The Center for East Asian Studies congratulates Art History's Zhenru Zhou for receiving the 2019-2020 Liu Cong Memorial Prize for the Best Essay on East Asian Art and Visual Culture, an award established by The Center for the Art of East Asia.  Her essay, “Escaping from Confinement: Hell Imagery in the Shōjuraigōji Rokudō-e,” derived from her study of the 12th-13th century paintings of the Six Realms of Buddhist cosmology preserved at the Shōjuraigō Temple in Japan and is thoroughly researched, well-argued, and based on visual analysis of complex imagery. 

The Liu Cong Memorial Prize recognizes excellent scholarship in East Asian art and visual culture by graduate students at the University of Chicago and encourages the developing of writing skills for publishable essays. The Center for the Art of East Asia established the prize in 2010-11 in memory of former graduate student and Ph.D. candidate in the Art History Department, Liu Cong (1979-2008), a promising young scholar much admired for her talent and vitality of mind and spirit who was struck down by brain cancer.

Zhenru Zhou is a PhD student studying East Asian art and architecture. Her interests include East Asian visual culture, medieval religious architecture, and cultural exchange along the Silk Road. Before coming to the University of Chicago, she received her MA in architecture respectively from Princeton University in 2016 and Tsinghua University in 2014 and her BA from Tsinghua in 2011. Her MA thesis focuses on representations of the Buddhist West Pure Land, entitled “Recarving the Dunhuang Grottoes: a study on the roles of architecture in the process of copying Buddhist Pure Land landscapes.” She also interned at Dunhuang Academy and Tsinghua Architecture Design Institute.

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