Pinyan Zhu

PhD Candidate
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Pinyan researches medieval Buddhist art in East Asia with a special interest in the religious experiences of their patrons and cross-cultural interactions. Her dissertation delves into the rock-cut cave-shrines at Longmen Grottoes, one of the most important cultural heritages in Buddhist world. Focusing on the sculptures created during the reign of Empress Wu Zhao (r. 690–705 CE), she investigates the relationship among Buddhist cave-shrines, burial spaces, and the teaching of Huayan Buddhism in medieval China. Her previous publications address the motivations behind the flamboyant modern renovation of a twelfth-century stone statue at Baodingshan in southern China (2018), and the collection of Cantonese pewterware in the Spencer Museum of Art at University of Kansas (2020).

Dissertation Title

Longmen under Emperor Wu Zhao (r. 690–705 CE): A Visionary Experience of the Heavenly Cemetery, Statues, and Huayan Buddhism

Fields of Study

Visual Culture of Chinese Cave-Shrines
Heian and Kamakura Japanese Buddhist Sculpture
Visual Arts of Modern and Contemporary Japan


"Avalokitesvara in Gold: Art and Ideology at Contemporary Baodingshan." Études chinoises. vol. XXXVII-2 (2018): 83-100. [Peer-Reviewed]

"Advertise Antiquity and Consume Nostalgia: Chinese Pewterware in the Thayer Collection." In What Does It Mean to Collect?: Sallie Casey Thayer and the Creation of an Art Museum for the University of Kansas [working title]. Edited by Celka Straughn, 28 pages. Kansas: Spencer Museum of Art, forthcoming, 2020. [Catalogue Essay]

McNair, Amy. Longmen shiku gongyang ren: Zhonggu zhongguo fojiao zaoxiang zhong de xinyang, zhengzhi, yu zizhu de guanxi 龍門石窟供養人:中古中國佛教造像中的信仰、政治與資助. Translated by Chen Chaoyang, Zhao Yi, and Zhu Pinyan. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2020. [Translation]


MA University of Kansas
BSS University of Hong Kong

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