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Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies

Photo of Dr Yue Zhuang

Dr Yue Zhuang

Senior Lecturer in Chinese, Art History and Visual Culture


01392 724274


Trained as an architect, Yue Zhuang studied for her first PhD in Chinese architectural history and theory at Tianjin University in China.  Her second PhD at the University of Edinburgh broadened her research interests to include the history and theory of 18th-century British landscape art.  She then spent two years as an EU Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow at the University of Zurich (‘Asia and Europe’ Programme) before joining the University of Exeter in 2013.

Yue specialises in the landscape art history of China and Britain as well as the cross-cultural contacts between China and Europe in the early modern period. From 2011–2013, she was a principal investigator for Matteo Ripa's "Views of Jehol", an Intra-European Fellowship funded by EU Marie Curie Actions. Through an international symposium held in the Rietberg Museum in Zurich in 2013 and a volume of collected essays Entangled Landscapes co-edited by Yue, the project concludes with ‘entangled landscapes’ as a new paradigm for research innovation. From 2014–2018, Yue further developed this new paradigm in her second project ‘Nature Entangled,’ also funded by EU Marie Curie Actions. A sub-theme of this project, with a focus on Sir William Temple and his reception of China, was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2016–2017). 

Her current projects include completing a monograph for Routledge: Imperial Arcadia: Architecture, Landscape and the Funereal Imagination in 18th century Britain, co-editing a collection of essays on the ideas of garden retreat and dwelling in a torn world for Bloomsbury, and co-convening a multidisciplinary symposium on Architectures of Alterity.  

She has been a member of the Peer Review College for the Art and Humanities Research Council from 2015 to 2022.  

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My main research interest is in the landscape art history of China and Britain in the early modern period, within the broad cultural context of philosophy, rituals, health and wellbeing, and social practices.  I am particularly interested in Chinese-European contacts in relation to landscape imagination in the early modern and how such contacts engaged the changing ideas in the discourses of philosophy, religion, economy and politics that constitute the process of modernity.  

Research Projects

Cultivating Happiness

I am Principal Investigator for the project 'Cultivating Happiness: Sir William Temple, Confucianism, and the English landscape garden' funded by the Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2016-2017). This project examines the seventeenth-century English reception of Confucianism and China through the lens of the essayist and statesman, Sir William Temple, focusing on his concept of happiness. Contextualising Sir William Temple’s writings across the fields of moral philosophy, literary criticism, political thought and sinology, this project reveals that at the fountainhead of the English landscape garden was a strand of early Enlightenment thought advocating a notion of happiness based on one’s tempered passions cultivated by the arts. Temple’s idea of the arts shaping moral-political sensibilities through sensual engagement with the environment demonstrated that late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English high culture was rooted not in a purely English soil, but in the intercultural processes between China and Europe.

Nature Entangled

I am Principal Investigator for an EU Marie-Curie research grant, ‘Entangled histories of nature in the landscape discourses between China and Europe in the 16th-18th centuries’ (2014-2018).

This project explores the history of conceptualising nature as shared between China and Europe in the landscape discourses during the early modern period, with a focus on the complexity of the often hidden interrelations between China, ‘the ancient’ and ‘the modern’ associated with the idea of ‘imitating nature’. Investigating the landscape discourses within the broad social and cultural contexts, the project aims to demonstrate how this shared historical legacy of landscape imitating nature between China and Europe has shaped and continues to shape our environment and our perceptions of man and nature relations.

Among my contributions to the project will be a monograph on the imagery of Chinese landscapes in the British imagination from 1685 to 1772, with a focus on how a multifaceted image of ‘oriental Arcadia’ was used by the British radical conservative elite to assert a Neo-Platonic utopian regime, counteracting the democratic-capitalist  development mobilized by the middle class.  The grant involves two PhD studentships and a series of workshop or symposia in conjunction with the Chinese Studies Seminar Series at the University of Exeter.

