Assistant Professor, Art History
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Art History
Aurelia Campbell is an art historian of China, with a particular focus on the Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Her most recent research has centered on imperial architecture of the early Ming, when official buildings underwent a major structural shift. This is the subject of a number of her articles and book chapters, as well as her first book, What the Emperor Built: Architecture and Empire in the Early Ming (University of Washington Press, 2020). The book focuses on the far-flung construction projects of the famous Yongle emperor—including the Forbidden City in Beijing, a Daoist temple complex on Mount Wudang, and a Buddhist monastery at the Sino-Tibetan frontier—to consider how imperial ideology is given shape in built space. She is especially interested in the relationship between the imperial court and outlying regions and thus looks closely at the networks (craftsmen, materials, edicts, officials, precious objects, religious leaders) that connected them, ultimately arguing that architecture helped draw the emperor and his empire more closely together.
She is engaged in several ongoing research projects, including an examination of Tibetan Buddhist stupas and urban space in the capital city Dadu during the Mongol-ruled Yuan period; an art historical, environmental, and economic history of Dali marble from Yunnan province during the Ming and Qing dynasties; and a study of Ming dynasty tombs, about which we know very little in contrast to those of earlier periods.
Her research has been supported through grants and fellowships from the Millard Meiss Publication Fund, the James Geiss Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Asian Cultural Council, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, among others. She has spent over five years living in China (including in Beijing, Kunming, Ningbo, Shanghai, and Xining), and since 2018 she has been involved in the creation of an English dictionary of Chinese architectural history terms in collaboration with scholars from Vanderbilt University and Southeast University in Nanjing. During the 2016-2017 academic year she was a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.
What the Emperor Built: Architecture and Empire in the Early Ming. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020.
“The Hall of Supreme Harmony as a Simulacrum of Ming Dynasty Construction.” In The Ming World, edited by Kenneth Swope, 221-240. New York: Routledge Press, 2019.
“Architecture of the Early Ming Court: A Preliminary Look.” In Ming Courts and Contacts (1400-1450), edited by Craig Clunas, Jessica Harrison-Hall, and Yu-ping Luk, 189-196. London: The British Museum Press, 2016.
“A Fifteenth Century Sino-Tibetan Buddha Hall at the Lu Family Tusi.” Archives of Asian Art 65, no. 1 (2015): 87-115.
“The Form and Function of Western Han Dynasty Ticou Tombs.” Artibus Asiae 70, no. 2 (2010): 227-258.
“Architecture of China-Late (Ming-Qing Dynasties).” In Oxford Bibliographies in Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Ed. Kevin Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Wen-shing Chou, Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain. In the Journal of Ming Studies, in preparation.
Dorothy Wong, Buddhist Pilgrim Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, ca. 645-770. In Religion and the Arts, in preparation.
Jeehee Hong, Theater of the Dead: A Social Turn in Chinese Funerary Art, 1000-1400. In the Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no. 2 (2017): 210-212.
Craig Clunas, Empire of Great Brightness: Visual and Material Cultures of Ming China. In the Journal of Ming Studies 72 (2015): 70-79.
Wu Hung, The Art of the Yellow Springs: Understanding Chinese Tombs. In the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 71, no. 4 (December, 2012): 564-565.