Associate Professor, Art History
On leave 2021-2022
Aurelia Campbell’s research centers on architecture and material culture from the Yuan (1279-1368), Ming (1368-1636), and Qing (1636-1912) periods in China. She is particularly interested in issues concerning materials and technologies, sacred objects and spaces, and the relationship between the imperial court and outlying regions.
Her first book, What the Emperor Built: Architecture and Empire in the Early Ming (University of Washington Press, 2020) examines the building projects of the famous Yongle emperor to consider how imperial ideology takes shape in built space. She looks closely at the various mechanisms—including skilled craftsmen, construction materials, and precious objects—that connected the capital to distant regions, arguing that architecture helped draw the emperor and his empire more closely together. By addressing how and why the buildings were constructed, the book expands our understanding of imperial Chinese architecture as a building typology.
Her second book, in progress, moves away from the imperial, monumental, and expansive and towards sites of much more intimate scale: individuals’ tombs. Focusing on the Ming dynasty, the book will consider burials from a large swath of society across a wide geographic region, from the perspectives of both architecture and material culture. She is also working on an article-length art historical, environmental, and economic history of Dali marble from Yunnan province during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
She has engaged in several projects that help to advance the field of Chinese architectural history. This includes composing annotated bibliographies for Oxford Bibliographies on the subjects of Late Imperial Chinese architecture, Ming and Qing palace architecture, and Buddhist architecture in China. Since 2017 she has also been involved in the compilation of an English dictionary of Chinese architectural history terms with scholars from China, Europe, and the United States.
Her research has been supported through grants and fellowships from the Millard Meiss Publication Fund, James Geiss Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, Association for Asian Studies, and Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies, among others. She has held visiting scholar positions at Peking University in Beijing and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.
What the Emperor Built: Architecture and Empire in the Early Ming. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020.
“Consecrating the Imperial City: Tibetan Stupas in Yuan Dadu,” Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 57, forthcoming 2022.
“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.
“Qutansi Monastery (Drotsang Dorje chang).” In Himalayan Art in 108 Objects. New York: Rubin Museum of Art, forthcoming 2022.
“The Forbidden City.” In World Architecture and Society. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO Press, forthcoming 2021.
“The Hall of Supreme Harmony as a Simulacrum of Ming Dynasty Construction.” In The Ming World, edited by Kenneth Swope. New York: Routledge Press, 2019, 221-240.
“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. London: The British Museum Press, 2016, 189-196.
“Palace Architecture in Premodern China (Ming-Qing Dynasties).” In Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. Ed. Tim Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
“Buddhist Architecture in China.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Ed. Kevin Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
“Architecture of China-Late (Ming-Qing Dynasties).” In Oxford Bibliographies in Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Ed. Kevin Murphy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2020.
Stephen Whiteman, Where Dragon Veins Meet: The Kangxi Emperor and his Estate at Rehe. In the Journal of Asian Studies, forthcoming 2021.
Wen-shing Chou, Mount Wutai: Visions of a Sacred Buddhist Mountain. In the Journal of Ming Studies 81 (2020): 91-94.
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 (2012): 564-565.