Shih-shan Susan Huang

Associate Professor of Art History
Ph.D. Yale University, Department of the History of Art
M.A. National Taiwan University, Graduate Institute of Art History
B.A. National Taiwan University, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature

Research Areas

Chinese art; Daoist and Buddhist visual culture; Chinese painting (especially Song and Yuan periods); visual cultures of Middle Period China; cross-cultural study; book and print culture; East and West

Shih-shan Susan Huang’s current research focuses on the 10th-to-14th-century Daoist and Buddhist visual culture in China. Prior to joining the Rice faculty, she taught at the University of Washington, Seattle, and was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Columbia University. Her dissertation, “The Triptych of Taoist Deities of Heaven, Earth, and Water and the Making of Visual Culture in the Southern Song China (1127-1279),” has been awarded the Blanshard Prize at Yale University. Her article publications appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as Artibus Asiae, Ars Orientalis, Journal of Daoist Studies, Palace Museum Research Quarterly, the Zhejiang University Journal of Art and Archaeology, and in various edited volumes published in U.S., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China.

Huang's first book, Picturing the True Form: Daoist Visual Culture in Traditional China, was published by the Harvard University Asia Center Publication (distributed by Harvard University Press) in 2012 (the paperback edition, 2015; Chinese translated edition, forthcoming by Henan University Press). This book has been granted the 2008-09 Junior Scholar Award and the 2010-2011 Publication Subsidies Award by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK), as well as the Milliard Meiss Publication Fund awarded by the College Art Association (CAA) and the Geiss Subvention Award (James P. Geiss Foundation) in Spring 2011.  Selected reviews of this book have been published in the Journal of Asian Studies (2013), Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (2013), Daoism: Religion, History and Society (2013), Journal of Chinese Religions (2013), Religious Studies Review (2014), Journal of Song-Yuan Studies (2014), and the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (forthcoming).

Huang's current book-length project, First Impressions: Chinese Religious Woodcuts and Cultural Transformation, is about Buddhist and Daoist woodcuts from the first "Golden Age" of Chinese printmaking, from 850 to 1450. During this period, China's neighbors—including not only the "conquest dynasties" established by the nomadic Khitan, Jurchen, and Tangut peoples in the north and northwest but also Japan and Korea—adopted Chinese-style printing. Together, these people participated in the production of religious prints, stimulating the spread and exchange of ideas and images and contributing to a shared sense of culture in East Asia. In contrast to studies of Chinese printing by historians of the book, Huang's project uses visual analysis of extensive materials drawn from archaeological finds, and makes comparisons to Korean and Japanese prints and paintings. It addresses issues of media and mediation, standardization, regional diversity, and religious and ritual functions. Huang's book project has received generous support from the Scholar Grant of the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (CCFK), the travel fellowship of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC), the teaching release fellowship of the Humanities Research Center at Rice, and the American Council of Learned Societies(ACLS) Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars.