Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellows

Yen-Yi Chan

2019 - 2020

Ph.D. University of Kansas, 2018

Yen-Yi Chan obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, specializing in Japanese Buddhist art in the Heian and Kamakura periods. Her research focuses on the roles of religious spaces and icons in the creation of ideas, social relations, and collective memory as well as identity. At the Sainsbury Institute, she will be revising her dissertation into a book manuscript, which investigates how the architecture of the Nan’endō (Southern Round Hall) at Kōfukuji and its Buddhist images served as a mnemonic technique to construct ancestral memory, familial history, and communal identity of the Northern Fujiwara clan from the ninth through twelfth centuries. Her another project examines the reconstruction of Kōfukuji in both the medieval (12th-13th centuries) and contemporary times. This project aims to show how individuals and groups imagined the past, revived tradition, and engaged with the heritage site through the utilization of visual spaces, religious images, and mass media. She is also interested in artistic exchanges between Japan and China as well as icon worship and production in the medieval time, in particular, Song-style (sōfū) sculptures and icons of “living Buddhas (shōjin butsu).” Yen-Yi also has worked at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan and Spencer Museum of Art.