Bonnie Cheng

  • Associate Professor of Art History and East Asian Studies


  • BA, Bryn Mawr College, 1991
  • MA, University of Chicago, 1996
  • PhD, University of Chicago, 2003


Bonnie Cheng is a joint appointment in the Department of Art and Department of East Asian Studies. She teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese art that span ancient to modern eras. Her topical classes include courses on imperial Chinese painting and ceramics, ukiyo-e, and modern Chinese Art. Thematic courses explore Monuments, Death and Dying in East Asia, and perspectives on Cultural Property. She has also taught a course for the FYSP entitled, Contested Sites: the Politics of Art and Space.

Her research explores innovative modes of production, materiality, artistic exchange, and the construction of political and social identities in early medieval Chinese funerary art. She focuses primarily on the intersection of competing media and motivations of the living and dead within the space of the tomb.

She has published several articles on sculpted tomb figurines, stone tomb furniture, painted murals, including an article in Archives of Asian Art (2007); an invited essay on circumventing imperial burial prescriptions in the tomb of Li Xian in Yishu yu kexue [Art and Science] (2007); an article theorizing artistic exchange in Ars Orientalis (2010); an invited chapter on mingqi for the Blackwell Companion to Asian Art (2011), an essay in Studies in Ancient Tomb Art (2011), among others.

She is completing a manuscript entitled, The Status of Authority: Tombs and Political Spaces of the Northern Dynasties, which explores tombs of rulers and military officials and considers the role of ethnicity and political expediency in the appropriation and adaptation of artistic traditions.

Her work has been supported by grants from the Fulbright-Hays DDRA, the Committee for Scholarly Communication with China, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. 

Spring 2023

Approaches to Chinese and Japanese Art — EAST 143
Approaches to Chinese and Japanese Art — ARTH 152
Politics and Protest? — EAST 222
Politics and Protest: Modern Chinese Art — ARTH 223
Capstone Project — EAST 500

Fall 2023

Contested Sites: The Politics of Public Art & Space — FYSP 122
Pleasure and Design in Confinement: Japanese Prints in and after Edo — ARTH 225
Pleasure and Design in Confinement: Japanese Prints in and after Edo — EAST 225
Cultural Property? Art, Heritage, OwnershipCultural Property? Art, Heritage, Ownership — ARTH 329
Cultural Property? Art, Heritage, Ownership — EAST 329
Capstone Project — EAST 500


Chloe Lai Receives Fulbright to Taiwan

June 8, 2022

An art history and East Asian studies double major with an education studies concentration, Lai is constantly striving to learn more about pedagogy and language acquisition.