Entangled landscapes

I am the co-editor of a book entitled Entangled landscapes: early modern China and Europe, developed from an international symposium which I convened at the University of Zurich in 2013.The book initiates an innovative research diagram ‘entangled landscapes’, investigating how the exchange of landscape – imagery and knowledge – between early modern China and Europe was moulded by their complex interrelations at the different levels of economy, society, politics and morality and how the exchange contributed to the formation of their citizens' social and cultural identities.

Matteo Ripa’s ‘Views of Jehol’

Between 2011-2013, I was the leader of the Marie Curie research project ‘Matteo Ripa’s “Views of Jehol”: Entangled Histories of 18th Century European and Chinese Landscape Representations,’ funded by Marie Curie Actions, European Union hosted at the University Research Priority Programme ‘Asia and Europe,’ University of Zurich.

This project examines the dialogues between Matteo Ripa’s copperplate engravings of the ‘Views of Jehol’ and the original woodcuts of Qing Emperor Kangxi’s Yuzhi Bishu shanzhuang shi designed by Shen Yu, so as to reveal this visual art exchange taking place at the Qing court as an encounter of Kangxi’s imperial project within a syncretist framework of Neo-Confucianism and the Catholic Church’s expansion underpinned by Neo-platonic tenets. This project also scrutinizes the 18th-century British conservative elite’s receptions of the missionaries’ images and their descriptions of Qing imperial gardens. I argue that the English landscape movement appropriated Christian-interpreted ‘Chinese’ elements from their desire to build a Neo-Platonic imperial power.

The project highlights the complex connections between European and Chinese landscape gardens within their social, political and economic contexts. It thereby enriches the trans-cultural historiography of landscape gardens and helps to anchor the notion of an interlinked Eurasian art history.  

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I am happy to supervise students in the fields of landscape and cultural history of China and Britain as well as Chinese and European cultural exchange from the 17th century onwards. 

Research students

Current PhD students

Jia Liu, 'Western influences on the development of early-modern print culture in China – political satire in late Qing Period' (China Scholarship Council-funded, co-supervised with Dr Meredith Hale)

Yining Fu, "Architectural Heritage Conservation in China: Historical Development from 1840-1949" (working project title, China Scholarship Council-funded, supervised with Dr Sabrina Rahman)

Si Xiao, "Yuanmingyuan’s Treasure: Biographies of the Qianlong Emperor’s Manuscript" (China Scholarship Council-funded, supervised with Dr Sabrina Rahman)

Fangxu Sun, "The political discourse of Chinese visual parody art after the reform and opening-up" (Co-supervised with Dr Meredith Hale)

Qi Zhou, "Visual Culture of Chinese Ceramics for External Communication in 17th-18th Centuries" (Co-supervised with Prof Martin Pitts)

Completed PhDs

Yanping Wu, "Katherine Mansfield, Classical Chinese Literature and Thoughts" (China Scholarship Council-funded, co-supervised with Dr Beci Carver)

Yandi Wang, "Interdisciplinary Research Between Translation Studies and Contemporary Chinese Art: A Case Study of Writing on Zhang Xiaogang and His Art" (co-supervised with Dr Joao Florencio and Dr Wenqian Zhang)

Lin Zhu (University of Edinburgh), "The Poetics and Politics of Withdrawal in the Cultural Productions of Seventeenth-century China" (China Scholarship Council-funded, external supervisor)

Maria Anesti, "Eremitic Landscape Dwelling in Confucian China and Enlightenment Europe" (College of Humanities Studentship, supervised with Prof Melissa Percival and Prof Shaoxin Dong, Fudan University)

Aihua Zhou, "Chinese Face and Western Body: Uncovering Images of Masculinity in Xu Beihong’s Paintings" (Second supervisor. First supervisor: Prof Corinna Wagner)

Russell Sanchez, "The Sceptre and the Sextant: Imperialism and Scientism in the Travelogues of Johan Nieuhof, Lord George Macartney, and A.E. van Braam Houckgeest" (EU Marie Curie-funded, supervised with Prof Emma Cayley)  

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Copyright Notice: Any articles made available for download are for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the copyright holder.

| 2023 | 2022 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2009 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2000 |


  • Zhou Y, Zhuang Y, Zhang F. (2023) Western Sinologist Perceptions and Discourses on Chinese Tombs and Funeral Concepts Prior to the Mid-19th Century 19 世纪中叶以前西方汉学研究视角下的中国陵墓及丧葬观念, Journal of Architectural History, pages 44-52.


