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Wang Qiuping

Wang Qiuping

  Wang Qiuping






Doctoral Project

Villa Landscapes in the Jiangnan Area During the Late-Ming and Early-Qing Dynasties

Existing research on traditional Chinese garden culture focuses primarily on private gardens in big cities (such as Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing and Beijing). In this present study, the focus is narrowed down to villa landscapes in the Jiangnan region. Villa is a sub-genre of traditional private gardens and was originally defined as a sort of garden landscape in the rural areas. With the help of varied sources, including local gazetteers, biji and Ming-Qing fiction, this dissertation aims to present a sociohistorical study on Chinese villa landscapes in the Jiangnan area during the late Ming and early Qing period.

Jiangnan was chosen as a test-site because of its unique historical context. It was an area that had witnessed drastic changes during the late Ming and early Qing period. On the one hand, Jiangnan was the economic center of China. The flourishing rural handicraft industries and thriving market networks promoted the development of commerce and trade, contributing to the advanced urbanization of the region. On the other hand, the dynastic transition from Ming to Qing had brought severe physical destruction and psychological trauma to the Jiangnan society. The supposed contradiction of enjoying accumulated wealth and suffering from war-inflicted damages greatly influenced the spread of villa landscapes in Jiangnan, thereby making it an interesting region for the study of their development.

Instead of concentrating on the architectural and material features of villa landscapes (layouts, structures, physical components, etc.), this study will rethink the role of villa landscapes in Chinese history by analyzing the aims of the villa owners and the activities held within the villas against the social and historical backdrop of that time. How were the villa landscapes redefined by the changing historical circumstances? How did the social changes affect the owners’ choice of villa locations? In terms of proprietorship, did the scholar-officials lose their monopoly during this period? Besides serving an entertainment purpose, did the owners develop new ways to utilize villa landscapes? By investigating the economic, political, social and cultural factors, this study aims to provide a deeper understanding of Chinese villa landscapes as well as a greater insight into traditional Chinese garden culture in the Jiangnan area during the Ming-Qing transition.


Research Interests

  • Ancient Chinese History
  • Cultural and Social History
  • Historical Geography



  • Since 10/2017
    Doctoral Candidate in Modern and Contemporary History, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg, Germany
  • 09/2014 - 07/2017
    M.A. Chinese History, Shaanxi Normal University 陕西师范大学, People's Republic of China 
  • 09/2010 - 07/2014
    B.A. History, Anhui University 安徽大学, People's Republic of China




Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Historisches Seminar
Lehrstuhl für Außereuropäische Geschichte
Rempartstraße 15 - KG IV
79085 Freiburg im Breisgau
Deutschland / Germany

KG IV, Room 4337
dienstags, 10:00 - 12:00 Uhr
Tuesdays, 10:00 - 12:00
Research Assistants

KG IV, Room 4306
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