Craig Clunas

Craig Clunas

Craig Clunas (born December 1, 1954, in Aberdeen, Scotland) is Professor of History of Art at the University of Oxford.[1] As a historian of the art and history of China, Professor Clunas has focussed particularly on the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).



Professor Clunas finished undergraduate study in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge, and moved to the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London for his PhD. Professor Clunas began his scholarly career at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where for 15 years he was on the curatorial staff and was responsible for the installation of new Chinese galleries. In 1994, he moved to the University of Sussex, where he became Professor of History of Art in 1997. In 2003, he returned to SOAS where he was the Percival David Professor of Chinese and East Asian Art from 2004. He took up his current position at the University of Oxford in 2007. He is the first holder of the Chair in the History of Art to specialise in art from Asia.


Professor Clunas has published extensively on early modern China, his books include:

  • Superfluous Things: social status and material culture in Early Modern China, 1991;
  • Art in China, 1997;
  • Elegant debts: the social art of Wen Zhengming, 2004;
  • Empires of Great brightness: visual and material cultures of Ming China, 2007, based on the Slade lectures which he gave at Oxford in 2004.

External links


  • 'Craig Clunas', in Jason Kuo ed, Discovering Chinese Painting: Dialogues with Art Historians (Dubuque Iowa, 2006), pp. 217-26

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