top of page

Mixed Media

Hundred Schools of Thought /  诸子百家

It is an ongoing series. By merging classical Chinese philosophy, literature and calligraphy with various forms of contemporary art, my work incorporates elements from both eastern and western cultures, creating an open dialogue between the past and the present, and between the East and the West.


My concept comes from philosophies and literature that flourished during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (春秋战国, 6BC-221BC) in ancient China. Alongside modern collages, etching, acrylic painting and illustrations, I wrote the texts in small seal script (小篆, an ancient form of Chinese calligraphy from the Qin Dynasty 221BC-207BC, which succeeded the Warring States period, unified China for the first time and published the small seal script as the first standardized written form of Chinese). They are my lifelong fascinations which started from a young age and still constantly inspire my art practice today.

The Series
Hundred Schools of Thougt 2023-08.jpg

I. The Way of Being / 道

致虚极,守静笃;万物并作,吾以观复。夫物芸芸,各复归其根。归根曰静,静曰复命。 《道德经》

Taoism is a school of philosophy that is widely known but hardly understood. 老子(Lao Tzu)’s 道德经(Tao Te Ching) is a classic text that I read repeatedly from a young age. I am in the learning process of grasping 道(Tao, “the way of being”), as every time I reopen the book, there is something new to learn.


This piece is a snapshot of my understanding, in which I wrote 道 on the lower left corner, my favourite quote on the right, roughly translated as “Ten thousand things come into being, and I have watched them return. No matter how they flourish, each must go back to the root from which it came. This return is called quietness, and this quietness is one’s destiny.” I illustrated some seemingly chaotic and modern objects to accompany the text, which still conform with this “way of being,” returning to their roots sooner or later. And my learning journey continues.

II. The Art of War / 兵家之胜

攻其无备,出其不意。此兵家之胜,不可先传也。 《孙子兵法》

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is a classic on strategy and tactics, and I still remember this quote, translated as “Attack when the enemy is unprepared. Appear when you are not expected. The way that leads to victory must not be divulged beforehand.” Using bold colours and metaphors, I juxtapose collage and calligraphy, as well as English and classical Chinese texts, which resonate with each other, visualising this ancient quote with a contemporary twist.

III. Uphill Stands a Mulberry / 山有扶苏

Uphill Stands a Mulberry.jpg
In the Marsh Lies a Lotus.jpg

山有扶苏,隰有荷华。 《诗经.国风.郑风》

These two form a mini-series. Using modern collages, I visualised the opening lines of this poem from 诗经 (Shijing, i.e. Classic of Poetry, the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry from 1100BC-700BC), translated as "uphill stands a mulberry, in the marsh lies a lotus." And specifically, 秦始皇帝(i.e. the first emperor of China and founder of the Qin Dynasty) named his eldest son 扶苏 (reads as fúsū), probably wishing him to be as upright, capable and thriving as a mulberry tree in bloom.

IV. Soar /  一鸣惊人

三年不翅,将以长羽翼;不飞不鸣,将以观民则。虽无飞,飞必冲天;虽无鸣,鸣必惊人。 《韩非子.喻老》

During the Warring States Period, 楚庄王 (the King Zhuang of Chu) had neglected state affairs and never made any achievements in three years. One  minister asked him,  “There is a big bird which has neither taken wing nor sung for three years. Would Your Majesty know why?” And the king replied, “It didn't fly for three years in order to grow full-fledged. It didn't cry for three years in order to carefully observe the people. This bird, once it flies, will soar into the sky; once it cries, it will startle the world with a single cry.” Then he changed radically and made Chu one of the most powerful countries at that time. The idiom 一鸣惊人 (amaze the world with a single feat) comes from this story.

I wrote the king’s quote in small seal script, alongside acrylic etchings of the birds. Two thousand years later, in our contemporary culture, it still inspires us: even if we could be stuck in a difficult period for a while, we would continue growing and learning, believing that we will have a chance to soar.

V. Pythagorean Theorem / 勾股定理





My work illustrates this classic rule of geometry. The script I wrote came from 九章算术 (The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art), which explains this theorem in classical Chinese. Through the lines, I would like to celebrate art and science, bring a fragment of history to contemporary life, and connect western and eastern cultures through our shared wisdom.

VI.  On the other Side of the Water / 在水一方



My work visualises the poem, which describes a strenuous journey across the river to find the beloved one, who is on the other side of the water, surrounded by the reeds.

VII.  Everlasting / 天长地久



My work is dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainability. The text roughly translates to “The sky and the earth are long-lasting. The reason why they are able to endure for this long, is that they do not live for themselves." Putting this into an environmental context: we humans should think long-term and preserve the resources on earth, not only for ourselves, but also for future generations and the entire ecosystem. 

VIII.  Determination / 冥冥之志



My work celebrates hard work, focus and determination. The quote translates to "If someone doesn’t put their nose to the grindstone, they would not enlighten; those who do not concentrate on what they do could not achieve success."

IX.  Green Leaves and White Flowers / 绿叶素华

Green Leaves and White Flowers _ 绿叶素华.jpg



My work explores a scene in the classic poem series Nine Songs with abstract imagination. The text roughly translates to “Green leaves and white flowers sent forth a delicate fragrance which enchants me.” This particular poem celebrates the Minor Deity of Fate, who is a goddess in charge of children’s fate. Painting from real leaves fallen from the trees in a nearby garden, I mused upon life, growth and the symbolic concept of destiny when creating this piece.

X.  Dream to be a Butterfly / 梦蝶



One day,  Zhuang Zhou, one of the greatest Taoist thinkers, fell asleep and dreamed that he was a butterfly. When he woke up, he wondered whether he was a man who had dreamed he was a butterfly or whether he was a butterfly now dreaming he was a man. My work explores this thought experiment by writing the text in a cyclic order, inviting viewers to this perplexing philosophical dream.

XI.  The Importance of being Idle / 无用之用



"People all know the advantages of being useful, but no one knows the advantages of being useless."

Carved in Stone

Carved in Stone acts as a contemporary interpretation of the classic Stone Carving on the Mountain Yi (峄山刻石, 219BC). Commissioned by the First Emperor  (秦始皇) who unified China in 221BC, the stone-carved letters recorded this historical moment with small seal script, as the emperor standardised written Chinese across the country.I made these collages with newspaper cutouts, stamps from museums in Xi’An (西安, the capital city at that time), alongside my own illustrations and a reproduction of the script. Though this form of calligraphy gradually faded into the background throughout history, I hope my artwork could bring them to life, inspire us with artistic interpretations and open up our imagination.

bottom of page