Assistant Professor

KIM Minku

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 completing his first monograph, Dolls and Idols: Statues in China before and after Buddhism.

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 Pinnacle Ornament of Flowers: Quatrefoils of Early China and Their Achaemenid Parallels,” Zhejiang University Journal of Art and Archaeology, Supplementum 2, Occult Arts, Art History, and Cultural Exchange in Early China: A Festschrift in Honor of Professor Li Ling on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday (2021): 185–246.
2. “Sites of Caṅkrama (jingxing 經行) in Faxian’s Record,” Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 2, no. 1 (2019): 153–171.
3. “Where the Blessed One Paced Mindfully: The Issue of Caṅkrama on Mathurā’s Earliest Freestanding Images of the Buddha,” Archives of Asian Art 69, no. 2 (2019): 181-216.
4. “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): 134-154.
5. “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): 7-38.
6. “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): 551-588.


Chapter in book

1. “The Xi’an Kharoṣṭhī Inscription: A New Translation,” in Anke M. Hein, Rowan K. Flad, and Bryan K. Miller eds. The Art and Archaeology of Ritual and Economy in East Asia: Festschrift in Honor of Lothar von Falkenhausen (Los Angeles: UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, 2023), 297–312.
2. “The Archaeology of Early Chinese Buddhism: Rethinking ‘Han Buddhism and the Western Region’,” in Jonathan A. Silk and †Stefano Zacchetti eds., Chinese Buddhism in Light of the Legacy of Scholarship of Erik Zürcher (Leiden: Brill, 2022), 23–93.
3. “Early Paintings of Korea: Murals and Craft Decorations” in J.P. Park, Burglind Jungmann, and Juhyung Rhi eds., A Companion to Korean Art (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2020): 29–56.
4. “Sites of Caṅkrama (jingxing 經行) in Faxian’s Record,” in Chen Jinhua 陳金華 and Kuanguang 寬廣 eds., From Xiangyuan to Ceylon: The Life and Legacy of the Chinese Buddhist Monk Faxian (Singapore: World Scholastic, 2020): 425–443; trans. by Ji Yin 紀贇, “Faxian jilu zhong de jingxing” 法顯記錄中的經行, in Miaojiang 妙江 ed., Xiantangshan yu Faxian wenhua: Hanseng Faxian qi shengping yu yichan guoji yantaohui lunwenji 僊堂山與法顯文化: 漢僧法顯(337–422)其生平與遺產國際研討會論文集 (Singapore: World Scholastic, 2019): 402–422.
5. “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: 296-302.
6. “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 the Chosŏn Period: History and Ideas] (Seoul: Hakkojae 學古齋, 2009): 12–39.



