Maya Stiller

Maya Stiller headshot
  • Associate Professor, Korean Art and Visual Culture
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies

Contact Info

231 Spencer Museum of Art


Maya Stiller is an Associate Professor of Korean art history & visual culture and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Art History Department at the University of Kansas.  She previously taught at Harvard University, Kyushu National University, Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and the University of Zurich. With a double major in Korean Studies and Art History, she spent several years living and studying in Korea and Japan, followed by a doctorate in East Asian Art history from Freie Universität Berlin, and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from UCLA in 2014.

Professor Stiller’s research concentrates on two major areas of interest: Korean Buddhism and Korean visual and material culture. Her first book Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea won the American Historical Association’s 2021 Patricia Buckley Ebrey Prize. Her most recent peer-reviewed articles have been published in Artibus AsiaeCahiers d’Extreme-Asie, the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of Korean Religions, and Religions.

The courses offered by Professor Stiller cover a broad variety of subjects including Buddhist art, landscape painting, rock graffiti, and ceramics as well as post-colonial discourses on Korean cultural heritage, pop culture and Digital Humanities. An associated faculty member in the Center for East Asian Studies, her courses also contribute to the programs in East Asian Languages and Cultures. Her classes are structured around specific problems and current research questions. Courses are designed to engage students with Korean artifacts found in local museum collections, and to teach students how to critically examine primary and secondary sources.

Prospective Graduate Students: Visit Prof. Stiller's YouTube channel "Insights on Korean Art" to view lecture videos about Korean art. If interested in the program, please do not hesitate to email her directly. Prof. Stiller is interested in advising students working in all periods of Korean art history, ancient to contemporary, and in various media, from ancient Buddhist sculpture and landscape painting to contemporary performance art. A great academic community and departmental funding for doctoral research make KU an excellent choice for obtaining a graduate degree.


Ph.D. in Asian Languages & Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles, 2014
Ph.D. in East Asian Art History, Freie Universität Berlin, 2008
M.A. in Korean Studies & Art History, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2003


Graduate Seminars

Buddhist Art of Korea: Faith, Power, and Paradise

Digital Humanities for Art Historians

Korean Architecture

Korean Ceramics in East Asia

Korea-Japan Artistic Interactions, 300 CE – present (co-taught with Maki Kaneko)

Korean Painting, 1400 CE – present

Sacred Sites in East Asia (co-taught with Amy McNair)

The Economics of Buddhist Art in East Asia (co-taught with Amy McNair)

Directed Readings in Korean Buddhism and Korean Buddhist Art


Lecture Classes

Buddhist Art of Korea

Ceramic Arts of Korea – Placenta Jars, Pottery Wars, and Tea Culture

Ceramics of East Asia

Introduction to Korean Art

Modern Korean Art & Culture

Zen Arts of Korea, China, and Japan

Selected Publications

Digital project:

Autographic Atlas of Korea. Digital exploration tool, relational database & search engine of graffiti sites in Korea.

Print Publications:

Carving Status at Kŭmgangsan: Elite Graffiti in Premodern Korea. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Winner of the American Historical Association’s 2021 Patricia Buckley Ebrey PrizePublisher's website & reviews.

“Monk Portraits in Late Chosŏn Korea: Exploring Social, Economic, and Gender Dynamics in Pre-modern Korean Buddhist Art.” Artibus Asiae 83, no. 2 (2023): 171-197.

“Warrior Gods and Otherworldly Lands: Daoist Icons and Practices in Late Chosŏn Korea.” Religions 13 (2022): 1105. PDF link

Precious Items Piling Up Like Mountains: Buddhist Art Production via Fundraising Campaigns in Late Koryŏ Korea (918-1392 CE).” Religions 12, no. 10 (2021): 885 (17 pages).

"Beyond Singular Tradition: 'Buddhist' Pilgrimage Sites in Late Chosŏn Korea." Journal of Korean Religions 11, no. 2 (2020): 135-172.

"Slaves, Village Headmen, and Aristocrats: Patronage and Functions of Buddhist Sculpture Burials in Late Koryŏ/Early Chosŏn Korea." Cahiers d’Extreme-Asie (2019): 265-291.

The Politics of Commemoration: Patronage of Monk-General Shrines in Late Chosŏn Korea.” The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 77, issue 1 (2018): 83-105.

Awards & Honors

American Historical Association’s 2021 Patricia Buckley Ebrey Prize

J. Michael Young Academic Advisor Award, University of Kansas, 2020.

Grants & Other Funded Activity

Pony Chung Senior Fellowship, Research Institute of Korean Studies, Korea University, 2023. Korea Foundation Field Research Fellowship, Department of Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University, 2023.

ACLS/The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Buddhist Studies, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, 2016-2018.

Soon Young Kim Postdoctoral Fellow, Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2015-2016.

Research Fellow, Art History Department, Kyūshū University, Fukuoka, 2011-2012.