Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America

Dorothy Wong

Professor and Director of the East Asia Center

Specializing in Buddhist art of medieval China, Dorothy Wong’s research addresses topics of art in relation to religion and society, and of the relationship between religious texts/doctrine and visual representations. In addition to many articles on a wide range of Buddhist art topics, she has published Chinese Steles: Pre-Buddhist and Buddhist Use of a Symbolic Form (2004; Chinese edition 2011), Hōryūji Reconsidered (editor and contributing author, 2008), China and Beyond in the Mediaeval Period: Cultural Crossings and Inter-regional Connections (co-editor with Gustav Heldt, and contributing author, 2014), and Buddhist Pilgrim-Monks as Agents of Cultural and Artistic Transmission: The International Buddhist Art Style in East Asia, ca. 645–770 (2018). 

As a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, she is working on a digital project entitled: "Power of Compassion: Paths of Transmission of Avalokitesvara" (


Dorothy Wong previously has taught at Florida State University from 1995 to 1997. As Visiting Professor, she has also taught at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Eötövs Loránd University, Budapest, and the Centre of Buddhist Studies at the University of Hong Kong. A former editor of the Asian art magazine Orientations, she currently serves on the editorial board of Buddhist Art of China. She has received fellowships from the American Association of University Women, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Whiting Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Humanities Center. In 2016, she has been appointed a three-year term as a Foreign Research Fellow of the International Wutai Institute of Buddhism and East Asian Culture, China. Recently she also joined a team of scholars to work on the collaborative project, “The Silk Road and the Transmission of Chang’an Culture,” based at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China. Currently she serves as the Director of the East Asia Center at the University of Virginia.