The Center for the Art of East Asia organizes an annual symposium to bring together audiencenew scholarship on East Asian art visual culture and to encourages new perspectives and inter-disciplinary communication and collaboration.



To explore and reassess the roles of photography in the development of modern East Asian art and to examine these issues in the context of East Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Areas of focus include the publication of new kinds of art journals and catalogues, large-scale surveys of ancient monuments and archaeological sites with published photographs, the canonization of famous masterpieces, the interrelationship and mutual influences between photography and art forms, the emergence of art photography as a modern art genre, and the use of photography in the practices of individual artists.

Location: Department of Art History, 5540 South Greenwood Ave., Room 157



Friday, May 22

9:15 Opening remarks

9:30-12:00—Panel 1—Representing the Past—Chair, Katherine Tsiang

Chelsea Foxwell, University of Chicago. “Utsushi: Imaging Art and Antiquities in Nineteenth-Century Japan”

Catherine Stuer, Denison University. “A Proprietor’s Instinct: Ancient Gestures, Decisive Cliches and Segalen’s Wild Beasts of Liang”

Wei-cheng Lin, University of North Carolina. “Collectable Artifacts: Beijing, the Former Capital, of the 1930s in Photographs”


2:00-5:00—Panel 2—Portraiture and Identity—Chair, James Hevia

Alice Y. Tseng, Boston University. “The Persistent Imperial Portrait: Emperor Taishō as Multifarious Icon”

Tingting Xu, University of Chicago. “Prince Chun Yihuan and the Photographer Liang Shitai:

A Case Study of a 1888 Album”

Daisy Yiyou Wang, Peabody Essex Museum. “The Devil is in the Details: A Study of the Costume of Chinese Officials in Nineteenth-Century Photographs”

Wu Hung, University of Chicago.  “Inscribed Studio Portrait as Self-Image: Photographing a New Self in Early 20th-Century China”


May 23

9:30-12:00—Panel 3—Photography and Art—Chair, Paola Iovene

Karen Fraser, Santa Clara University.  “Conceptualizing Art Photography: Visual and Written Rhetoric in Shashin geijutsu

Mia Yinxing Liu, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Bates College. “Who is the Real Hero? Seeing Doubles in Lang Jingshan’s ‘Portraits’ of Zhang Daqian,”

Yanfei Zhu, Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Chicago. “Picturing Meishu: Photomechanical Representation of Works of Art in Early Twentieth Century Chinese Periodicals”


2:00-4:30—Panel 4—Contextualizing Photography—Chair, Susan Burns

Julia Sapin, Western Washington University. “Drape, Dream, Journey: The Art of Photographic Advertising in Meiji Japan’s Department-Store Magazines and the Commodification of Japanese Elite Culture”

Kuiyi Shen, University of California, San Diego. “War through the Lens: Case Studies of the Photo-Journalists Shen Yiqian and Sha Fei”

Eugene Wang, Harvard University.  “Buddhism and Photography: How Both Came to Matter in China around 1900”


General Remarks and Discussion

The event is made possible with the generous support of the Center for East Asian Studies and the Adelyn Russell Bogert Fund of the Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago.



Refiguring East Asian Religious Art: Buddhist Devotion and Funerary Practice

A conference organized by the Center for the Art of East Asia, the University of Chicago—May 25-26, 2014



Wu Hung




Winston Kyan, University of Utah. “Between Caves and Tombs: Rethinking Representations of Buddhist Filial Sons”


Youn-mi Kim, Yale University. “Buddhist Monument for Filial Piety? Intersection of Religious and Funerary Art in Silla”

(Sun-ah Choi, Myongji University. “Filial Piety and the Creation of Buddhist Monuments during the Unified Silla: Centering on Sŏkgul-am and Bulguk-sa in Kyŏngju, Korea”)




Phillip E. Bloom, “‘How Grand Are the Uses of Texts!’: Documents, Messengers, and the Visual Imagination of Bureaucracy in Chinese Buddhist Liturgical Art”


Hsueh-man Shen, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. “A Dance to the Music of Time”

Natasha Heller, UCLA. “Learning About the Dead: Children and Ritual in Visual Culture”




Katherine Tsiang, University of Chicago. “Ashokan Reliquaries, Stupas, and Funerary Practice”

Akiko Walley, University of Oregon. “Fulfilling Wishes: Container Types in Buddhist Reliquaries and the Nature of the Salvific Power of the Relics of the Buddha”

Seunghye Lee, Academy of Buddhist Studies, Dongguk University. “The Hall of Underground Palace of Tianfeng Pagoda: Changing Form, Function, and Meaning of Reliquary Space in Southern Song China”




Sonya S. Lee, University of Southern California. “The (Re)making of a Spirited Landscape: On Cliff Tombs and Buddhist Cave Temples in Leshan, Sichuan”

Wei-Cheng Lin, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Broken Buddhist Statues: the Death of Images and Their Changing Ontology Inside Pagoda Crypts”

Kate Lingley, University of Hawai’I at Manoa. “Kinship and the Commemoration of the Dead in Medieval Chinese Buddhist Monuments”


Concluding remarks and Round Table

Paul Copp, University of Chicago

Eugene Wang, Harvard University


Reconstructing the Concept of Art In Japan

September 6-7, 2014

Cochrane-Woods Art Center Lecture Hall (Room 157), University of Chicago

5540 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

How are the research, display, and collecting of Japanese art shaped by late nineteenth-century Western terms today? Is it possible to modify or jettison some of these and still be comprehensible in the global field of art history? How does Japanese art history establish distinctions between “Japan,” “Asia,” “the West,” “early modern,” “modern,” and “contemporary”? How do the legacies of Orientalism and Japonisme continue to shape perceptions of Japanese art today? Are the categories of “painting,” “sculpture,” “craft,” and so forth impeding other visions of the history of objects in East Asia?

This event is made possible by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the Committee on Japanese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago; the Center for the Art of East Asia; and the Department of Art History, University of Chicago.

Conference Schedule

Conference Poster



Past conferences

WORKSHOP–Impossible Purities: Modern East Asian Art and the Question of Artistic Medium
April 28, 2012

WORKSHOP–Six Dynasties Material Culture, Arts, Literature, and Ritual
May 26-27, 2012

The Screen in East Asia
May 6-8, 2011

10th-Century China and Beyond: Art and Visual Culture in a Multi-centered Age, Part 2
May 14-15, 2010

10th-Century China and Beyond: Art and Visual Culture in a Multi-centered Age, Part 1
May 29-30, 2009

International Conference on Ancient Tomb Art
Beijing, September 9-11, 2009

Looking at Asian Art: A Symposium in Memory of Prof. Harrie Vanderstappen
April 12-13, 2008

Reinventing the Past: Antiquarianism in East Asian Art and Visual Culture, Part 2
November 3-5, 2006

conference1Reinventing the Past: Antiquarianism in East Asian Art and Visual Culture, Part 1
May, 2006

Rethinking the Field of East Asian Art History
May, 2006

Art and Commerce: Circulating Cultures of East Asia
May, 2005

Looking Modern: East Asian Visual Culture from the Treaty Ports to World War II
April, 2004

From Prints to Photography
May, 2003

Between Han and Tang: Art and Archaeology of a Transformative Period (3rd-6th centuries)
Years: 1999-2001 (a collaborative project involving five academic and research institutions in the U.S. and China that held a series of three conferences and has resulted in the publication of three volumes of research papers)

Body and Face in Chinese Visual Culture
April, 1998

Living Icons in Five Traditions: Theories and Practices
January 1998

Ruins in Chinese Visual Culture
May, 1997

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