2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Shanxi Merchants in Yangzhou: Thoughts on Paintings by Yuan Yao

Ya-chen Ma

Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University

Huizhou merchants played a significant role in the production of local culture in Yangzhou during the Qing-period. Nonetheless, were there other social groups who could have tried to make their mark on the cultural map of Yangzhou? Shanxi merchants might have been one of the few groups who could compete with Hui merchants. Yuan Yao, was closely associated with the Shanxi merchants, and his works might be crucial to answering this question. This article first identifies the sites he depicted and his patrons, as well as the distinctive features that emphasize the sites’ parallel relationship with Pingshan Hall and their openness to the public. All these features reveal how Shanxi merchants tried to cultivate their influence in Yangzhou’s cultural realm, a realm dominated by Hui merchants. This article further argues that Shanxi merchants imitated and competed with Hui merchants on the one hand, and distinguished themselves by reviving ruins built by their predecessors to increase their visibility in Yangzhou on the other.


Keywords: West merchants, Shanxi Merchants, Yangzhou, topographical paintings, Grand Views of Hanjiang