Mirroring the Wu School: Ma Shouzhen's Orchid Painting

  • Author / Creator
    Yang, Li
  • Ma Shouzhen (1548-1604), one of the most acclaimed courtesans at the Qinhuai pleasure quarters in the late-Ming period, is well-known for her orchid paintings in Chinese art history. This thesis explores the courtesan-painter’s success in the courtesan world and in the male-dominated history of Chinese art, with its focus upon the artistic interactions between Ma Shouzhen and her lifelong lover Wang Zhideng (1535-1612), an exponent of the Wu School literati painting.
    This thesis argues that it was Wang Zhideng in particular who played a crucial role in constructing the courtesan’s image and position in history. Through Wang Zhideng’s interventions, Ma Shouzhen played an intermediary role in the dissemination of art theory advocated by the Wu School artists. The acceptance and popularity of Ma Shouzhen’s orchid works in the history of Chinese painting mirrors the prominent position of the Wu School in this field.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.