Skip to main content

Dr James Lin

Senior Curator Chinese Art

James C. S. Lin is responsible for the Asian art collection at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

James organises exhibitions, publishes academic research, teaches, gives lectures to the public and deals with public enquiries on our own collection. He obtained a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Chinese Art History at the University of Oxford and then worked as a research assistant in the Ashmolean Museum between 2000 and 2002. He was employed as a special assistant at the British Museum, helping to set up the Selwyn and Ellie Alleyne Gallery of Chinese Jade between June and November 2002. Afterwards he returned to Oxford as the first Christensen Fellow in Chinese Painting, at the Khoan and Michael Sullivan Chinese painting gallery at the Ashmolean Museum.

In September 2004, James was appointed as the Assistant Keeper of Applied Arts at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Soon after his arrival, James discovered some exquisite imperial jades in the Museum collection that had never been researched. In 2009 he organised an exhibition and published a jade catalogue based on the collection of the Museum.

In 2012, James organised the ground-breaking Chinese exhibition — The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China, which - at the time - was the largest and most important exhibition of ancient royal treasures ever to travel outside China.

In 2016, he was invited to be a guest curator at the National Museums Liverpool for a spectacular exhibition that opened in February 2018. China's First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors attracted more than one million visitors and showcased objects that had not been on display in the UK before. James is currently working on a five-year project on Chinese Export Art: The Thirteen Hongs Collection and supervising a MPhil student from the Department of History of Art and an undergraduate student from the Faculty of History.

‘Holy Grail and Honey Dew’, Visual, Material and Textual Cultures of Food and Drink in China, 200 BCE-1900 CE (ed. By Stacey Pierce), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2022, pp.90-110 

James Lin & Michel Lee, ‘Jade Collection from the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Sweden’, Arts of Asia 2020 (May-June), pp.65-75

James Lin book preview Early Chinese jades In the Harvard Art Museums, London: Burlington Magazine (162), March 2020, pp. 258-259.

‘Catering for Eternity’, Arts of Asia, 2018.6 (November-December), pp.59-65

“The return of the First Emperor and his Warriors”, Arts of Asia, 2018.4 (July-August), pp.44-53

China’s First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors (with Li, Xiuzhen), Liverpool: National Museums Liverpool 2018

‘In Praise of jade’, Apollo, 2016, pp. 72-77 

Preface to the English edition of A History of Chinese Art, vols. I & II, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2016

James C.S. Lin (ed.), Arts of Asia (July-August 2016); a special issue to celebrate the museum’s bicentenary.  

James C.S. Lin, ‘Foreward from the Curator’, ‘Asian Collectors and their Donors’ and ‘The Recent Exhibitions of Asian Art at the Fitzwilliam Museum’, in James C.S. Lin (ed.), Arts of Asia (July-August 2016), 21, 28-43 and 74-77. 

‘Buyer Beware! Art Market and Fakes in China’, blog post for China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham (posted 17 March 2016) 

Life and Afterlife in Han China, Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum 2014 

‘A New Discovery of a Painting by Xia Gui in the AshmoleanMuseum, Oxford”, A Life in Chinese Art—Essays in Honour of Michael Sullivan, Oxford: The Ashmolean Museum, 2012, pp.74-81 

The Search for Immortality—Tomb Treasure of Han China, Yale University Press 2012

‘A Han imperial burial—an obsession with attaining eternal life’, Australia: World of Antiques and Art, 2012 (February-August), pp.60-63

‘Holy Grail’, Minerva (May-June), 2012, pp.50-53

‘Treasure from the Underground Palace: Tomb Treasure of Han China’, Arts of Asia, 2012, vol.42 (no.3), pp.65-77

‘The Emperor’s New Clothes: Dressing for the Afterlife’, Arts of Asia, 2012, vol.42 (no.3), pp.78-85 

Introduction for Treasure of China catalogue, Colchester Castle Museum, 2012 

'Jade discs from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England', Spain: International Journal of Current Chinese Studies, 2010, pp.113-124

‘The Collection of Qing dynasty jades in the Fitzwilliam Museum’, Hong Kong: Arts of Asia, 2010.4, pp.110-122

The Immortal Stone – Chinese Jades from the Neolithic period to the Twentieth century, London: Scala, 2009

‘Armour for the Afterlife’ Jane Portal (ed). The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army, London: British Museum Press, 2007, pp. 180-191  

  • St John's College, Cambridge

Associated Departments

Researchers with similar profiles

Sign up to our emails

Be the first to hear about our news, exhibitions, events and moreā€¦

Sign up