Quincy Ngan

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Photo of Quincy Ngan
Visiting Assistant Professor
208 ABW

Academic Areas

Research Interests

Art of pre-modern East Asia, Chinese painting, the materiality of colors and pigments, the representation of skin in Asian art, and race, gender, and sexuality in East Asia

Quincy received his doctorate in Art History from University of Chicago in 2016 and is currently revising his dissertation into a book. Titled The Cultural History of Azurite Blue and Malachite Green in Traditional China, his book explores the various ways that azurite and its connatural counterpart, malachite—two of the most expensive and versatile pigments—related to the wider world. It reconstructs the history of their production and circulation as well as the socially constructed meanings of colors in traditional China. His book also relates the worldview of these two pigments to the Chinese understanding of the rainbow and other blue pigments like indigo, cobalt, and lapis lazuli. A simplified version of a dissertation chapter has been published in National Palace Museum Monthly

Quincy’s second research project, focusing on representations of skin in East Asia, explores the changing notions of skin and skin color in the visual and material cultures of modern and contemporary China. He is also interested in the work of the contemporary Chinese artist Xiang Jing (b. 1968), with whom he has conducted an interview that appears in the artist’s forthcoming anthology. Currently, he is preparing a manuscript about the skin of Xiang’s fiberglass sculptures. Quincy’s class Materialization of Sexuality in Chinese Art and Beyond brings together his research and teaching by incorporating skin into the discourse of body and gender. 

Quincy also aims to bring the latest technology into the classroom. Utilizing screencasting and videostreaming technology, he teaches an online section of Asian Art and Culture. During his time at the University of Chicago, he participated in the Digital Scrolling Painting Project, an online teaching website, and the Tianlongshan Cave exhibition project, which uses 3D technology to reconstruct the original Buddhist site. 


“Skin and Dematerialization of the Body in Xiang Jing’s (b. 1968) Figure Sculptures,” Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 17.4 (2018), forthcoming.

“The Materiality of Mineral Blue in Two Birthday Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 53 (2018), forthcoming.

“The Soul Under the Skin – A Dialogue between Xiang Jing and Quincy Ngan,” in Xiang Jing: Works, Documents, and Annotations, edited by Xiang Jing (China Citic Press, 2017).

Secai tanwei – Tan Qiu Ying de shese jifa (To see big things in small – On the application of colors in Qiu Ying paintings),” National Palace Museum Monthly 379 (2014): 40-51.