My research focuses on medieval Chinese architecture, in particular, religious structures, dwellings for the living and the dead, and cities in the context of urban culture and practice. Other architectural topics that interest me include representation of architecture (e.g., painting, diagram, illustrations, photos, etc.), space and place, monument and memory, and cultural heritage and identity in both premodern and modern periods. I am also interested in the intersections between visual and material cultures as manifested in the practice of burials in medieval China. Another aspect of my research engages issues regarding how China was constructed visually in the modern and contemporary world from both historical and historiographical perspectives.
Building a Sacred Mountain at Mount Wutai: Buddhist Monastic Architecture in Medieval China (University of Washington Press, 2014)
Abstract: This book investigates the role of monastic architecture in transforming Mt. Wutai from a relatively unknown native mountain site into the first Buddhist sacred mountain in China, the holy domicile of Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, from the sixth through the tenth centuries. Its discussion, however, is not limited to the building form or structure, but explores the ways in which monastic architecture was built to integrate icons, murals, space, ritual, and topography at Mt. Wutai into a cohesive religious practice and experience that could evoke a transcendent reality.
“Screening the Chinese Interior: Architectonic and Architecturesque,” forthcoming.
“Replicating the Past: Ink Rubbing and Its Related Ideas in Contemporary Chinese Art,” in Original Intentions: Essays on Production, Reproduction, and Interpretation in the Arts of China, ed. Nicholas Pearce and Jason Steuber (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, March 2012), 213-235.
"Structural, Visual, or Iconic: the Transmutation of Wooden Brackets in Modern China," (forthcoming 2014).
“Untranslatable Iconicity in Liang Sicheng’s Theory of Architectural Translatability,” Art and Translation 5, no. 2 (June 2013): 219-250.
“Displacing and Displaying Mt. Wutai in Mogao Cave 61,” Artibus Asiae 71, no. 1, 2013.
“Wooden Architectural Structure in Brick: A Changed Perspective from Life to Death in 10th-13th Century China,” Archives of Asian Art 61 (Sept. 2011): 3-36.
“Preserving China: Liang Sicheng’s Survey Photos from 1930s and 1940s China,” Visual Resources 27 no. 2 (June 2011): 129-145.
“Sign,” Material Religion 7, no. 1 (March 2011): 100-107.
“Corporealized Relics: Chinese relics depositories and burials,” Diancang 典藏 (Art & Collection) 218 (Nov. 2010): 162-169.
Co-Organizer, Art About Art in East Asia, Triangle East Asia Colloquium (TEAC), UNC at Chapel Hill, April 12-13, 2013.
"Broken Bodies: Hidden Presence Inside Pagoda Crypts," Annual Meeting of Association for Asian Studies, San Diego, March 21-24, 2013.
"Collectable Artifacts: Cultural Beijing of the 1930s in Photographs," Annual Meeting of Association for Asian Studies, Toronto, March 15-18, 2012.
"Locating Mañjuśrī at Early-Tang Mount Wutai," 15th Annual Southeast Early China Roundtable, University of the South, Sewanee, Oct. 7-9, 2011
Co-Panel Chair, Beyond Liang Sicheng: Restructuring History of Chinese Architecture, 64th Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, New Orleans, April 13-17, 2011.
Chair of Local Managements, Association of Asian Studies/South Eastern Conference (AAS/SEC), Annual Meeting, UNC at Chapel Hill, Jan. 14-16, 2011.
"Refashioning China: Displaying Chinese Art at the Nelson Gallery of Art, Kansas City, during the 1930s," Annual Meeting of College Art Association, Chicago, Feb. 10-13, 2010.
Introduction to Art of East Asia
Art and Culture: from the Han to Tang
Envisioning Buddhism in Medieval China
Visual Art and Culture in Modern and Contemporary China
Art and Death
Sacred Site: Theory and Practice
Rethinking (Chinese) Art History with Material Culture