibition History Behind the Object’s Lives and Human’s Experimental Interactions in Premodern China”

Wednesday, June 1st 2022

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT, Hybrid event (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)

※online: Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. password: museum61

※For this event, we will be having dinner after the talk. For those who would like to join this gathering after the event, please complete this form by Sunday (May, 29th) 11:59 p.m. so that we can order enough food for everyone.

These photographs serve as examples of the different lives of objects in museums and in the places where they have been rediscovered. 20221968


 This presentation will start with the social lives of objects and the corresponding human experiences with them, raising the possibility of incorporating some pre-modern ritual experiences into the history of exhibitions. For example, collective human experiences in tombs and temples (or caves) to a great extent share the same “media system” with the contemporary exhibitions, including objects, spaces, information, and emotions. In all three spaces, one finds a similar touching relationship between humans and the mediums described as “contemporary inter-built relationship,” opposite to the “temporary encounter relationship.” In this light, collective human experiences with “exhibitionary spaces” are closely connected across time and space. I propose this connection to be one of the responses to the issue of “re-presencing the past” in media archaeology, prompting us to reconsider or redefine “exhibitions” as a concept and space for staging the human experiences.

 I will use the ritual processes in the tombs and human religious experiences in the temples/caves,focusing on the display of objects and the structures of corridors, as the primary cases of analysis for this presentation.


Ranxu Yin is currently a visiting graduate student in the Department of Art History, the University of Chicago. She is a PhD student in the School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in China, where she majored in art museology. Ranxu studied visual culture and received her MA from CAFA. She is interested in the theories and methods that art history studies absorb and transform from media research of cultural studies. Her research mainly deals with the interactions between art history studies and the history of museum and exhibition.

Yan Jin, May 18

Speaker: Yan Jin (Ph.D. student, University of Chicago)

“From Paper to Pottery: Imperial Yang for the Production of Dayazhai Ceramic Wares in Nineteenth-Century China”

Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT. Hybrid event (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)

※ Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. password: dyz518

※For this particular event, we will be having dinner after the talk. For those who would like to join this gathering after the event, please complete this form by Sunday (May, 15th) 11:59 p.m. so that we can place enough food for everyone. For your information, we are planning to order Italian cuisine.

Dayazhai Yang no. 4, 1873-74. Ink and color on paper, 45.4 x 70cm. The Palace Museum, Beijing.


At the imperial court of Qing China (1644-1911), how exactly was it ensured that the things seen and used by the emperor were made according to the imperial order and taste? Based on the myriad of records of Neiwufu 內務府 (Imperial Household Department), a general summary of the mechanism can be made: After the emperor had given out an order to have a thing—ranging from a small bowl to attires and to an entire architecture complex—made, a yang 樣 that visually delineates the thing would first be presented to the emperor by court officials or artisans working at the Imperial Household Department. The emperor would make comments and changes based on the yang and give his approval, according to which the final thing could then be produced. This process could go back and forth multiple times, during which it was the yang that was amended until it was able to meet the emperor’s expectation. But what is this thing called “yang?” By definition, the character itself may be translated as “shape/appearance,” “sample,” “pattern,” or “model.” However, the answer to this question is actually not so much straightforward and is the focus of this presentation.

In particular, this presentation looks closely at one set of such yang created in 1873-74, the last years of Emperor Tongzhi 同治’s reign (r. 1862-1874), for the production of a group of ceramic wares for Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧 (1835-1908), now commonly referred to as Dayazhai 大雅齋 (Studio of Utmost Refinement) wares. Departing from previous scholarship on the Dayazhai ensemble, which pay more attention to the wares themselves rather than the yang and focus on the pictorial themes and stylistic features of these wares, this presentation instead aims to highlight the active role yang played in the overall commission and production process. By probing into the Dayazhai yang’s visual schemes, its maker and audiences, and the translation from yang to ceramics, I aim to demonstrate that rather than being merely a secondary object made for the creation of something final, the Dayazhai ceramic yang occupied a hierarchical position higher than the actual wares in both practical and conceptual terms because of its centrality in the shaping and delivery of Cixi’s ideals for imperial ceramics.


Yan Jin is a PhD student in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago, studying visual and material culture of late imperial China. Her research interests include cross-regional exchanges, negotiation between global and local artistic traditions, and issues of materiality and intermediality. Yan received her BA in Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2018) and her MA from the University of Chicago (2019) with a thesis on the production and display of glass mirror table screens at Emperor Qianlong’s court.

Xu Jin, May 6

Speaker: Xu Jin ( Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Vassar College)

“Comparing Acts, Matching Images: Filial Sons and Reclusive Sages on the Funerary Couch of a Sogdian Immigrant in 6th-Century China”

May 6th, 2022 (Friday)

4:30 – 6:30 pm CT. Hybrid (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)

※ Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting if you would like to attend remotely. password: sogdian56

(Liu Ling, One of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, Di Yu Couch. Eastern Wei Dynasty. Stone couch from Anyang, Henan Province. Shenzhen Museum)


Filial sons and reclusive sages (Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi) were among the most esteemed figural subjects in Chinese art. They also appear on the stone funerary couch of Di Yu 翟育 (?-538), a Sogdian diplomat who immigrated to North China in the early sixth century. The Di Yu couch is the earliest known of over ten sarcophagi made for Sogdian leaders active in sixth-century China. This talk demonstrates how the quintessential Chinese subjects were selectively adopted and meticulously modified to address the Sogdian family’s life experiences. Moreover, I argue that Sogdian immigrants employed the images of reclusive sages to reconcile their Central Asian origin with the art and culture of native Chinese elites.


Xu Jin is an Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian studies at Vassar College. He received his PhD in art history at the University of Chicago. His research has been focusing on religious and cultural exchanges on the Silk Road as reflected in Chinese art during the 6th and 7th centuries. His publications appear in the Burlington Magazine, the Journal of Asian Studies, and Journal of National Museum of China. Currently he is writing a book manuscript titled “Beyond Boundaries: Sogdian Sarcophagi and the Art of An Immigrant Community in 6th Century China”.

Hang Wu, April 15

Speaker: Hang Wu (PhD Student, Department of Cinema and Media Studies/ Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations)

“Information Processing: On Asian Cyberscapes in the Cyberpunk New Wave”

Friday, April 15th, 2022

5:10 – 7:10 pm CT, Hybrid (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)

**This event is co-sponsored with the Digital Media Workshop**

*Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. The password to this zoom session is “cyber0415.”

Abstract: The new wave of cyberpunk animation, cinema, short video, and games that proliferated after the 2010s encourages us to reconsider the relationship between the cyberscapes rendered in cyberpunk media and the cityscapes of Asia. Since the release of a series of cyberpunk films and TV animation in the 1980s, scholars have developed the concept of “techno-orientalism” to critique the imagination of Asian cityscapes in the cyberized future. However, this approach views “Asia” only in terms of a racialized imagination external to it. Aiming to go beyond the East-West dichotomy that is implicit in the techno-orientalism critique of cyberpunk media, I examine the relationship between the cyberpunk cyberscape and the Asian cityscape through the lens of information processing. In particular, I look at the staging of information interfaces (hologram projections and screens on high-rise buildings) and lighting effects (neon lights and LED lighting) in cyberpunk media that suggest the city processes information as a medium. Blending cinema & media studies and critical area studies, I argue that cyberpunk media draws to the fore the city in its information processing role and intensifies our perceptions of it as a global space located in Asia. Information processing serves as a key concept in this paper for thinking about (1) media infrastructures and aesthetics that afford an immersive viewing experience in the age of the digital; and (2) the emergent and open futures that the Asian cyberscapes evoke.

Hang Wu (She/They) is pursuing the joint Ph.D. degree in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Their research mainly focuses on how the more-than-human may help expand the understanding of media and sovereignty in the context of East Asia, especially China and Japan. Their work has appeared in journals and edited volumes such as Animation: an interdisciplinary journal and Sound Communities in the Asia Pacific.

