Chinese Artist Covers Paper Torsos in Ancient Paintings to Challenge Traditional Femininity

Contemporary Interpretation of Femininity

Contemporary Chinese artist Peng Wei puts a spin on tradition with her paper sculptures of female torsos. The figures, composed of layered flax and cotton, are painted with images from ancient Chinese narratives including Paragons of Feminine Virtue by Ming-dynasty thinker Lv Kun and Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio by Qing-dynasty novelist Pu Songling. In doing this, she reimagines these historic tales and reclaims them from the male gaze with a uniquely feminine interpretation; her work serves both to honor and subvert tradition in a nuanced celebration of womanhood.

Peng herself has a very distinct perspective as to what constitutes tradition and how we interact with it from a contemporary standpoint. It's something that distinguishes her from many other contemporary Chinese ink painters. “Their intention to break tradition is so obvious, to the point that they simplify the definition of tradition, which becomes monotonously unified,” the artist explains. “They have imagined tradition as an enemy, so they must break through it again.” But for Peng, tradition evolves. “In my eyes, there is no unified artistic concept; there are only personal concepts. Tradition is private and not to be found in a textbook. It is living, and still slowly developing; it is not past and lifeless.”

Scroll down to see more images of Peng's beautiful paper sculptures, and visit the artist's website to see more of her incredible work.

Contemporary Chinese artist Peng Wei reimagines tradition with her layered flax and cotton paper sculptures of female torsos.

Reinterpreting Femininity Through the Female Gaze

Paper Sculptures of Female Torsos

Reimagined Narrative Through Feminine Gaze

Traditional Chines Paintings of Women

Her delicately beautiful creations serve to both honor and subvert tradition in a nuanced celebration of femininity and womanhood.

Reimagined Narrative Through Feminine Gaze

Feminine Torso Paper Sculpture

Contemporary Interpretation of Femininity

Reimagining Femininity

In the artist's own words, tradition “is living, and still slowly developing; it is not past and lifeless.”

Feminine Paper Torso Sculpture

Side View of Paper Sculpture

Side View Female Torso Sculpture

Feminine Narrative On Paper Sculptures

Peng Wei: Website | Tina Keng Gallery

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Peng Wei.

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Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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