Susan Huang

WEBSITE(S)| Department of Transnational Asian Studies Profile | Personal Website | Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. Yale University
M.A. National Taiwan University
B.A. National Taiwan University

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 Zhejiang 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 (2016).

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.

Selected Articles and Essays

"The Circulation of Hangzhou Buddhist Frontispieces in the Sinosphere and Beyond." In Nanxiu Qian, Richard Smith, and Bowei Zhang eds., Reexamining the Sinosphere: Cultural Transmission and Transformations in East Asia, 43-81. Amherst: Cambria Press, 2020.

“Meijie zhuanhuan yu mojian gouzao: Songdai Zhongguo Fahuajing diaoban feihua” 媒介转换与模件构造——宋代中国《法华经》雕版扉画. In Niu Kecheng 牛克诚et al. eds., Haiwai Zhongguo yishushi yanjiu 海外中国艺术史研究, vol. 1, 3-34. Changsha: Hunan meishu chubanshe, 2018.

"Illustrating the Efficacy of the Diamond Sutra in Vernacular Buddhism" (通俗佛教版畫所見的金剛經靈驗力). National Palace Museum Research Quarterly 《故宮學術季刊 》35.4 (2018): 35-120.

“Daoist Seals, Part 2: Classifying Different Types.” Journal of Daoist Studies 11 (2018): 46-81.

“Banhua yu huihua de hudong—cong Song Yuan fojiao banhua suojian zhi Song hua yuansu tanqi” 版畫與繪畫的互動--從宋元佛教版畫所見之宋畫元素談起 (Painting and Printing Connections: Elements of Song Painting in Song-Yuan Buddhist Woodcuts). In The Center for the Study of Art and Archaeology, Zhejiang University ed., Zhejiang daxue yishu yu kaogu yanjiu (teji 1): Songhua guoji xueshu huiyi lunwenji 《浙江大學藝術與考古研究(特輯一):宋畫國際學術會議論文集》 (Hangzhou: Zhejiang University Press, 2017): 1-75.

“Cong Daozang de 'tu' tan Songdai daojiao yishi de kongjianxing yu wuzhixing” 從《道藏》的「圖」談宋代道教儀式的空間性與物質性. In Deng Fei 鄧菲 ed., Tuxiang yu yishi: Zhongguo gudai zongjiao yu yishu de ronghe 圖像與儀式 :中國古代宗教與藝術的融合, 231-58. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 2017.

"Xixia fojing banhua zaitan" 西夏佛经版画再探, trans. Yang Binghua 杨冰华 , Sichou zhi lu yanjiu jikan 丝绸之路研究集刊 1 (2017; Xi'an: Shaanxi shifan daxue): 279-309.

"Daoist Seals, Part I: Activation and Fashioning." Journal of Daoist Studies 10 (2017): 70-101.

"Daojiao wuzhi wenhua chutan: cong Daozang suozang tuxiang tan Songdai daojiao yishi yongpin" 道教物質文化初探:從《道藏》所藏圖像談宋代道教儀式用品 (Daoist material culture: a study of ritual objects in Song Daoism based on the visual evidence in Daoist Canon). In Lai Chi Tim黎志添 ed., Daojiao tuxiang, kaogu yu yishi: Songdai daojiao de yanbian yu tese 道教圖像、考古與儀式——宋代道教的演變與特色 (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2016), 1-56.

"Tang Song shiqi fojiao banhua zhong suo jian de meijie zhuanhua yu zimo sheji" 唐宋时期佛教版画中所见的媒介转化与子模设计 . In Yishu shi zhong de Han Jin yu Tang Song zhi bian 艺术史中的汉晋与唐宋之变, edited by 颜娟英 and 石守谦 (Reprint of the 2014 edited volume; Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2016).

“Tuxiang yu lingying: Songdai fojiao he daojiao huihua yishu” 图像与灵应:宋代佛教和道教绘画艺术 (a Chinese translation of “Imagining Efficacy: The Common Ground between Buddhist and Daoist Pictorial Art in Song China” published in Orientations 2005). Translated by Yang Xinyue 杨新越. Meicheng zai jiu 美成在久 2 (2015): 63-69.

“Daoist Uses of Color in Visualization and Ritual Practices.” In Mary Dusenbury ed., Color in Ancient and Medieval East Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), 223-233.

“Daoist Visual Culture.” In John Lagerwey and Pierre Marsone eds., Modern Chinese Religion, Part One: Song-Liao-Jin-Yuan (960-1368) (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 929-1050.

