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KIM Minku

Assistant Professor

B.A. & M.A. (Seoul National); Ph.D. (UCLA)

Professor Kim is an art historian specializing China between the Han and Six Dynasties (206 BCE-589 CE), particularly in relation to Buddhism. His research aims to encompass the pan-Buddhist world in its entirety. As a result, he is profoundly intrigued by the relationships and interplays within and among cultures in Eurasia.

He publishes on a wide range of topics including archaeology, philology, and religious studies, and is currently working, among other projects, on a book-length monograph, titled, tentatively, Sculpture for Worship: Buddhism and The Cult of Statues in Early Medieval China.

Before joining the Department of Fine Arts, he was Assistant Professor of East Asian Art & Archaeology at the University of Minnesota (2012-2015) and an Andrew W. Mellon Scholar in the Humanities at Stanford University (2010-2012). He studied under Lothar von Falkenhausen and Gregory Schopen at UCLA for his doctorate (2011) and earned his M.A. (2005) and B.A. (2003) from the Department of Archaeology & Art History at Seoul National University.

Occasionally, he also reads Sanskrit, Gāndhārī, Tocharian, and Classical Tibetan in their original forms.



    1. “The Kuchean Connection: The Kharoṣṭhī-Inscribed Buddha from Xi’an 西安 and Its Stylistic Problems,” in Xinjiang Qiuci Yanjiuyuan 新疆龜茲研究院 ed., Qiuci Shiku baohu yu yanjiu guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji 龜茲石窟保護與研究國際學術研討會論文集, Beijing: Kexue 科學, 2015, pp. 296-302.
    2. “Claims of Buddhist Relics in the Eastern Han Tomb Murals at Horinger: Issues in the Historiography of the Introduction of Buddhism to China,” Ars Orientalis 44 (2014), pp. 134-154.
    3. “Puyŏ ǔi ŏlgul: Tongt’wan-Maoŏlshan ch’ult’o ǔi kǔmdong myŏn’gu wa kǔ oeyŏn 夫餘의 얼굴: 東團-帽兒山 出土의 金銅 面具와 그 外延” [The Puyŏ Faces: Gilt Bronze Masks from Mts. Dongtuanshan and Mao’ershan in Jilin and Their Connections], Misulsa nondan 美術史論壇 [Art History Forum] 38 (2014), pp. 7-38.
    4. “Min Chi wa Yujŏm-sa Osipsam-bul ǔi sŏngnip 閔漬와 楡岾寺 五十三佛의 成立” [Min Chi and the Fifty-Three Icons of Yujŏm-sa], Pulgyo hakpo 佛敎學報 [Journal of Korean Buddhist Research Institute] 55 (2010), pp. 551-588.

    Chapter in book

    1. “I Baek chŏn’gi-do ch’ŏp: I T’aebaek ŭi salm ŭl kŭrin paengmyohwa 李白傳記圖帖: 李太白의 삶을 그린 白描畵” [The Album of Li Bo’s Life in the National Museum of Korea: An Iconographic Assessment], in Ahn Hwi-Joon 安輝濬 and Min Kilhong 閔吉泓 eds., Yŏksa wa sasang I tamgin Chosŏn sidae inmulhwa 歷史와 思想이 담긴 朝鮮時代 人物畵 [Figure Paintings of Chosŏn: History and Ideas] (Sŏul [Seoul] 서울: Hakkojae 學古齋, 2009), pp. 12-39.


    1. Hyŏnjang pŏpsa 玄奘法師 (Sŏul [Seoul]: Minǔmsa 民音社, 2010) [annotated co-translation with Sin Soyŏn 申紹然 of Salley Hovey Wriggins, The Silk Road Journey with Xuanzang (Boulder, Co.: Westview, 2004)].

