Suzanne Cahill, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor Emeriti

Suzanne Cahill received her BA from UC Berkeley in Chinese Art History in 1968, her MA from UCB in Chinese Literature (Tang Dynasty Poetry) in 1976, and her PhD in Chinese Literature (Tang Daoist scriptures) from UCB in 1982. Important interruptions include a year at Taiwan Normal University's Mandarin Training Center (1968-69), a year in Buddhist Studies at the University of Wisconsin (1969-70), a term in the Peace Corps, Afghanistan (1970-71), and two years at Beijing University (1980-82). She is a Tang dynasty (618-907) specialist, and has published books and articles on history, religion, literature, gender studies, and material culture.


  • Transcendence and Divine Passion: The Queen Mother of the West in Medieval China, Stanford, 1993
  • Divine Traces of the Daoist Sisterhood, Three Pines, 2006.
  • The Lloyd Cotsen Study Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, I Cotsen Occasional Press, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, 2009.
  • Warriors, Tombs, and Temples: China's Enduring Legacy, Santa Ana, Bowers Museum, 2011

Selected Articles

  • "The Real Judge Dee," Phi Theta Papers, 14, 1974, 1-119."The Heavenly Text Affair: Taoism at the Sung Court," Bulletin of Sung and Yuan Studies, 16, 1981, 23-44.
  • "Sex and the Supernatural in Medieval China: Cantos on the Transcendent Who Presides Over the River," Journal of the American Oriental Society, 105.2, 1985, 197-220.
  • "The Word Made Bronze: A Study of the Inscriptions on Medieval Chinese Bronze Mirrors," Archives of Asian Art, 39, 1986, 62-70.
  • "Night-Shining White: A T'ang Dynasty Horse in Two Media," T'ang Studies, 4, 1986, 91-94.
  • "Reflections, Disputes, and Warnings: Three Medieval Chinese Poems about the Eight Horses of King Mu," T'ang Studies, 5, 1987, 87-94.
  • "Practice Makes Perfect," Taoist Resources, 2.2, 1990, 23-42.
  • "Sublimation in Medieval China: The Case of the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens," Journal of Chinese Religions, 20, 91-102.
  • "Marriages Made in Heaven," T'ang Studies, 10-11, 1992-1993, 11-22.
  • "Po Ya Plays the Zither: Two Types of Chinese Bronze Mirror in the Donald H. Graham Jr. Collection," in Bronze Mirrors from Ancient China: the Donald H. Graham Jr. Collection, Hong Kong, Orientations, 1994, 50-59.
  • "Images of Transcendence and Divine Communion: The Queen Mother of the West in Chinese Pictorial Art," in How Fortunate the Eyes that See: Festschrift Dedicated to David Noel Freedman, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, 1995.
  • "Discipline and Change in the Lives of Taoist Holy Women of the T'ang Dynasty (in Japanese)," in Yamada Toshiaki, ed., Dokyo no rekishi to bunka (The History and Culture of Taoist Religion), Tokyo, Yuzan kaku, 1998, 229-256.
  • "Smell Good and Get a Job: How Daoist Women Saints were Verified and Legitimated during the Tang Dynasty," inShirley Mou, ed., Presence and Presentation: Women in the Chinese Literati Tradition, New York, St. Martin's, 1999, 171-186.
  • "'Our Women are Acting Like Foreigners' Wives!': Western Influences on Tang Dynasty Women's Fashion," in Valerie Steele and John Major, eds., China Chic: East Meets West, New Haven, Yale, 1999, 103-118.
  • "Pien Tung-hsuan: A Taoist Woman Saint of the T'ang Dynasty," in Arvind Sharma, ed., Women Saints in World Religions, Albany, SUNY, 2000, 205-220.
  • "The Goddess, The Emperor, and the Adept: The Queen Mother of the West as Bestower of Legitimacy and Immortality," in Elizabeth Bernard and Beverly Moon, eds., Goddesses Who Rule, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000, 196-214.
  • "Biography of the Daoist Saint, Wang Fengxian by Du Guangting (850-933)," in Susan Mann and Yu-yin Cheng eds., Under Confucian Eyes: Writings on Gender in Chinese History, Berkeley, University of California Press, 2001, 16-28.
  • "Material Culture and the Dao: Textiles, Boats, and Zithers in the Poetry of Yu Xuanji (844-868)," in Livia Kohn and Hal Roth, eds., Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual, Honolulu, University of Hawaii, 2002, 102-126.
  • "Resenting the Silk Robes that Hide their Poems: Female Voices in the Poems of Tang Dynasty Daoist Nuns," inZheng Xiaotong, Gao Shilun, and Rong Xinjiang, eds., Tang Song nuxing yu shehui (Women and Society During the Tang and Song Dynasties), Shanghai, Zishu publishers, 2003, volume 2, 519-566.
  • "Discipline and Transformation: Body and Practice in the Lives of Daoist Holy Women of Tang China," in Dorothy Ko, JaHyun Kim Haboush, and Joan R. Piggott, Women and Confucian Cultures in Premodern China, Korea, and Japan,Berkeley, University of California, 2003, 251-278.
  • "The Moon Stopping in the Void: Daoism and the Literati Ideal in Mirrors of the Tang Dynasty (618-907)," Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, (Claudia Brown, ed., special volume on First International Conference on Chinese Mirrors), 2007.
  • "A Comparison of Designs on Bronze Mirrors and Silk Textiles from the Warring States through the Tang Periods (450 BCE -- 907 CE)"in The Lloyd Cotsen Study Collection of Chinese Bronze Mirrors, II (Cotsen Occasional Press, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, 2011).
Suzanne Cahill's current long-term project is a study of material culture, specifically vehicles and clothing, during the Tang dynasty, starting with the monographs on vehicles and clothing in the two official Tang histories, and moving on to consider material remains and other texts.