  • Feng J, Wang Q. (2022) Qing Dongling 清东陵 (The Eastern Qing Tombs), trans. Zhuang Y, Zhao C, and Xiao S, Chinese Architecture Publishing & Media.
  • Zhuang Y. (2022) ‘All the varieties of Nature’s works under ground’: the Geological Imagination of Alexander Pope, Drawing Matter Journal–architecture and representation, volume No. 1 The Geological Imagination, pages 52-73. [PDF]
  • Zhuang Y. (2022) Temple, Huygens and ‘sharawadgi’: tempering the passions to achieve tranquillity, Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes, volume 41, no. 4, pages 288-308, DOI:10.1080/14601176.2021.2017682. [PDF]





  • Zhuang Y. (2017) CONFUCIUS 551-479 bce, Key Thinkers on the Environment, 1-5.
  • Zhuang Y. (2017) Confucius, Key Thinkers on the Environment, Routledge, 1-5.
  • Fatica M, Zhuang Y. (2017) Copperplates Controversy: Matteo Ripa’s Thirty-six views of Jehol and the Chinese Rites, Entangled Landscapes: Early Modern China and Europe, National University of Singapore Press, 144-186.
  • Zhuang Y. (2017) Fear and Pride: Sir William Chambers' Dissertation on Oriental Gardening, Burke's sublime and China, Entangled Landscapes: Early Modern China and Europe, National University of Singapore Press, 56-114.
  • Zhuang Y, Riemenschnitter A. (2017) Entangled Landscapes: A New Research Paradigm, Entangled Landscapes: Early Modern China and Europe, National University of Singapore Press, 1-37.
  • Zhuang Y, Riemenschnitter A. (2017) Entangled Landscapes: Early modern China and Europe, National University of Singapore Press, DOI:10.2307/j.ctv1xz0qj.



  • Zhuang Y. (2015) Death and Regeneration of Architectural Language: Ruin and Strata in John Soane's Crude Hints, World Architecture, volume 302, no. 8, pages 102-109.
  • Zhuang Y. (2015) Confucian ecological vision and the Chinese eco-city, Cities: international journal of urban policy and planning, volume 45, pages 142-147, DOI:10.1016/j.cities.2015.03.004.
  • Zhuang Y. (2015) Hatchings in the Void: Ritual and Order in Bishu Shanzhuang Shi and Views of Jehol, Qing Encounters: Artistic Exchanges between China and the West, Getty Publication, 142-157.
  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2015) Zhongguo yuanlin chuangzuo de jieshixue chuantong 中国园林创作的解释学传统 (The Hermeneutical tradition of Chinese gardens), Tianjin University Press.


  • Zhuang Y. (2014) Review: Hui Zou, A Jesuit Garden in Beijing and Early Modern Chinese culture, West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine, volume 39, pages 144-147. [PDF]
  • Zhuang Y. (2014) City for virtues: Sir William Chambers' Dissertation on Oriental Gardening and Burke's Sublime-Effect, International conference: Cityscapes in Europe and Asia (13th to 20th centuries), University Of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, 10th - 12th Oct 2014.
  • Zhuang Y. (2014) The sound of spitting: “rites of passage” and “social drama", International conference: Sound, Noise and the Everyday: Soundscapes in China, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, 21st - 24th Aug 2014.
  • Zhuang Y. (2014) Upon the Gardens of Epicurus (1685): Sir William Temple, China and European vitalist science, Annual Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science, University Of Surrey, 10th - 12th Apr 2014.


