Faculty Profile

Mary H. Fong (1924–2015)
Professor Emerita
Chinese Art History

Ph.D., Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
M.A., Hunter Graduate School
B.A., St. John’s University

Appointed 1976, Department of Art and Art History
Emeritus 1994, Art History Program



Mary Fong’s primary research interest focused on the art of the human figure found in the murals of Tang dynasty (618-906) tombs. She pioneered and established the required curriculum and increased the department’s book and slide collections on Asian art history. Her courses covered Oriental painting, Buddhist sculpture, Chinese and Indian architecture, as well as Chinese ceramics and Japanese prints. They offered a fundamental knowledge of the full spectrum of Asian art from Neolithic to modern times.

Professor Emeritus Mary Fong passed away November 24, 2015, at the Health Care Center of the University Retirement Community in Davis, California. She was 91. 

Interview with Mary Fong for the UC Davis Emeriti Association Oral History project


Selected Publications

“Images of Women in Traditional Chinese Painting” in Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring-Summer, 1996), pp. 22-27

“‘Chuanshen’ in Pre-Tang Human Figure Painting as Evidenced in Archaeological Finds” in Oriental Art, N.S., Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 4-21

“Wu Daozi’s Legacy in the Popular Gods (Menshen) Qin SHubao and Yuchi Gong” in Archives of Asian Art, Vol. 42 (1989) pp. 6-24

“The Origin of Chinese Pictorial Representation of the Human Figure” in Artibus Asiae, Vol. 49, No. 1-2 (1988) pp. 5-38

“T’ang Line-Engraved Stone Reliefs from Shensi” in Ars Orientalis, Vol. 17 (1987) pp. 41-71

“Tang Tomb Murals Reviewed in the Light of Tang Texts on Painting” in Artibus Asiae, Vol. 45, No. 1 (1984) pp. 35-72

“Antecedents of Sui-Tang Burial Practices in Shaanxi” in Artibus Asiae, Vol. 51, No. 3-4, 1981), pp. 147-198

“Art Monuments in New China” in Apollo, Vol. 111, No. 220 (June 1980), pp. 432-439

“New Discoveries in Ch’in and Han Representational Art” in Archives of Asian Art, Vol. 32 (1979) pp. 27-38

The Technique of ‘Chiaroscuro’ in Chinese Painting from Han Through T’ang (Ascona, Switzerland: Artibus Asiae, 1976), pp. 91-127 (reprint from Artibus Asiaer, Vol. 38 No. 2/3)

Four Chinese Royal Tombs of the Early Eighth Century (Ascona, Switzerland: Artibus Asiae, 1973) pp. 307-334 (reprint from Artibus Asiae, Vol. 35, Pt. 4)

Book review: Views From Jade Terrace in Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 17 (Spring-Summer 1996) pp. 41-43

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