Clara Ma

PhD Candidate

Clara Ma is a Ph.D. candidate studying Buddhist art of Tang-Song China. Her research interests include border culture, sacred geographies, visual narratives, and identity construction. In her dissertation, she examines the making and reception of divine monk imagery in China from the ninth to the twelfth centuries. Prior to UVA, Clara received her B.A. magna cum laude from St. Lawrence University in 2013. After graduation, she worked as a curatorial intern in the Cleveland Museum of Art's Chinese Art Department. In 2015, Clara received her M.A. in History of Art and Archaeology with distinction from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.

Clara’s research has been funded by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, the T’ang Studies Society, Asian Cultural Council Individual Fellowship, and the Dumas Malone Graduate Research Fellowship. In 2021-22, she was the Barringer-Lindner Curatorial fellow at the Fralin Museum of Art and curated the exhibition, Earthly Exemplars: The Art of Buddhist Disciples and Teachers in Asia. Her recent research has been published on Smarthistory and Dynamics of Interregional Exchange in East Asian Buddhist Art, 5th–13th Century. She is currently the Sylvan C. Coleman and Pam Coleman Memorial Fund Fellow at the Asian art department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.