The book offers nine studies designed to show advanced undergraduates and graduate students how to "look" at specific works of Asian art. Examples are drawn from several parts of Asia including China, Japan, and Tibet, ancient to modern, and include media ranging from ceramics and calligraphy to cinema.

Martin Powers is Sally Michelson Davidson Professor of Chinese Arts and Cultures at the University of Michigan, and former director of the Center for Chinese Studies.  In 1993 his Art and Political Expression in Early China, Yale University Press, received the Levenson Prize for the best book in pre-twentieth century Chinese studies.  His research focuses on the role of the arts in the history of human relations in China, with an emphasis on issues of personal agency and social justice. His Pattern and Person: Ornament, Society, and Self in Classical China, was published by Harvard University Press East Asian Series in 2006 and has been awarded the Levenson Prize for 2008. He has served on numerous national committees, including NEH, ACLS, and the advisory board of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. He has taught in the history departments at Tsinghua, Peking University, and Zhejiang University, and has published articles and essays in multiple venues in Chinese, including an editorial series in the journal of culture and current affairs, Du Shu. In 2009 he was resident at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton writing a book on the role of "China" in the cultural politics of the English Enlightenment. 

Katherine R.Tsiang Mino is associate director of the Center for the Art of East Asia in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago. She has a PhD from the University of Chicago in art history and does research in Buddhist art from the early medieval and medieval periods of Chinese history. She is interested in aspects of the relationships between images, texts, and Buddhist belief and practice. She is currently coordinating a center collaborative research and innovative digital imaging project on the reconstruction and recontextualization of the sixth century Buddhist cave temples of Xiangtangshan in Hebei, China.