Jinchao Zhao

PhD Candidate


Jinchao Zhao is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in visuality, materiality, and transculturality in early medieval Chinese Buddhist art. Under the direction of Professor Dorothy C. Wong, her dissertation "Refiguring the Buddha Realm: Buddhist Stupa/Pagoda Imagery in Early Medieval China, ca. 400-600 CE" investigates the Chinese reception and appropriation of the Buddhist stupa worship in early medieval China by examining stupa and pagoda images. Prior to joining the doctoral program at UVA, she completed her MA in Comparative Literature and World Literature at Peking University, and her BA in Chinese Literature at Beijing Language and Culture University. Her BA thesis, "The Art of Repetition in Pedro Palamo" was published onThe UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal.

Her other research interests include Buddhist visual narratives and their interaction with textual traditions, Buddhist monk images, and early Indian art. She has published research articles in both English and Chinese. Her recent article "Reconfiguring the Buddha's Realm: Pictorial Programs on Fifth-century Chinese Miniature Pagodas" is under review for the edited volume Tradition, Transmission, and Transformation: Perspectives on East Asian Buddhist Art, published by Vernon Press. In 2019, another peer-reviewed article "Integration and Transformation: A Study of the Sun and the Moon Depicted in the Imagery of Fuxi and Nüwa" was published in Asian Studies. She also published two peer-reviewed articles on the narrativity of the Buddhist story Vessantara Jataka in Chinese. She engaged in public art writing. Her essay on Buddhist art at Yungang Cave-temples is forthcoming on Smarthistory. 

Jinchao has served as a teaching assistant for "History of Art," "History of Architecture," and "Indian Art" at the University of Virginia. In the upcoming spring of 2021, she will offer an undergraduate-level lecture "Arts of the Buddhist World: India to Japan." In the summer of 2019, Jinchao also served as both course instructor and program coordinator for UVA-in-Shanghai Internship Program

Her dissertation writing during the 2019-2020 academic year is generously supported by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies. Her research has also been supported by the Chiang Chiang-Kuo Foundation. She was a fellow at the Institute of the Humanities & Global Culture and the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation at the University of Virginia.