Associate Professor, University of Maryland
Art History PhD, 2005
I joined the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Maryland in 2006, after earning my Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005. I am a historian of early medieval Japanese Art whose research examines issues of Japanese religiosity and its manifestations in visual/material culture. I am particularly interested in how humanity’s basic need to understand the unfathomable, intangible something, finds concrete expression through the material and visual realms of religion and art. My interest in Buddhist icons culminated in the book, Medicine Master Buddha: The Iconic Worship of Yakushi in Heian Japan (Leiden: Brill, 2012), which explores the primacy of icons in disseminating the devotional cult of the Medicine Buddha. The book analyzes surviving examples of Medicine Buddha statues from the Heian period (794-1185 CE), which I argue were symbolically and ritually linked to Saichō (766-822 CE), the founder of the Japanese Tendai Buddhist school.