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Sarah E. Fraser, Prof. Dr.

Sarah E. Fraser, Prof. Dr.


Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens
Seminarstraße 4, R209a

(+49) (0) 6221/ 54 34 02
(+49) (0) 6221/ 54 33 8

Über Sarah E. Fraser

For more information please visit Prof. Fraser's profile page at the Institute of East Asian Art history.

Major professional interests:

Historical and theoretical investigations in the History of Asian Art with a concentration on Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan painting (sixth through twentieth centuries), pan-Asian Buddhist wall painting; cognition and the artist’s practice; national identity formation through archaeological and ethnographic projects in the Republican period (1912-1949); neo-colonial Chinese Photography.


The Ethnographic Eye: Art during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).  Collaborative Project analyzing the importance of race and ethnicity in the production of art during the war.
How Chinese Art Became Chinese: War, Archaeology, and the Refashioning of Sino-Modernity (1928-1945). Book manuscript in process.   
This book takes as its subject the collaboration between Chinese and Tibetan artists in China’s northwestern frontier in the 1940s. Wartime dynamics propelled Buddhist archaeology to the center of debates about the cultural past and the roots of Han culture. Artists copied motifs and styles associated with an imagined, primitive artistic past. This radical, aggressive cultural retreat distinguishes wartime Republican modern Chinese art from the rupture associated with an earlier Shanghai modernity.
Chinese as Subject: Genres in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Photography.
In this book I explore the question of how ‘Chinese’ unfolds a genre in photography in a semi-colonial environment of early treaty port photography by foreign visitors in the nineteenth century. In the second half of the book the focus shifts to how the tourist idiom of racial genres infiltrates professional, Chinese anthropological photography in the Chinese nationalist context.



1996–2012: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Department of Art History (1996–2012), Associate Professor (2002–2012). Assistant Professor (1996–2002), Tenured June 2002. Department Chair, 2003; 2004–2007.

2007: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany. Institut für Kunstgeschichte Ostasiens, Zentrum für Ostasienwissenschaften. Visiting Professor.

2000: École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris. Directrice d'Études, Sciences historiques et philologiques.

2000: Stanford University. Visiting Assistant Professor.

1995-1988: University of California. Berkeley, Lecturer; Graduate Student Instructor.

1994: University of California. Santa Cruz, Visiting Lecturer.

Ausgewählte Publikationen


Performing the Visual: The Practice of Buddhist Wall Painting in China and Central Asia, 618–960. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press; 2004.

Edited Books

Sarah E. Fraser, ed. 佛教物质文化: 寺院财产与世俗供养. [Buddhist material culture: temple wealth and secular patronage]. Conference Proceedings Merit, Opulence, and the Buddhist Network of Wealth, Peking University June 27–30, 2001. Shanghai: Shanghai Fine Arts Publishers, 2003 (in Chinese).

English Editor of Fan Jinshi ed. Dunhuang: A Centennial Commemoration of the Discovery of the Cave Library. Beijing: Morning Glory Press, 2000.

Tainan National University of the Arts, ed.荒漠傳奇璀璨再見敦煌藝術大展 [From the Forgotten Deserts: Great Exhibition of Dunhuang Art]. Tainan: Tainan National University of the Arts, 2005.


Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “旅行、視角、朝聖:廣義圖像語境下的《清明上河圖 [Travel, Perspective, and Pilgrimage: The Qingming shanghe tu in a Broader Pictorial Context].” 清明上河圖论 [New Perspectives on (the) “Qingming Festival”], 127–139. Ed. Palace Museum. Beijing: Forbidden City Publishing House, 2011.

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “从历史语言研究所藏向達手稿論其對敦煌學的影響 [Xiang Da‘s Impact on Buddhist and Silk Road Studies: Overview of Manuscripts in the Taipei Academia Sinica Library].” 敦煌文献, 考古, 艺术综合研究 [Comprehensive Research on Dunhuang Manuscripts, Archaeology, and Art, International Conference Commemorating Xiang Da], 43–59. Ed. Peking University, Institute of Early Chinese History.  Beijing: National Library of China, 2011 (in Chinese).

“Shabo Tshe ring, Zhang Daqian and Sino-Tibetan Cultural Exchange, 1941–43: Defining Research Methods for Amdo Regional Painting Workshops in the Medieval and Modern Periods.” In PIATS 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003, 115–136; plates 67–80. Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2011.

“Buddhist Archaeology in Republican China: A New Relationship to the Past.” Elsley Zeitlyn Lecture on Chinese Archaeology and Culture, London, October 28, 2008. In Proceedings of The British Academy, no. 167 (2011): 155–198. London; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

“Chinese as Subject: Photographic Genres in the Nineteenth Century.” Chap. in Brush and Shutter, Late Qing Dynasty Photograph, 90–109. Frances Terpak and Jeff Cody, eds. Los Angeles: Getty Publications; Hong Kong University Press, 2011.

以華人為題材:十九世紀攝影體裁 [Chinese as Subject: Photographic Genres in the Nineteenth Century]. Chap. in Chinese version of Brush and Shutter, Late Qing Dynasty Photography. 91–109. Eds. Frances Terpak and Jeff Cody. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012.

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “禪會與南宋的視像:梁楷的《八高僧圖》 [The Chan Encounter and Song Dynasty Optics: Liang Kai‘s Eight Eminent Monks].” In 千年丹青細讀中日藏唐宋元繪畫珍品 [Masterpieces of Ancient Chinese Paintings from the Tang-Yuan Dynasties in Japanese and Chinese Collections],” 209–218. Shanghai Museum, ed. Beijing: Peking University Press, 2010.

