Faculty Profile

Katharine P. Burnett

Associate Professor of Art History
Graduate Advisor
Chinese Art & Culture

Director, East Asian Studies Program
Faculty Director, Global Tea Initiative

Ph.D., University of Michigan
M.A., University of Michigan
B.A., Wellesley College




Katharine Burnett conducts wide-ranging research on China from 1550-present, exploring historical art theory and criticism, art and politics, art collecting and display, visual and material culture relating to the global tea trade.




Arts of Asia: this lecture course introduces major forms and trends in the arts and material culture of Asia from the Neolithic to the contemporary emphasizing the visual manifestation of secular and religious ideas and ideals

Chinese Art: this lecture course exams 3000 years of Chinese art and culture from Neolithic through Tang Dynasty through a study of ceremonial and secular objects manifesting folk beliefs and belief systems of ancestor worship, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. 

Chinese Painting: this lecture course consists of thematic and chronological examination of Chinese painting and culture from the Tang Dynasty through the early 20th century

Early Modern Chinese Painting: this lecture course traces topics in Chinese art history from the 13th to the 19th centuries

Art from China 1900 to the Present: this lecture course examines modern and contemporary Chinese art, exploring the historical context that shaped it, and the political situations that dictated many of its themes and forms




Transmission and Transformation in 17th-Century Painting from China

Collectors and Collecting

Tea and Its Impact on Visual and Material Culture

Paradigms of Passion, Paradigms of Idiosyncrasy: Art and the State in the Late Ming

Comparative Decadence between the Jiajing and Wanli Eras

Modernism Comes to China

Great Cities of China

Art in the Turbulent Years: Chinese Art from 1850-Present

The Formation of Chinese Culture: Collections of Chinese Art in Early 20th-Century America

China and the (Trans/Inter)national Art Exhibition




Dimensions of Originality: Essays on Seventeenth-Century Chinese Art Theory and Criticism (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2013)

Guest Editor, Special Issue: “Decadence (or Not) in the Ming Dynasty,” Ming Studies 71 (May 2015)

A New Look at a New Look: Painting and Theory of Seventeenth-Century China,” in Stephen Little, ed., 17th Century Chinese Paintings from the Tsao Family Collection (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2016), 130-67

“Decadence Disrupted: Arguing Against a Decadence Model in Late Ming Painting History,” in Katharine P. Burnett, Guest Editor, Special Issue, “Decadence (or Not) in the Ming Dynasty,” Ming Studies 71 (May 2015), 41-57

“Of Icons and Elvises: ‘Tibetan Spirit’ in Tsherin Sherpa’s New Art,” feature essay in Eti Bon-Muller and Martin Clist, eds., Tsherin Sherpa: Tibetan Spirit (Rossi & Rossi Gallery, London, Oct 2012) 4-15

“Tibetan Buddhist Art in a Globalized World of Illusion: The Contemporary Art of Ang Tsherin Sherpa,” “西藏藝術在跨國化清淨的世界: 安才仁的當代畫,”in Elizabeth Childs-Johnson and Ying-Ying Lai, Guest Eds., Special Issue: “Art and Politics in Today’s China and Taiwan,” Modern Chinese Studies[當代中國研究], vol. 18/2, 2011), 1-28

“Lin Fengmian’s Legacy during the Cultural Revolution: The Case of Two Rebellious Watercolors,” Proceedings from the International Lin Fengmian 110th Anniversary Symposium (China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China, 2010), 115-27

“Inventing a New ‘Old Tradition’: Chinese Art at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition,” 《美術史與觀念史》 (Meishu shi yu guannian shi)/History of Art and History of Ideas, (Nanjing: Nanjing Shifan University, April 2010, vol. ix), 17-57

“Through Masters’ Eyes: Copying and Originality in Contemporary Chinese Landscape Painting,” Shanshui in Twentieth Century China (Shanghai: Shanghai Calligraphy and Painting Publishing House, 2006), 317-34

“Travel and Transformation: Wu Bin’s Enjoying Scenery along the Min River,” Oriental Art L/4 (Winter 2006), 2-15

“Words on Word-Images: An Aspect of Dong Qichang’s Calligraphy Criticism,” Word & Image 19/4 (Oct-Dec, 2003), 327-35

Presentation:  “Rice and Its History in Chinese Art” at the Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan: Artists, Aesthetics and the Natural World Symposium, Cal Performances, University of California, Berkeley, January 23, 2016

Facilitated: “To TPP or not to TPP? Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) & U.S. Relations with East Asia and the Pacific: A Roundtable Discussion with U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew J. Matthews and UC Davis Faculty” March 29; and Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Responses To Japanese Expansionism in the Early 20th Century, April 29, 2016

Facilitated: inaugural colloquium for the Study of Tea culture and Science, The Basics of Tea: Tea and People, UC Davis, May 12, 2016



External Links

Global Tea Initiative

Study of Tea Culture and Science

Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Responses To Japanese Expansionism in the Early 20th Century, East Asian Studies Program Colloquium, UC Davis, April 29, 2016

(530) 752-0285
Room 160, Everson Hall


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