"Reassessing Printed Buddhist Frontispieces from Xi Xia." Zhejiang University Journal of Art and Archaeology 1 (2014): 129-182.

"Xie zhenshan zhixing: cong 'Shanshuitu' 'Shanshui hua' tan Daojiao shanshuiguan zhi shijue xingsu" 寫真山之形:從「山水圖」、「山水畫」談道教山水觀之視覺型塑 (Shaping the True Mountains: 'Shanshui tu','Shanshui hua', and Visuality in Daoist Landscape), Gugong xueshu jikan 故宮學術季刊 (Palace Museum Research Quarterly) 31.4 (2014): 121-204.

"Tang Song shiqi fojiao banhua zhong suojian de meijie zhuanhua yu zimo sheji" 唐宋時期佛教版畫中所見的媒介轉化與子模設計 (Media transfer and modular design in Tang-Song Buddhist illustrated prints), in Shih Shou-chien 石守謙、Yan Chuan-ying 顏娟英 eds., Yishu shi zhong de Han Jin yu Tang Song zhi bian 藝術史中的漢晉與唐宋之變 (The Han-Jin and Tang-Song transitions in Chinese Art History). Taipei: Rock Publishing, 2014, pp. 385-434.

"Cong Daozang de 'tu' tan Songdai daojiao yishi de kongjianxing yu wuzhixing" 從《道藏》的「圖」談宋代道教儀式的空間性與物質性 (Spatiality and Materiality in Song Daoist Ritual: Visual Evidence in the Ming Daoist Canon), Yishushi yanjiu 藝術史研究 (Studies of Art History) 13 (Guanzhou, 2011): 45-74.

Media Transfer and Modular Construction: The Printing of Lotus Sutra Frontispieces in Song China,” Ars Orientalis 41 (2011): 135-163.

"Early Buddhist Illustrated Prints in Hangzhou." In Knowledge and Text Production in an Age of Print: China, 900-1400, ed. Lucille Chia and Hilde de Weerdt (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 135-165.

"Daoist Imagery of Body and Cosmos, Part II: Body Worms and Inner Alchemical Body,Journal of Daoist Studies 4 (2011): 33-64.

Daoist Imagery of Body and Cosmos, Part I: Body Gods and Starry Travel,Journal of Daoist Studies 3 (2010): 57-90.

Tianzhu lingqian: Divination Prints from a Buddhist Temple in Song Hangzhou,” Artibus Asiae vol. 67, no. 2 (2007): 243-296.

"Imagining Efficacy: The Common Ground between Buddhist and Daoist Pictorial Art in Song China,"Orientations, vol. 36, no. 3 (April 2005):63-69.

“Summoning the Gods: Paintings of Three Officials of Heaven, Earth and Water and Their Association with Daoist Ritual Performance in the Southern Song Period (1127-1279),” Artibus Asiae vol. 61, no. 1 (2001): 5-52.

Selected Awards and Honors

2018-19 - Spatial Humanities Fellowship, Humanities Research Center, Rice University

2016 - American Council of Learned Societies ACLS Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars (2017-18 residential fellow at the Huntington Library)

2015 - Invited Visiting Scholar, Academia Sinica, Institute of History and Philology, Taipei

2014 - Scholar Grant, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK)

2014 - Travel fellowship, Asian Cultural Council (ACC)

2014 –Teaching release fellowship, Humanities Research Center, Rice University

2011 - Millard Meiss Publication Fund, College Art Association (CAA)

2011 - Publication Subsidies, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK)

2011 - Geiss Subvention Awards, James P. Geiss Foundation (JPGF)

2008-2009 - Junior Scholar Award, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK)

2002-2004 - Mellon Post-doctoral Fellowship, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University (Declined 2003-2004)

2002 - Blanshard Prize, awarded for the outstanding dissertation submitted to the Department of the History of Art, Yale University

1999-2002 - Prize Fellowship Award, nominated by the Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University

2000-2001 - China Times Young Scholar Award, China Times, Taipei

1999-2000 - Dissertation Fellowship, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange (CCK)

1998 - Fellowship of Sino-American Asian Foundation-Asian Cultural Council (ACC), New York and Taipei

1995-1998 - Governmental Fellowship for Overseas Studies of Art, Ministry of Education, Taiwan


Picturing the True Form: Daoist Visual Culture in Traditional China (Harvard University Asia Center Publication, May 2012; reprint of paperback edition, February 2015; Chinese translation edition contracted with Henan University Press, 2019).

Visual Cultures of Middle Period China. Co-edited with Patricia Ebrey. Brill: 2017