Department of Art and Art History People

Dr. Yun–Chiahn C. Sena

Assistant Professor

Art History: Asian Art


Yun–Chiahn C. Sena specializes in Chinese art and culture with a focus on the antiquarian movement and literati art and aestheticism after the tenth century. After receiving her Ph.D. in the Summer of 2007 from the University of Chicago, she joined the faculty of Art and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin. Her dissertation, Pursuing Antiquity: Chinese Antiquarianism from the Tenth to the Thirteen Century, examines the Chinese antiquarian movement with a new methodological approach which integrates data from art and literary works, archeological findings, and historical documents. Her recent study on Kao gu tu and Bo gu tu, the two most important illustrated antiquarian writings produced before the introduction of modern archaeology to China, will appear in Wu Hung, ed. Reinventing the Past: Archaism and Antiquarianism in Chinese Art and Visual Culture in 2008.

Sena is currently working on a project which examines images of ancient ruins in both visual and literary works from the tenth to the fourteenth century. Focusing on the theme of fangbei, visiting ancient stelae, she argues that, rather than directly depicting actual remains from the past, Chinese antiquarians created the images of ancient ruins by drawing upon historical imagination, personal memories, painting traditions, and their own cultural identity within Chinese society. She is also participating in an international research project on “Traces, Collections, Ruins: Towards a Comparative History of Antiquarianism,” sponsored by a grant from the Getty Foundation in 2008–10.

As a new faculty member specializing in Chinese art, Sena offers courses ranging from the general survey of Chinese art to her own research on Chinese antiquarianism and literati culture. In addition, she is interested in the uses of the past in contemporary Chinese art scenes and theoretical issues of collecting and antiquarianism beyond Chinese cultural context.