  • Zhuang Y. (2013) Et in Arcadia Ego: Landscape theory and funereal imagination in 18th century Britain.
  • Zhuang Y. (2013) Liyi zhi zheng: Bishushanzhuang sanshiliu jing tongbanhua yu Bishushanzhuang Shi de shijue chayi 礼仪之争: 避暑山庄三十六景铜版画与《避暑山庄诗》的视觉差异 (Chinese Rites Controversy: On the visual incongruences between ‘Views of Jehol’ and Bishushanzhuang Shi, Jianzhushi 建筑史(Architectural history), pages 108-118.
  • Zhuang Y. (2013) Luxury and ‘the Surprising’ in Sir William Chambers’ Dissertation on Oriental Gardening (1772): Commercial Society and Burke’s Sublime-Effect, Transcultural Studies, no. 2, pages 45-76, DOI:10.11588/ts.2013.2.10072.
  • Zhuang Y. (2013) Liberty, Fear and the City of Sensations: Sir William Chambers' Dissertation on Oriental Gardening and Burke's Sublime-Effect, International symposium: Urbanism, Spirituality & Well Being, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University, 6th - 9th Jun 2013.


  • Zhuang Y. (2012) Performing Poetry-Music: On Confucians’ Garden Dwelling, From the things themselves: Architecture and Phenomenology, Kyoto University Press, 373-405.


  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2009) The Poetics of Dwelling a Garden: a Confucian Mode of Being, Editions de La Villette, 352-363.


  • Zhuang Y. (2006) Beihai Qiongdao Yanlou Jianzhuqun Chuangzuo Yijiang Tanxi 北海琼岛延楼建筑群创作意匠探析(Iconography of the Yanlou Building Groups of the Jade Island, Beihai Park), Journal of Tianjin University (Social Sciences), volume 8, no. 1, pages 7-13.
  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2006) Shixing siwei he zhongxifang ziyoushi zaoyuan chuantong chuyi 诗性思维和中西方自由式造园传统刍议 (A preliminary study of 'poetic thinking' and natural gardening in the East and West), Chinese Landscape Architecture, no. 3.
  • Zhuang Y, Wang W. (2006) Huanjing Yishu Sheji Jianshi 环境艺术设计简史 (Short History of Environmental Art Design), Chinese Architecture & Building Press.


  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q, Wu D. (2005) Zhongguo gudian yuanlin chuangzuo de jieshixue chuantong 中国古典园林创作的解释学传统 (A hermeneutic tradition in Chinese landscape gardens), Chinese landscape architecture, no. 5, pages 71-76.


  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2004) Qianlong Shiwu Nian Jingcheng Quantu Zhong de Taiyechi 乾隆十五年《京城全图》中的太液池 (The Taiye Lake in The Complete Map of Beijing, the 15th year of Qianlong Period ), Wenwu 文物, no. 9, pages 90-93.


  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2003) Beihai Jingqingzhai de Jieshixue Chuangzuo Yixiang Tan xi 有人斯有乾坤理, 各蕴心中会得无:北海镜清斋解释学创作意象探析 (Analysis of the hermeneutic method in the design of the Studio of the Clear Mirror in Beihai), Jianzhushi 建筑师, volume 103, no. 3, pages 70-73.
  • Zhuang Y, Wang Q. (2003) Qianlong chao Xiyuan Taiyechi Dipantu Kao 乾隆朝《西苑太液池地盘图》考 (Dating of The Map of Taiye Lake of Xiyuan), Wenwu文物, no. 8, pages 77-85.


  • Wang Q, Zhuang Y. (2000) Beihai Huafangzhai de Jieshixue Chuangzuo Yixiang Tan xi北海画舫斋的解释学创作意象探析 (Analysis of the Hermeneutic method in the design of the Studio of Painted Boat in Beihai), Jianzhushi 建筑师 (Architects), volume 91, pages 76-85.

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