Collaboration and Achievement: Wang Hui and His Artistic Exchange with Yun Shouping

Collaboration and Achievement: Wang Hui and His Artistic Exchange with Yun Shouping
This dissertation studies the artist Wang Hui 王翬 (1632-1717) from the perspective of his friendship with Yun Shouping 惲壽平 (1633-1690). Both artists are famous for their paintings in the early Qing dynasty. The work of Wang Hui has received considerable scholarly attention. This dissertation, however, will take a new approach to his work. A major aspect of the research is to examine the collaborative work by Wang Hui and Yun Shouping and the inscriptions written by both of them as primary sources, in an attempt to illuminate the artist’s theory and practice of art. Far from denying the artist’s talent, the emphasis on friendship enriches the exploration of the artist’s possible perception which reinforced his expression through art and situates the artist in his time and place. With elegant gatherings, travels, in-depth discussions, and collaborative art creations, this close friendship amplified Wang Hui’s talent by way of mutual inspiration, and provided the artist with confirmation of his own views, as well as a source of different yet constructive opinions that only a close friend could give. There have been many studies of artists as individual geniuses. In contrast, this study offers the exploration of a friendship between artists that led to new accomplishments. By viewing the artist and his artwork from the perspective of artists’ interactions, I intend to describe and explain early modern painting-related activities in terms of their fundamental connection with human relationships. I argue that painting, especially in its formats and social functions developed in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, played an essential role in the lives of artists in the early modern period. By emphasizing perceptual experience and creative process, I intend to underline the deep connection between art and life.


Xiao Sheng

Defended in

1 Jan 2021 – 31 Dec 2021

PhD defended at

Arizona State University




East Asia


Art and Culture