Boyao Ma, March 16

Speaker: Boyao Ma (Visiting Graduate Student, Department of Art History, University of Chicago; Ph.D Candidate, Department of Archaeology, Sichuan University)

Expanding Space in Passageway: the Architectural Space and Image of a 5th-century Tomb in Xi’an”

Discussant: Li Jiang (Ph.D Student, Department of Art History, University of Chicago)

Wednesday, March 16th, 2022
4:45 – 6:45 pm CT, Hybrid (In-person at CWAC 152 + livestream via Zoom)

Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. 

(Aerial view of the painted carved-earth gatehouses at the Zhongzhao tomb, Xi’an.)

The Zhongzhao Tomb in Xi’an, with a total length of over 80 meters and the unusual structure of painted carved-earth gatehouses at the top of connecting corridors, was built for an elite couple during the Sixteen-Kingdoms period (304 CE – 439 CE). The architectural space and pictorial decoration of this tomb work together to create a symbolic space that simulates multiple courtyards. Compared to previous burial, the Zhongzhao tomb represents a significant shift in the spatial expansion of passageway, as evidenced by increases in both physical and symbolic space. The “vermilion pillars and white walls” shown by the painted carved-earth gatehouse is strikingly comparable to the literature description of the gatehouse in Yecheng, one of the capital cities of the time, creating a temporary visual spectacle above-ground amid the funeral activities. The Zhongzhao tomb is an excellent representation of the dimorphic of “hiding” and “showing” in burial, conveying the significance of the spatial expansion in passageway during the early medieval China.
Boyao Ma is currently a visiting graduate student in the Department of Art History, the University of Chicago. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology, Sichuan University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree. He primarily focuses on archaeology of burials and buddhism in the early medieval China, currently working on his dissertation about the stone mortuary equipments between the fifth to the eighth century.
Li Jiang is a PhD student of East Asian art history, focusing primarily on funerary art in ancient and early medieval China. Li Jiang received her MA from the University of Chicago in 2018. Her thesis examined the fragments of a lacquer screen from an elite burial of the Northern Wei dynasty. Her current research involves the material cultural and inter-regional issues in northeast Asian tomb arts from the fourth to seventh centuries.


This convening is open to all invitees who are compliant with UChicago vaccination requirements and, because of ongoing health risks, particularly to the unvaccinated, participants are expected to adopt the risk mitigation measures (masking and social distancing, etc.) appropriate to their vaccination status as advised by public health officials or to their individual vulnerabilities as advised by a medical professional. Public convening may not be safe for all and carries a risk for contracting COVID-19, particularly for those unvaccinated. Participants will not know the vaccination status of others and should follow appropriate risk mitigation measures. 

Valentina Boretti, March 2

Speaker: Valentina Boretti (Research Associate, SOAS University of London)

“New Wine in Old Bottles?: The Re-tagging of Playthings in Twentieth-century China”

Discussant: Xi Zhang (PhD Candidate, University of Chicago)

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Remotely via Zoom 

Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. The password to this zoom session is “toys0302.”

Qimeng huabao 啟蒙畫報 1.2 (1903)


In twentieth-century China, toys became signs and agents of child and adult improvement, or lack thereof. Pacing-horse lamps like the one shown above, for instance, could equally serve to introduce children to science and patriotism; or to demonstrate Chinese inanity in having used scientific principles to produce a mere toy; or instead to reveal Chinese resourcefulness and precocious command of science. The significance of toys was, in turn, a consequence of the premium importance assigned to youths.

Advocating the cultivation of vigorous subjects, as opposed to the lethargic inadequacy that allegedly marked Chinese personhood, reformers and cultural brokers disseminated from the late nineteenth century a discourse of childrearing and education that reframed playthings as key formative tools. For ‘new’ children, they posited, would be shaped only by means of educational methods that seconded their peculiarities, which ‘tradition’ supposedly had ignored. Having construed the young as ‘instinctively’ play-loving and mobile, this discourse then identified toys as tools for providing imperceptible (hence more effectual) moral, intellectual, aesthetic, and physical instruction to children as they played. Yet, to achieve this goal, toys ought to be ‘appropriate’, namely educational, scientific, attractive, safe, ideally movable and novel.