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “尋找敦煌藝術的中古源泉:從張大千與熱貢藝術家的合作來審視藝術的傳承 [Searching for the Artistic Roots of Medieval Dunhuang: A Perspective on the Collaboration of Zhang Daqian and the Rebgong Painters as an Example of Cultural Transmission].”《史物論壇》 [Forum on Historical Objects], Taiwan National History Museum Journal, no. 10 (June 2010): 37–54.

“Photography’s Role in Shaping China’s Image, 1860–1920.” Getty Research Journal, no. 2 (2010): 39–52.

“Antiquarianism or Primitivism?: The Edge of History in the Modern Chinese Imagination.” In Reinventing the Past: Antiquarianism in East Asian Art and Visual Culture, 342–367. Ed. Wu Hung. London; Chicago: Serindia, 2010.

“種攝影:十九世紀殖民地影像再生對二十世紀中國民族誌「自我」的遺贈 [Ethnographic Photography: the Afterlife of Nineteenth Century Colonial Photography in Twentieth Century Chinese Modern Identity].” 《上海•摄影•城市》 [Shanghai, Photography, The City]. 《眼.光––摄影文化论丛》 [Bright Vision: Collected Essays on Photographic Culture], no. 2, ed. Li Lu, Winter 2010: 1–20 (in Chinese).

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “夏吾才让、张大千和汉藏文化交流,1941–1943:界定中古和现代安多地区画坊生产的研究方法 [Shaowo Tsering, Zhang Daqian and Sino-Tibetan Cultural Exchange, 1940–1943: Researching the Boundaries of Ancient China and the Artistic Production of Amdo].” 汉臧佛教美术研究 [Studies on Sino-Tibetan Buddhist Art], 485–498. Eds. Xie Jisheng, et al. Shanghai: Guji Publishers, 2009.

“The Politics of Archaeology” and “Western Archaeological Explorers in China.” In Encyclopedia of Modern China, vol. 1: 40–41; 54–57, Editor-in-Chief, David Pong. Detroit; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, Gale, 2009.

“Li Chen: Contemporary Taiwan Buddhist Sculpture.” Catalogue. New York: Motif Art Consulting, 2010, 1–20.

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). “夏吾才让,张大千和汉臧文化交流 [Xiawu Cairang, Zhang Daqian and Sino-Tibetan Cultural Exchange.”中国典籍与文化 [Chinese Classical Texts and Culture], Lecture Series, no. 3: 87–99. Ed. National Library of China, Rare Books Division. Beijing: National Library, 2008.

“Approaching the Boundaries of a National Landscape: Picturing the Frontier 1927–1948 (Photography as the new Landscape in 20th c. Chinese art).” In Studies on 20th Century Shanshuihua, 371–86.  Lu Fusheng, ed.  Conference Proceedings, 20th c. Chinese Landscape Painting. June 9–11, 2006. Shanghai: Shanghai Fine Arts Publisher, 2006.

“An Introduction to the Material Culture of Dunhuang Buddhism: Putting the Object in Its Place.” Special Issue on Buddhist Material Culture, Asia Major, 2005: 1–14.

“Chinese Artist’s Materials in the British Museum and Library.” In Aurel Stein and the Silk Road, 266. S. Whitfield, ed. London: British Library Press, 2004.

“新高科技技術 [Technology for Archaeology].“ In Tangsong siyuan caifu he gongyang, 220–225. Sarah E. Fraser, ed. Shanghai: Shanghai Fine Arts Publishers, 2003.

“佛教藝術的經濟制度 [Economies of Buddhist Art].”In Tangsong siyuan caifu he gongyang, 189–206. Sarah E. Fraser, ed. Shanghai: Shanghai Fine Arts Publishers, 2003.

“Formulas of Creativity: Artist’s Sketches and Techniques of Copying at Dunhuang.” Artibus Asiae Vol. LIX, 3/4 (2000): 189–224.

"A Reconsideration of Archaeological Finds from the Turfan Region." Dunhuang Tulufan yanjiu, Peking University, vol. 4 (1999): 375–418.

“Manuals and Drawings of Artists, Calligraphers, and Other Specialists from Dunhuang.”  Chap. in Images de Dunhuang—Dessins et Peintures sur Papier des Fonds Pelliot et Stein, 55–95. J.-P. Drège, President, École Française d’Extrême-Orient, ed. Paris: École Française d’Extrême-Orient, 1999.

“Turfan Artists, 5th-9th centuries.” In The Third Silk Road Conference at Yale University. Conference Proceedings, July 10–12, 1998: II: 77–143.

Hu Suxin (= Sarah E. Fraser). "Dunhuang de fenben he bihua zhijian de guanxi [The Relationship between Draft Sketches and Wall Paintings at Dunhuang)].” In Tang yanjiu, no. 3 (December 1997) [Beijing, China]: 437–443.

"Regimes of Production, the Use of Pounces in Grotto Construction," Orientations, Special issue on Dunhuang Buddhist cave site, [Editor, Wu Hung, University of Chicago] (November 1996) vol. 27, no. 9: 60–69.

"Su Dongpo and his Circle," In Quwei yu jizhu, 'Mingqing huihua touxi guoji yantaohui' tulu [Discernment and Construct: "New Interpretations of Ming and Qing Paintings," Catalogue], J. Cahill, R. Vinograd, and Xue Yongnian, eds., (Shanghai: Shanghai Fine Art Publishers, 1994), 111–112.