Sherry Fowler

Sherry Fowler headshot
  • Professor, Japanese Art

Contact Info

200-A Spencer Museum of Art


Sherry Fowler specializes in Japanese Buddhist art. Her interests include pre-modern sculpture, Edo and Meiji period Japanese temple prints (keidaizu), pilgrimage prints (ofuda), foreign interactions with Japanese art, issues of collecting, and ritual. She has written on the development of the imagery of the cult of the Six Kannon in Japan and Buddhist prints in the pilgrimage process. Her recent research project is on the relationship between dragons, water, and Buddhist temple bells in Japan.


Ph.D. in Art History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1995
M.A. in Art History, University of Washington, 1989
B.A. in Art History, California State University, Long Beach, 1979


Lecture Classes

Introduction to Asian Art History

History of Japanese Painting

Japanese Prints

Japanese Buddhist Art

Art of Buddhism

History of Japanese Sculpture​

Art & Culture of Japan

Graduate Seminars (recent topics)

Sightings of Japanese Buddhist Sculpture

Korea-Japan: Negotiating Art Old and New

Theory and Method in East Asian Art History

Japanese Prints: Popular and Unpopular

Silk Road to Kansas: East Asian Art & Global Flow

Crafts in Japan: Materials, Making, and Meaning

Sacred Space in Japanese Art

Buddhist Art of the Heian and Kamakura Periods

Secrecy in Japanese Art

Pilgrimage in East Asian Art

Modernity and Identity of Transnational Japan, 1850-1950

Collecting East Asian Art in the U.S. and Europe

Japanese Buddhist Icons

Ph.D. Dissertations Directed

Yen-Yi Chan, “The Kōfukuji Nan'endō and Its Buddhist Icons: Emplacing Family Memory and History of the Northern Fujiwara Clan, 800-1200,” November 2018.

Ye-Gee Kwon, “Embracing Death and the Afterlife: Sculptures of Enma and His Entourage at Rokuharamitsuji,” October 2018.

Rachel Voorhies, “Carved into the Living Rock: Japanese Stone Buddhist Sculpture and Site in the Heian and Kamakura Periods,” April 2016.

Elizabeth Williams, “Casting a New Mold: The American Silver Industry and Japanese Meiji Metalwork 1876-1893,” April 2015.

Halle O’Neal, “Written Stūpa, Painted Sūtra: Relationships of Text and Image in the Construction of Meaning in the Japanese Jeweled-Stūpa Mandalas,” 2011. Recipient of the University of Kansas Marnie and Bill Argersinger Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation.

Hillary Pedersen, “The Five Great Repository Bodhisattvas: Lineage, Protection and Celestial Authority in Ninth Century Japan,” 2010.

Karen Mack, “The Function and Context of Fudo Imagery from the Ninth to Fourteenth Century in Japan,” 2006.

Elizabeth Kindall, “The Pilgrimage Paintings of Huang Xiangjian (1609-73) in the Ming-Qing Transition,” 2006.

Selected Publications


Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2016.

Murōji: Rearranging Art and History at a Japanese Buddhist Temple. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press, 2005.


“Japanese Buddhist Sculpture.” Coauthored with Yui Suzuki. In Oxford Bibliographies in Art History, ed. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann. New York: Oxford University Press, February 21, 2022. DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0170

"The Literary and Legendary Lives of the Onoe Bell: A Korean Celebrity in Japan.” Archives of Asian Art 71, no. 1 (2021): 37–61.

“Kinen no shūgōtai: Saigoku junrei no Kannon no mokuhan Kannon fuda no kakejiku.” [Japanese: 273–317; 370–379] / “Collective Commemoration: Kannon Print Scrolls from the Saigoku Pilgrimage” [English: 319–379]. In Nihon bukkyō no tenkai to sono zōkei [Medieval Japanese Buddhist Practices and Their Visual Art Expressions], ed. Michimoto Tesshin. Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 2020.

“Drawing Embodied: Ed Hardy’s East Asian Art Connections” (with Dale Slusser). In Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin: Art of the New Tattoo, ed. Karin Breuer, 24–35. San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2019.

“Connecting Kannon to Women Through Print.” In Women, Rites, and Ritual Objects in Premodern Japan, ed Karen Gerhart, 221–266. Leiden: Brill Publishing, 2018.

“Containers of Sacred Text and Image at Twelfth-Century Chōanji in Kyushu.” Artibus Asiae 74, no. 1 (2014): 43-73.

“Saved by the Bell: Six Kannon and Bonshō.” In Cultural Crossings: China and Beyond in the Early Medieval Period. Dorothy Wong, ed. Singapore: Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2014.



Voices: Art Linking Asia and the West. Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. December 4, 2018December 21, 2019. Co-curated with Maki Kaneko and Aileen Wang.

Online Exhibitions Curated:

"Interweaving Cultures along the Silk Road(s)." September 4–December 13, 2020.

Sacred Space and Japanese Art at the Spencer Museum of Art.October 30, 2014–May 15, 2015.

“Divine Inspiration in Japanese Prints at the Spencer Museum of Art.” April 10–April 22, 2012.

Awards & Honors

2003 Hall Center for the Humanities Vice-Chancellor's Book Subvention Award

Grants & Other Funded Activity

2024 Grant from the College Art Association Millard Meiss Publication Fund

2021-2022 Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowship in Buddhist Studies

2020 Keeler Intra-University Professorship in Religious Studies Department

2018-19 Big XII Faculty Fellowship, Kansas State University

2017-18 Stanford University East Asia Library Travel Grant

2017 Association of Asian Studies Japan Studies Travel Grant

2013  Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship, Asian Division, Library of Congress

2012  Big XII Faculty Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin

2011 Association of Asian Studies Japan Studies Travel Grant

2009 Japan Foundation Fellowship

2009 Hall Center for the Humanities Fellowship

2006-2007 Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellowship, Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, University of London

2005-2006 Asian Cultural Council Asian Art and Religion Fellowship

2005 Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies

2004 Association of Asian Studies, Japan Studies Research Travel within the U.S.A.

2001 Japan Foundation Fellowship; Association of Asian Studies Japan Studies Travel Grant