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


  1. “Kuṣāṇa-Derived Anthropomorphs in China: Chronology, Geography, and Typology,” a symposium presented in conjunction with the exhibition Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India, 200 BCE–400 CE, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, September 29–30, 2023 (forthcoming).
  2.  “The Frustrating Frustums: Cases of Broken Money Trees Excavated from Fengdu 酆都”, Forging the Image of the Divine in Byzantine Christianity and Chinese Buddhism, organized by Lioba Theis and Lukas Nickel, Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien, June 10, 2022 (online).
  3.  “Chengren 成任 Buddhas may well be Post-Han: Stylistic Contemplations,” Workshops on the Earliest Chinese Buddhist Statuary, organized by LI Min and Lothar von Falkenhausen, UCLA Center for Chinese Studies, February 25, 2022 (online).
  4. “The Lore of A Floated Stone Image of Buddha Vipaśyin in Southern Dynasties China and A Curious Analogue in Shaoxing 紹興 Museum,” A Forest of Knowledge about the Texts and Images regarding Buddhist Saints, Sages, Translators, and Encyclopedists: A Conference in Honour of Dr. Koichi Shinohara’s 80th Birthday, Yale University (online), October 15, 2021.
  5. “Cultural History of Statues in Early and Medieval China: The Case of Piece-mold Cast Buddhas,” The Early Buddhist Art of Northeast Asia: Production Techniques of Metal and Clay Statues, 4th to 7th Centuries, organized by Ariane Perrin, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (Italy), October 15, 2021. (online)
  6. “The Xi’an Kharoṣṭhī Inscription: A New Translation,” The Art and Archaeology of Ritual and Economy in East Asia: Workshop in Honor of Lothar von Falkenhausen, June 5, 2019, UCLA.
  7. “The Date of Kongwangshan Reconsidered,” 7th Worldwide Conference of the Society for East Asian Archaeology (SEAA), Nanjing University, June 10, 2018.
  8. “The Slashed Effigy of Ding Lan: Iconophobia and Image Anxiety in Eastern Han China,” Text, Artifact and Context: A Workshop on Cultural Practices in Early China, Hong Kong Baptist University, December 13, 2017.
  9. “The Buried Rotunda of Sŏkkuram: The Silla-Korean Buddhist Sanctuary and Its Iranian Cognates,” 2nd Conference of the European Association for Asian Art and Archaeology, Universität Zürich, August 25, 2017.
  10. “Flowers of Decoration: The Case of Quatrefoils in Ancient Iran and China,” Occult Arts, Art History, and Cultural Exchange in Early China, Zhejiang University, June 12, 2017.
  11. “Images of the Buddha ‘Walking’ (jingxing 經行) in the Record of Faxian 法顯,” From Xiangyuan 襄垣 to Ceylon: The Life and Legacy of the Chinese Buddhist Monk Faxian (337-422), co-organized by The University of British Columbia Buddhist Studies Forum and The Mount Wutai 五臺 International Institute for Buddhism and East Asian Cultures, held in Changzhi 長治 (Shanxi), March 27, 2017.
  12. “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.
  13. “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.
  14. “Zhi Dun 支遁 (314-366) and the ‘Man of the Way’ of Korea,” Maitreyan Culture: Zhi Dun and Buddhism under the Wei 魏 and Jin 晉 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.
  15. “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.
  16. “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.
  17. “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.
  18. “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.
  19. “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.
  20. “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.
  21. “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.
  22. “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.
  23. “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.
  24. “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.
  25. “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.
  26. “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. “The Date of Kongwangshan Reconsidered,” Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University, November 2, 2022 (online).
2.“Seven Mountain Monasteries (sansa 山寺) of South Korea: A Virtual Journey into UNESCO World Heritage Sites,” Tsz Shan 慈山 Monastery Buddhist Art Museum, Tai Po (New Territories), Hong Kong, July 17, 2021.
3. “Ming Yongle Emperor’s Patronage of Buddhist Art and Silk Road” (delivered in Korean, Myŏng Yŏngnak Che ŭi pulgyo misul huwŏn kwa shilk’ŭ rodŭ 明 永樂帝의 佛教 美術 後援과 실크로드), Faculty of Distribution and Trade, Woosuk 又石 University, Wanju 完州 (South Korea), February 26, 2021 (via Zoom).
4. Ming 明 (1368-1644) Yongle 永樂 Emperor (1403-24) and Buddhist Art,” Christie’s Hong Kong, May 5 and 12, 2020.
5. “Sanctuaries of Korea: Buddhist Monasteries in the Mountains,” Bonhams Hong Kong, December 10, 2019.
6. “Arts of Koryŏ and Chosŏn Korea: Ceramics and Buddhist Art,” Christie’s Hong Kong, October 24, 2019.
7. “Early Buddhist Inscriptions in China: An Introduction with Case Studies,” Department of History, Universidade de Macau, May 2, 2019.
8. “Six Dynasties Nanjing and the Korean Peninsula,” Mei’an Workshop (Gongzuofang 梅庵工作坊) Series, School of Art, Southeast University (Dongnan Daxue 東南大學), Nanjing (Jiangsu), June 11, 2018.
9. “Persianism and the Domes of Medieval East Asia,” organized by Asia Week Hong Kong, held at Liang Yi 兩依 Museum, Sheung Wan (Hong Kong), May 29, 2018.
10. “Appreciation of Asian Art” (West Asia, India, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia), Education Bureau (EDB), The Government of Hong Kong, April 21 and 28, 2018.
11. “Appreciation: Art of Asian Countries” (Buddhist Art, Indian Art, Central Asian Art, and Dunhuang Art), Education Bureau (EDB), The Government of Hong Kong, April 22 and 29, 2017.
12. “Korea and China: A Brief History of Artistic Interactions,” UNESCO Seoul Office, March 29, 2017.
13. “A Brief History of Korean Art,” The Bei Shan Tang 北山堂 Foundation Museum Professionals Training Workshop, Art Museum of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, March 22, 2017.
14. “The Eastern Han Dome of Lei Cheng Uk 李鄭屋 and the Maritime Silk Road of South China Sea,” The Symposium on Ancient Silk Road Cultures, organized by the Hong Kong Silk Road Culture Association, Hong Kong Central Library, February 4, 2017
15. “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.
16. “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.
17. “Art History for Interdisciplinary KAIST,” Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Cultural Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, 26 December 2012.
18. “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.
19. “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.
20. “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.


1. Seoul Times (co-curated with Oh Inhwan 吳仁煥 of Seoul National University), Hui Gallery (New Asia College), May to June 2019.
2. The Inspiration that is India (印度靈感), Bei Shan Tang Foundation Summer Trip Exhibition 2016, Hui Gallery (New Asia College), October 2016.


1. “Cultural History of Statues in Early China” (2020-2023), General Research Fund (14619519), Hong Kong Research Grants Council.
2. “New Perspectives on Kharoṣṭhī Inscribed Artifacts Discovered in China Proper” (2019-2020), Direct Grant for Research (4051129), Faculty of Arts, CUHK.
3. “Sculpture for Worship: Buddhism and The Cult of Statues in Early Medieval China” (2015-2016), Direct Grant for Research (4051064), Faculty of Arts, CUHK.
4. “Sŏkkuram and Iran: The Domed Korean Buddhist Sanctuary with a Central Image for Circumambulation and Its Precedents in Kucha (Xinjiang)” (2013-2014), Korean Studies Grant, Academy of Korean Studies.


Faculty of Arts Outstanding Teaching Award (2020)