Drawing on textual, visual and material sources dating from the 1900s to the 1960s, my talk will explore these discursive labels across political regimes: for – with moderate variations – the discourse of toys seamlessly transitioned from the Republican to the Maoist era, and most of the playthings that had raised citizens were found apt to raise successors. The talk will, moreover, note that whilst branding toys as indicative of advancement or backwardness, scientific, or conducive to political engagement was quite new, the objects these tags were appended to were often age-old. Old-ish bottles, in sum, were made to contain new-ish wine.


Valentina Boretti is Research Associate in the Department of History, SOAS University of London. She works on the cultural history of modern China, and has published on gender, material culture and childhood. Her research, funded among others by the British Academy, takes toys as a lens to explore child and adult citizen-building, mobilisation, and continuities or changes across regimes in twentieth-century China.

Xi Zhang has defended her dissertation entitled The City’s Pleasures: Urban and Visual Culture of Garden Spaces in Shanghai, 1850s-1930s and will receive her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in March 2022. She is currently teaching at the School of Art Institute of Chicago as a lecturer. Her research and teaching focus on the history of modern Chinese art and architecture, with a particular interest in the interplay of spatial practices and visual culture within transcultural contexts from the eighteenth to twentieth centuries.

Meng Zhao, February 23

Meng Zhao (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art History)

“Theatrical Beholding: Visualizing Gaze in the Southern Song Court Milieu (1127-1279)” 

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022 [Postponed]

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT,  Remotely via Zoom

Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting. The password to this zoom session is “103291



Ma Yuan 馬遠 (1160-1225), detail of “Spring Gazing from the High Terrace,” in Landscape Album Paired with Imperial Poetic Inscriptions 宋帝命题册, ca. 1194-1224. Set of ten pairs of album leaves; ink, color and gold on silk, 26.6×27.3 cm; anonymous collection, New York.


By the middle of the twelfth century, a narrowly focused vision characterized the Southern Song (1127-1279) landscape art. Instead of the timeless aspect of nature conveyed in earlier landscape paintings, an introspective sensibility is marked by the presence of a quietly contemplating figure within the intimate format of square album leaves and circular fan paintings. The aim of this chapter is to propose the art-historical conventions, aesthetic conditions, and socio-historical forces in relation to the Southern Song court milieu that allowed and shaped this dominant mode of visualizing gaze in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. A specific group of paintings featuring a prominent gazing figure suggests a mode of what I call an “imperial gaze” and is foregrounded as a pivot around which an inclusive, plural understanding of these scenes is constructed. The key question is to what extent the Southern Song court art could have been shaped by a notion of “spectacle” that was founded not only on the representation of a beholding subject, but also on the necessity of envisioning the painting plane as a theatrical stage. The construction of this sort of theatrical spaces, in both a physical and mental sense, and the experience of situating oneself as beholder, were widely observed in various forms of imperial entertainments of the period.

Meng Zhao is a PhD candidate studying Chinese art with focuses on painting practices of the middle period (ca. 800-1400). Her doctoral dissertation, Roaming, Gazing, and Listening: Human Presence and Sensory Impression in Song Landscape Art (960-1279), investigates the related ways in which major landscapists from the end of the eleventh to the thirteenth century turned their attention to the portrayal of human presence and responded in various efforts to the psychosomatic dimension of multi-layered figure-landscape relationships. She is also interested in pictorializations of the medieval conception of female beauty and its relation to the mingling of senses, and the representation of dreams and visions in late imperial China. This year, her research is funded with a Chinese Studies Dissertation Fellowship from the Center for East Asian Studies at UChicago.

