Academic Writing

Academic writing during my graduate career at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Completed between September 2017 and August 2020.

PDF’s Available upon request.

  • MA Thesis: Coffin Soul Portals of the Female Xunren in the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng, 2019-2020
    • There is a significant void in scholarship concerning the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng’s (Zeng Hou Yi), Leigudun M1, Suizhou, Hubei Province, dated to 433 BCE during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BCE) of Bronze Age China, specifically on the lacquer coffins of the female xunren. There is extensive research dedicated to its well-preserved ritual bronze vessels, lacquer wares, and musical instruments, but this tomb is not known for the lacquer designs of portals present on twelve of the twenty-one female companion’s coffins. In this paper, I argue the xunren coffin designs in tomb Leigudun M1 of Zeng Hou Yi are fundamental to uncovering the tomb’s social hierarchy and its function in the afterlife through the presence of portal designs. To begin, I consider archaeological data on the lacquer coffins of the xunren, such as placement and grave goods, and correlate this to lacquer design complexity and portal design on the women’s coffins. I identified parallels between Leigudun M1 and comparable tombs containing burials for the xunren in large quantities that indicate an organized afterlife based on social status. Lastly, I address cosmology and contemporary literature on the afterlife because it illustrates the tradition of hierarchy, movement, and value of souls in the afterlife. By carefully examining the lacquer coffin designs, this study sheds new light on the meaning and value of these coffin soul portals and their relationship to the women and Marquis Yi in the afterlife.
  • Inca Capacocha Sacrifice Burials: Male, Female, and Llama Miniature Figurines , 2020. 
  • The Spiritual Topography of the Tibetan Sand Mandala, 2019
    • Tibetan Buddhist mandalas have been the subject of intense study due to their beauty and complexity. However, despite their popularity, the Tibetan sand mandala is less studied, especially in western scholarship. This paper scrutinizes Tibetan sand mandalas within western scholarship and western performance as an art form and religious object. To illustrate this, an examination of the history of the mandala, the iconography, and symbolism, and then discuss Tibetan sand mandala rituals themselves in order to adequately address Tibetan sand mandala performances within a western context. In this paper, I argue that the sand mandalas complex intangible nature creates a unique adaptation to appeal to western audiences and keep its original religious intent. By examining sand mandalas of Tibet, this provides a needed context within Tibetan art scholarship for how to navigate Tibetan Buddhist ritual in a secular context abroad.
  • Enchanting Power of Women: Female Iconography of Sowei Masks of the Sande Society in Mende, Sierra Leone. 2019
    • The Sowei mask helmets from the women’s private “Sande” society in the Mende group of Sierra Leone, West Africa, are noted to be unique objects due to their emphasis on Female spiritual power. Representations of idealized female beauty in their culture like hairstyles (such as elaborate braids and plaits), facial features like a tall forehead, and skincare that keeps a gleaming sheen all aid in the emphasis of the dominant female magic in rituals. Sowei masks encapsulate these ideals using this as iconography and are all considered vital for the female energy in these masks and rituals. This paper analyzes the iconographic elements of the Sowei mask helmets and how it relates to the Mende peoples ideals and beliefs of the unique power position of the Sande Society women.
  • Ephemera, Stereotyping, and Simulacra in 19th century America and Japan. 2019
    • Cultural mimicry and diffusion especially in the case of the Japonismé craze of the 19th century has been a topic of major research as well as the direct connection between the relationships of Japan and North America. What is less studied is how this cultural diffusion between nations through affordable items like ephemera are causing a simulated cultural reality to both those in Japan and in North America unable to travel, reinforcing stereotypes via the consumerist drive of trade and the spread of misinformation during the industrial era. Looking at how types of ephemera depicted people of other cultures, not just through the lens of North American distributed ephemera, but with other types of woodblock print ephemera