    1. “Architectonics of Sŏkkuram by Origin: Domed Elite Buildings of the Partho-Sassanid World and Central and East Asia,” at the Stories Told in Asia: Caves, Tombs and Tiles panel for the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Chicago, March 29, 2015.
    2. “The Iranian Regimen for Sacred Architecture: Domed Buddhist Cave Temples of Kucha and Korea,” at the Archaeologies of Interaction: The Iranian Plateau and Central and East Asia panel for the 114th annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, San Diego, CA, November 20, 2014.
    3. “Zhi Dun 支遁 (314-366) and the ‘Man of the Way’ of Korea,” Maitreyan Culture: Zhi Dun and Buddhism under the Wei and Jin Dynasties (220-420), jointly sponsored by the Mount Kuaiji 會稽 Academy, the Mount Kuaiji Buddhist Association, the Research Center for Religion and Culture at Nankai 南開 University (Tianjin), and Shaoxing 紹興 University, held at the Longhua 龍華 Monastery of Mt. Kuaiji, Shaoxing (Zhejiang), October 12, 2014.
    4. “Two Bronze Buddha Statues from a Late Eastern Han Tomb at Beisongcun 北宋村, Shijiazhuang (Hebei) and Their Connection to Chinese Central Asia” for an international conference co-organized by Miao Zhe 繆哲 and Lai Guolong 來國龍, New Archaeological Discoveries in Xinjiang of the Past Thirty Years (Xinjiang jin sanshinian kaogu xinfaxian 新疆近三十年考古新發現), Zhejiang University (Hangzhou), June 13, 2014.
    5. “Two Kharoṣṭhī Inscriptions from China: Gāndhārī-Speaking Communities and the Agent of Early Buddhist Art in China” at the Image, Ritual and Performance From Discovered Religious Art panel for the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Philadelphia, March 27, 2014.
    6. “Early Buddhist Image-Making in China: Recent Discoveries and New Interpretations,” read at the international conference organized by Jonathan A. Silk, Chinese Buddhism and the Scholarship of Erik Zürcher, Universiteit Leiden, The Netherlands, February 12, 2014.
    7. “Sŏkkuram 石窟庵 and Iran: The Domed Korean Buddhist Sanctuary with A Main Image for Circumambulation and Its Precedents in Kucha (Xinjiang),” for the 2nd Korean Art History Workshop titled Infinite Interfusion: Buddhist Art in Korea, organized by the Harvard Korea Institute and co-sponsored by the East Asian Art History Program and Harvard-Yenching Institute, Harvard University, December 13, 2013.
    8. “Cosmic Quatrefoils in Early China: The Impact of Pre-Sassanid Art and Its Legacy in East Asia,” at the Iran and East Asia panel for the 113th annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Baltimore, MD, November 23, 2013.
    9. “The Slashed Effigy of Ding Lan 丁蘭: The Cult of Images and Their Visual Representation in the Art of Eastern Han,” at the New Perspectives on Didactic Imagery in Chinese Funerary Art panel for the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, San Diego, March 22, 2013.
    10. “Cremation Traces Among Auspicious Omens? Issues on the Introduction of Buddhist Arts of Death to China,” for the Arts of Death in Asia panel at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Asian Studies, Toronto (Ontario), March 17, 2012.
    11. “The Kuchean Connection: The Kharoṣṭhī-Inscribed Buddha from Xi’an 西安 and Its Stylistic Problems,” International Conference on the Research and Conservation of the Kucha Caves, Kucha Academy of Xinjiang, August 9, 2011.
    12. “Return of the Elephants: Problems of Mistaken Buddhist Identities for the Art of Early Imperial China,” presented as part of the Silk Road Lecture Series, co-sponsored by Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures and Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Stanford University, March 3, 2011.
    13. “Bridging Kucha and Xiangguo 襄國: An Alleged Donative Inscription by Fotudeng 佛圖澄 and a Kharoṣṭhī-inscribed Buddha in the Chinese Guise,” Buddhist Cave Temples of the Kucha Kingdom, UCLA Program on Central Asia in collaboration with the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, November 20, 2009.
    14. “Lost Icons of Luoyang 洛陽 and Pre-Modern Epigraphy: Reassessing Buddhist Visual Culture in Third-Century China,” Recent Developments in the Study of Buddhist Art, UCLA Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, November 22, 2008.
    15. “Mortuary Figurines and Archaic Inscriptions: New Perspectives on Buddhist Visual Culture in Third-Century China,” The Second Heidelberg Colloquy on East Asian Art History, Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, July 2008.

    1. “Sŏkkuram in Eurasian Context,” Asian Studies Program & Department of History of Art, Vanderbilt University, April 2; Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong, April 23, 2015.
    2. “Early Buddhist Art in Korea: Buddhist Art of Three Kingdoms Korea” (for Fall 2013 Arts of Asia Lecture Series: The Arts and Culture of Korea & Early Japan), Society for Asian Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 30 August 2013.
    3. “Art History for Interdisciplinary KAIST,” Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Cultural Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, 26 December 2012.
    4. “Sculpture for Worship: The Buddhist Influx and the Cult of Images in Medieval China,” Georgia State University, Atlanta, 27 March 2012; State University of New York-Fashion Institute of Technology, Manhattan, 23 March 2012; Yale University, 19 March 2012; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, 16 February 2012.
    5. “Chungguk ŭi ch’ogi pulkyo myŏngmun: Kogohak kwa kŭmsŏkhak chŏk charyo 中國의 初期 佛敎 銘文: 考古學과 金石學的 資料” [Early Buddhist Inscriptions in China: Archaeological and Epigraphical Data], sponsored by the Department of Archaeology & Art History, Seoul National University (South Korea), 17 June 2011.
    6. “Buddhist Influx and the Beginning of the Cult of Images in China,” delivered at Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Arlington16 February 2010; Department of Art and Art History, Dickinson College, Carlisle (Pennsylvania), 25 February 2010.