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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 the 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.
This thesis examines the play Qian Dayin zhichong Xie Tianxiang, written by the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) playwright Guan Hanqing (c.1225-1302). The first chapter of this paper provides brief background information about northern style Yuan drama (zaju) as well as a plot summary and notes about the analysis and translation. Through a close reading of the play, I hope to illustrate how the play's complicated ending and lack of complete resolution reveals why it has received relatively little attention from scholars who have previously discussed other strong, intelligent female characters in Guan Hanqing's plays. The second chapter of this thesis includes translation of the play that is comprised of a wedge preceding the four acts. Before each act of the play is a critical introduction and analysis of the act to follow. Although many of Guan Hanqing's plays have been translated into English, this play has never been translated.