produced by the Japanese will shed light on each opposing constructed simulated stereotyped reality of the others culture. This paper examines select examples of stereotyped chromolithography and woodblock print ephemera in Japan and North America during the 19th century and the demonstrated connection to Jean Baudrillard’s postmodern concept of Simulacra. Ephemera and simulacra are particularly evident in North America with household chromolithography advertising of utilities such as soap and edibles distributed in the form of cultural “trading cards” from the middle 19th century to early 20th century. I argue that the concept of simulacra applies to the 19th century cultural exchange between Japan and North America and the depictions of how each culture viewed the other by use of types of ephemera. This removal of true accuracy via simulation between each culture due to monetary and societal restrictions, physical distance, time, and misinformation and increasing the prevalence of stereotypes as well as the popularity of ephemera with the rise of modernity.
  • Velázques’ Venus: Collecting the Mythological Nude in Early Modern Spain. 2018
    • Velázquez’s Toilet of Venus has been the topic of great discussion and debate since it remains the only discovered nude painting produced in seventeenth century Inquisition era Spain by a Spanish artist. Despite the frequent research on this topic, there has so far been separate scholarship on the influence of the art collecting habits of Spanish nobility and how their love for Italian works and disinterest in other local Spanish artists influenced how and why Velázquez produced this mythological female nude painting. To help bridge this gap in research I will be examining in this essay Velázquez’s two recorded trips to Italy, research of inventory records of the Seventh Marqués del Carpio, and artworks that Velázquez might have seen on his trips to Italy to acquire art for King Philip IV and artwork within Philip IV’s art collection. Together I argue that the Toilet of Venus would have been unachievable without its Italian origins due to the art climate of Spain which was centralized around the Spanish monarchy’s favoritism to French and Italian Old Master Painters. Velázquez accomplished what no other artist during the Golden Age of Spain was able to successfully do which was to produce a nude painting in Spain and survive the Inquisition, which makes the Toilet of Venus a powerful image.
  • Mock Exhibition Proposal : The Vault: Works from the Haggerty Collection. 2018
  • Exposed Bodies in Art and Performance: Redefine and Reshape what Naked and Nude Mean. 2018
  • How Mythology and Violence Influence the Origins of the Greek Female Nude. 2018
  • The Bayeux Embroidery Women. 2018
  • Hiram Powers and the Greek Slave: A Historiography. 2017
  • The Rise and Fall of the First Female Nudes in American Art: Hiram Powers and John Vanderlyn. 2017
  • Spatial and Cosmological Orientation of Soul Portals in Coffins and Tomb of Marquis Yi Of Zeng. 2017
    • This paper will analyze the orientation of the portal motif present in the design of the tomb structure and the coffins of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (Zeng Hóu Yi) in relation to the concept of the division of souls, Hun and Po, and spatial orientation.(1) During the Warring states period contemporary to Yi of Zeng, a belief in an afterlife or journey after death heavily influenced the evolution of funerary tomb design and objects chosen for the deceased. These choices in funerary rites and items both fueled the perilous journey to the northwestern area of the universe for the Hun soul and tempted the Po soul to stay in the tomb for eternal rest. I believe that there is a particular lack of scholarship on the Marquis Yi’s tomb spatial orientation importance in comparison to other tombs relative in the 5th century and shortly after, as cosmology and orientation continued to be an integral part of life and death to avoid misfortune. By analyzing parts of a ritual poem titled ‘Zhao Hun’ or ‘Summons of the Soul’ written by the poet Song Yu for a Chu king in the anthology ‘Chuchi’ or ‘Songs of the South’ and use it as a guide along with other ritual texts such as the Liji, I might be able to theorize the possible reasoning of spatial orientation of the tomb construction and specialized portal motif of the tomb for its soul occupants.(1) I will be using the term “portal” in relation to both the carved and painted portals within the tomb and on the coffins as I feel the term portal is a more appropriate grouping definition which then can be broken down into physical holes, painted windows and painted doors.