What’s happening in Asian art

Diana Chou Joins PEM as Consulting Curator

April 15, 2022

Diana Chou has recently joined the Peabody Essex Museum as Consulting Curator.

Diana Y. Chou joined the Peabody Essex Museum earlier this year to serve as the Consulting Curator for Yin Yu Tang. In her role, she is spearheading the development of a new gallery for the 200-year-old house which was built in China and re-erected on PEM’s campus in 2003. Chou is also working with PEM education and civic engagement staff to develop a robust series of public programs related to the house.

Chou previously worked at the San Diego Museum of Art, where she reinstalled multiple galleries for Asian and Islamic Art and curated several special exhibitions on Japanese and Indian art. Chou also held curatorial roles at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum, the Dayton Art Institute, and National Museum of History in Taipei. She previously taught various subjects of Chinese and Asian Art History at the University of California, San Diego; Cleveland State University and John Carroll University.

Chou holds a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History from the University of Kansas. She was a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Institutes Fellowship (Hawaii and India), and was awarded a Museum Network Fellowship from National Museum of Korea and National Central Library, Seoul, South Korea. Her publications primarily focus on collecting tastes and reinterpretations of flowers and animals in East Asian Art. In recent years, Chou has expanded her research interests to include artistic exchanges and adaptations between regions and civilizations, such as the Silk Road, and the transmission of mythical creatures in Asian architecture and design.

Interior courtyard of Yin Yu Tang at PEM.

“Yin Yu Tang” is the name of a house built 200 years ago in the small village of Huang Cun in southeastern China in Anhui province. The owner, a prosperous merchant, was a member of the locally prominent Huang family. The five-bay, two-story residence with 16 bedrooms was typical of its region, built of timber-frame construction, with a tile roof and exterior masonry walls of sandstone and brick. Unused since the 1980s, the house was disassembled and moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where it was rebuilt and installed at PEM as a permanent installation, which opened in 2003. Available for visits, Yin Yu Tang is the only example of historic Chinese vernacular architecture in North America.

To read more about and take a virtual tour of Yin Yu Tang, click here