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Past Meets Present: Shan Shui Environmental Art


Literally translated as “mountain water”, Shan Shui is a specific style of Chinese landscape art that rose to prominence in the 5th century during the Liu Song Dynasty (wikipedia). In the depiction of pristine rivers, ethereal mists, and hallowed mountains, the artist’s ultimate goal is to capture the ch’i, or vital breath, of the world around them. This ch’i must be caught even at the expense of realism, for if the artist misses it, they have lost the very essence of the landscape. In this way, Shan Shui paintings are only expressions of art, but also provide insight into how the artist, influenced by culture and society, views the natural world.

I recently came across the work of a modern artist who sought to introduce modern human presence and impact into Shan Shui paintings. Commissioned by the China Environmental Protection Foundation, Yong Liang Yang utilizes…

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Escritor, periodista, comunicador y comentarista mexicano. Reside en Chicago. Autor del libro de relatos A veces llovia en Chicago (Ediciones Vocesueltas/Libros Magenta, 2011, ganador del Premio Interamericano Carlos Montemayor 2013), la obra de teatro Blind Spot (Ganadora del Primer Premio Hispano de Dramaturgia de Chicago, 2014, publicada por Literal Publishers en la coleccion (dis) locados, y el poemario En el pais del silencio (publicado en 2015 por Ediciones Oblicuas, Barcelona). Director editorial de la revista contratiempo (


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