Shelagh Vainker


Associate Professor of Chinese Art and Curator of Chinese Art, Ashmolean Museum; Fellow of St. Hugh's College

Faculty / College Address:

China Centre / Ashmolean Museum


Research Interests:

My research interests are focused on the material culture of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), the ceramics industry and its environmental impact, and in particular the role of ceramics in articulating the relationships between officials, merchants, writers and consumers in urban and rural contexts. 

Current Projects:

Song Dynasty ceramics book

Contemporary Chinese art exhibitions programme

Recent Publications:

Books and Exhibition catalogues

Liu Dan: New Landscapes and Old Masters, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2016.

Fang Zhaoling (1914-2005): A Centenary Exhibition, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2014.

Landscape/Landscript: Nature as Language in the Art of Xu Bing, Shelagh Vainker, ed., (with contributions from Judith Goldman, Peter D. McDonald and Xu Bing), Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 2013.

Chinese Silk: A Cultural History, London (British Museum Press), 2004.

Chinese Pottery and Porcelain: from Prehistory to the Present, London (British Museum Press), 1991, 2nd edn. 2005.

Book chapters

 ‘Chinese Paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’, in Michaela Pejcochova and Clarissa von Spee, eds., Modern Chinese Painting and Europe: New Perceptions, Artists Encounters and the Formation of Collections, Berlin (Reimer Verlag), 2017.

‘Lui Shou-kwan in England: the Contribution of Geoffrey Barker’ (essay) and catalogue entries in Josh Yiu, ed., Two Masters, Two Generations, and One Vision for Modern Chinese Painting, Hong Kong ,The Art Museum, Chinese University of Hong Kong), 2013.

"Chinesische Malerei der Gegenwart in London, 1935/Modern Chinese Painting in London, 1935" in J. Birnie-Danzker ed. Shanghai Modern, Stuttgart (Hatje-Cantz), 2004.

 "Luxuries or not? consumption of silk and porcelain in eighteenth-century China" in M. Berg and E. Eger, eds., Luxury in the Eighteenth Century: Debates, Desires and Delectable Goods, Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2003.


 ‘Fu Baoshi  in Chongqing: Some Paintings in European Collections’, Arts Asiatiques (Annales du musee national des arts asiatiques Guimet et du musee Cernuschi, Cahiers de l’Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient), Tome 67-2012, pp. 89-96.

 ‘Northern Song Lacquer’, 中国漆器研讨会论文集 (Proceedings of Conference on Ancient Chinese Lacquer), The Art Museum, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2012, pp.21-30.

 ‘Owning Ceramics in the Northern Song Dynasty: Thoughts on Who and How’, Transactions of the Oriental Ceramic Society 74 (2009-10), pp.103-12.

‘Ceramic Consumption in Northern Sung China: the case of the educated urbanites’, Wang Yaoting, ed., 开创典籍:北宋的艺术与文化研究讨会论文集 Conference on Founding Paradigms: Papers on the Art and Culture of the Northern Sung Dynasty, Taipei, National Palace Museum, 2008, pp.777-95.

‘Northern Song White Wares in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford’ in Li Zhongmou, ed., Proceedings of Conference on White Ware Ceramics, Shanghai (Shanghai Museum), 2005, pp.506-18.

Photograph of Shelagh Vainker