Wen-Shing Chou

Professor Wen-Shing Chou

Research Interests

  • Buddhist art and architecture in China, Mongolia, Tibet, and the Himalayas
  • Religion, empiricism, and cross-cultural imagination in the early modern world
  • Histories of collecting, connoisseurship, and exhibition of Asian art
  • Script and writing in East Asia
  • Historical approaches to materiality and ecology
  • Buddhism in modern and contemporary art


  • B.A., University of Chicago
  • M.A. and Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Wen-Shing Chou specializes in art of China and Inner Asia. Her 2018 book Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain (Princeton University Press) won Honorable Mention for the Joseph Levenson Prize (China Pre-1900) from the Association for Asian Studies. She is currently co-curating and co-editing "C.C. Wang: Lines of Abstraction" (Hirmer Verlag, 2023) on the artistic experimentations of the preeminent connoisseur and collector of Chinese art in the twentieth century. Chou's third book project, “Shaping Time: Art of Rebirth in China and Inner Asia,” explores the visual and material culture of reincarnation within the Gelukpa sphere of influence from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. Chou’s research has been supported by the Mellon fellowship and membership of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Ittleson Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, Kyoto. Her articles have appeared in The Art Bulletin, the Journal of Asian Studies, the Journal of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, and the Archives of Asian Art.

Recent Lectures and Interviews Available Online

  • “Art of Pilgrimage to Mount Wutai” Dunhuang Foundation China Webinar Series on “Art, Environment, and Materiality along the Silk Roads” Watch the video
  • “Ink Affinities: A Conversation Between Arnold Chang, Michael Cherney,  and Wen-shing Chou” Fu Qiumeng Fine Arts Gallery, New York. Watch the video
  • “Reimagining Tibet's India: Gift Exchange at the Qing Court” lecture at Tibetan Buddhist Art and Visual Culture" Watch the video
  • “Teaching Buddhist Art Using Museum and Gallery Collections” The Circled Square: Buddhist Studies in Higher Education Listen to the interview
Wenshing Chou Bookcover
Faith and Empire book cover
Water Moon Reflections bookcover