Zhengqian Li, December 1

 Zhengqian Li (MAPH Student)

“Objects as Political Symbols: Imperialist Merchandise in Mu Shiying and Shi Zhecun’s Modernist Fiction”

Discussant: Haun Saussy (Professor of Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, and Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago)

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CT, Hybrid (In-person at CWAC 152 + Remotely via Zoom)

*Please use this form to sign-up for attending the event in-person, so that we could better keep track of the number of attendees; If you would like to attend remotely, you may register here to receive the zoom link

* Based on the university policy on COVID, we will only be able to allow maximum 25 people inside the venue, and mask will be required throughout the event. Light, individually-packed snacks and drinks will be provided to be taken after the workshop. 


Based on Fredric Jameson’s Marxist hermeneutics, this research investigates how imperialist and colonialist presence in Mu Shiying and Shi Zhecun’s semi-colonial Shanghai are visible through symbolic objects. As ways to examine the Reality reflected in Mu and Shi’s short stories, relevant studies juxtapose primary texts with local and global cultural contexts, domestic and international politics, as well as historical research on the city of Shanghai (See Sean Macdonald, “‘Modernism’ in Modern Chinese Literature”; Yomi Braester, “Shanghai’s Economy of the Spectacle”; and relevant chapters in Leo Lee’s Shanghai Modern and Shu-mei Shi’s The Lure of the Modern). While this research still takes Shanghai as the background for discussion, the core focus is on the art and commercial history of imperialist and colonial politics implied by the objects in public space. With the application of the concept of the political unconscious, this study discovers politically symbolic elements in the merchandise (Johnnie Walker whiskey, Lucky Strike, Ruby Queen, Victory cigarettes) appeared in Mu and Shi’s stories. Such findings demonstrate that the imperial authority’s influence on the semi-colonized is tangible not only when an authority figure exerts power, but also culturally and socially observable when the authority is physically absent. Rather than depending upon the presence of a person, e.g., royalty, the imperial power of late 19th and early 20th century Great Britain, and of industrialized western countries broadly speaking, exist in multiple forms and constantly project their influence on the Shanghai residents and the people of less “modernized” areas around the globe.


“Ruby Queen” advertisement on Chinese newspaper Business News.Wing Tai Vo Tobacco Corp. Business News no.0002, April 19, 1924. 永泰和煙草股份有限公司 《工商新聞》 1924年4月19日 [0002版]


Zhengqian (Ian) Li is currently a MAPH student at the University of Chicago and has received a Comparative Literature BA from Middlebury College. His short story “The Smothering” is published in Chicago Quarterly Review (volume 34). His poem “The Road Ahead” was published in China Poetry in 2013 and the non-fiction collection Sometimes was published the same year. Ian has worked at the online magazine US-China Today as an editor in 2018 and presented at Beijing International Studies University in 2017 and Johns Hopkins University’s Macksey Symposium in 2021.

Haun Saussy is University Professor at the University of Chicago, teaching in the departments of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages & Civilizations as well as in the Committee on Social Thought. His work attempts to bring the lessons of classical and modern rhetoric to bear on several periods, languages, disciplines and cultures. Among his books are The Problem of a Chinese Aesthetic (1994), Great Walls of Discourse (2001), The Ethnography of Rhythm (2016), Translation as Citation: Zhuangzi Inside Out (2017), Are We Comparing Yet? (2019), The Making of Barbarians: Chinese Literature in Multilingual Asia (forthcoming, 2022) and the edited collections Sinographies (2007), Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization (2008), and Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader (2010). As translator, he has produced versions of works by Jean Métellus (When the Pipirite Sings, 2019) and Tino Caspanello (Bounds, 2020), among others. He is a former Guggenheim Fellow, a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lucien Sun, October 27th

Speaker: Lucien Sun (Ph.D. Student, Department of Art History)

Flipping Over and Stretching Out: Reading an Accordion-Fold Painting

Discussant: Shiqiu Liu (Ph.D. Candidate, University of Melbourne)

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

5:45 – 7:45 pm CT, Remotely via Zoom

*Please use this link to register for the zoom meeting.


