Dora C. Y. Ching

Deputy Director, Tang Center for East Asian Art
Office Phone
2N-3 Green Hall

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2011



Ph.D., Princeton University, 2011

Dora Ching has been associate director of the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University since 2002. She is a leading specialist in Chinese portraiture and the characteristics that distinguish this genre from its European and American counterparts. Before and during her time at the Tang Center she has been deeply engaged in book editing and publication, with more than a dozen books to her credit as coeditor or managing editor. She is the author of numerous published book chapters and articles and has co-curated three major museum exhibitions.

During her graduate years at Princeton, Ching served as research assistant at the National Palace Museum in Taipei and as an editor of the National Palace Museum Bulletin. She also worked at the Princeton University Art Museum on the exhibition The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection. She held the Jane and Morgan Whitney Art History Fellowship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, working on 19th- and 20th-century Chinese painting. The wide range of her research and study experience is reflected in the books she has worked on, from early Shang archaeology through family issues in Chinese art, calligraphy, and contemporary Chinese arts.

Current Research

Ching is currently expanding her dissertation, “Icons of Rulership: Imperial Portraiture During the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644),” into a definitive study of Chinese “portraiture,” with all the significant cultural differences in attitude and meaning that Chinese artists brought to this genre over two millennia. She taught this topic at Princeton in 2012. She is also deeply engaged with the Lo Archive of Dunhuang photographs taken in the Buddhist caves of northwestern China in 1943–44—a unique, aesthetically refined, and historically invaluable record of cave paintings and sculpture made over a thousand-year period from the 4th to the 14th century. This will result in a six-volume publication, together with a Princeton University Art Museum exhibition, an international symposium, and a symposium publication.

Selected Publications

“Shadows in Life and Death: Family Portraiture,” in The Family Model in Chinese Art and Culture, ed. Jerome Silbergeld and Dora C.Y. Ching (P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center, Princeton University, in association with Princeton University Press, 2013).

“The Ming Imperial Image: From Hongwu to Hongzhi,” in Bridges to Heaven: Essays on East Asian Art in Honor of Professor Wen C. Fong, ed. Jerome Silbergeld, Dora C.Y. Ching, Judith G. Smith, and Alfreda Murck (P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center, Princeton University, in association with Princeton University Press, 2011).

“Visual Images of Zhu Yuanzhang,” in Long Live the Emperor! Uses of the Ming Founder Across Six Centuries of East Asian History, ed. Sarah Schneewind (Ming Studies, 2008).

“Tibetan Buddhism and the Creation of the Ming Imperial Image,” in Culture, Courtiers, and Competition: The Ming Court (1368–1644), ed. David Robinson (Harvard University Asia Center, 2008).

“The Aesthetics of the Unusual and the Strange in Seventeenth-Century Calligraphy,” in The Embodied Image: Chinese Calligraphy from the John B. Elliott Collection (The Art Museum, Princeton University, 1999).