A new binding format—a long sheet of paper folded back and forth to formulate the shape of an accordion—emerged in China during the Tang–Song transition. Historians of book usually refer to it as jingzhe zhuang 經折裝. Few have considered, however, the specificity of this accordion-fold binding style as art medium, despite that many sutras contain a multi-page frontispiece illustration. This special format allows the viewer to flip over pages of picture like reading an illustrated bound book and meanwhile stretch out several consecutive pages, fold them, and proceed as if rolling a handscroll. In this paper, I will study a twelfth-century Buddhist painting attributed to the artist Zhang Shengwen 張勝溫 of the Dali Kingdom. My analysis of this painting concentrates on the complicated relations between the accordion-fold medium and the images it bears, a path that hardly anyone has taken before. The first six pages of the painting that depict the procession of the Dali emperor Zhixing and his entourage provide us with a starting point to formulate some structural principles that the artist followed when working on an accordion fold. Several symmetrical scenes of different scale in this painting further demonstrate how the artist reconciled the conflict between the desired iconic composition and the material circumstances of this format. Through a close reading of this painting, I intend to come up with a preliminary set of features that characterize the incredible flexibility of this popular East Asian art medium in relation to the artist, the viewer and the images it bears.


Zhang Shengwen. Dali Emperor Duan Zhixing and his entourage worshipping the Buddha. Pages 1–6. 1173–1176 CE. Each page H. 30.4 cm x W. 12 cm. Color on paper. National Palace Museum, Taipei.


Lucien Sun  is a PhD student in in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Fudan University, Shanghai. He also spent a year at the University of Tokyo studying Japanese collections of Chinese and East Asian art. He is currently interested in how picture in its broad sense moved across space, borders, and visual media in north China between the eleventh to the fourteenth century.


Shiqiu Liu is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne and holds a MA from the University of St Andrews. Her current research is on art works produced under the cultural exchanges stimulated by the Mongol rule of Eurasia in the fourteenth century, focusing especially on works made by professional artisans for those ethnically non-Chinese in Yuan China. She is interested in pre-modern artistic exchanges through cultural communications between China and areas around East and Central Asia.

Sylvia Fan Wu, October 13

Speaker: Sylvia Fan Wu (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art History)

“Inscribing Piety: Monumental Inscriptions from Quanzhou”

Discussant: Wei-cheng Lin (Associate Professor of Art History and the College, Department of Art History)

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Hybrid (In-person in CWAC 152 + Zoom)

*If you would like to attend in-person, please use this form to sign-up; If you would like to attend remotely, you may register here to receive the zoom link. 

*Based on the university policy on COVID, we will only be able to allow maximum 25 people inside the venue, and mask will be required throughout the event. 


Quanzhou’s Ashab Mosque has often been discussed for its foreign-looking architectural forms and the material choice of stone. Few have contemplated the Quranic verses that were carved onto both the interior and exterior walls of the mosque complex. These monumental inscriptions constitute the majority of the sober decorative program in this Muslim sanctuary and are imbued with iconographic meanings that speak to piety. This paper examines the inscriptions found in the Ashab Mosque and around the city of Quanzhou and explores the pious messaging behind their formal, iconographic and material qualities.


The Ashab Mosque, qibla wall, 14th or 16th century, Quanzhou, China (Credit: Cherie Wendelken)


Sylvia Wu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. She studies the architecture and material culture of medieval Indian Ocean with a particular focus on China’s coastal areas. Her dissertation, Mosques of Elsewhere, examines how knowledge of legendary monuments of the Islamic world had informed the blueprints of mosque building in China’s southeastern ports, or rather distracted us from recognizing the mosques’ local attributions.

Wei-Cheng Lin is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. He specializes in the history of Chinese art and architecture with a focus on medieval periods. His primary interests of research are visual and material cultural issues in Buddhist art and architecture and China’s funerary practice through history. He is the author of Building a Sacred Mountain: The Buddhist Architecture of China’s Mount Wutai, published by the University of Washington Press in 2014. He has additionally published on a variety of topics, including collecting history, photography and architecture, historiography of Chinese architectural history, and contemporary Chinese art.