As 191 - Chinese Art and Aesthetics

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Chinese art and aesthethics


<ul><li><p>Borlaza, Raisa Victoria H. 14 October 2015 </p><p>BS Arch, 2012 24662 Art Studies 191 Lauzon </p><p>Chinese Aesthetics </p><p>Beauty in the Chinese sense was dependent on two philosophies: Daoism and Confucianism. These two </p><p>perspectives served as the guiding principle into what beauty was, how art can be depict. However, overtime, these </p><p>two beliefs became more than just a guide, but as a stepping stone into widening the typical, traditional Chinese </p><p>beauty. </p><p>Chinese aesthetics had its origins from two distinct themes in Chinese history: the alternation of medium </p><p>used in arts and the shifts from the philosophical ideas pertaining to the arts. One aesthetic theory that developed in </p><p>China was based on rituals and music. Chinese art forms are based from ancestral works. They take great respect in </p><p>their elders, making sure that their art style lives on. A skilled artist was measured based on his ability to replicate </p><p>and copy their ancestors art form, as stated in the Six Laws of Painting by Xie He. In terms of 3D art, sculptures of </p><p>various materials and pottery were all in accordance to ancestral worship, a means of ensuring that the dead live on </p><p>in the afterlife. There is also a sense of harmony and balance in Chinese art forms, similar to their concept of </p><p>duality--- of yin and yang. Music was a way of integrating harmony through the use of words and melodies. Theatre </p><p>arts became an art form in China as it depicted the reaction of audiences towards a certain Chinese art work. They </p><p>were no longer restricted to art that was inanimate, but could delve into an art that was dynamic and interactive </p><p>through music and drama. </p><p> We see how strict and rigid the early forms of Chinese art was, resulting into Chinese aesthetics that was </p><p>utilitarian or moralistic. There was always this need to unify and correlate. The Chinese saw life as a cycle, a </p><p>balance with nature. Their perception of beauty was based on this order, balance, and symmetry. This need for order </p><p>relates to Confucius beliefs, which again is a basis for Chinese art form. Because of how closely aesthetics was </p><p>connected to beliefs, it somehow became a measure for a well-lived life. </p><p> Influence from Buddhism also influence Chinese aesthetics, as it now started to become a matter of taste. </p><p>Along with Confucianism and Daoism, the integration of Buddhism in art and religion resulted into a new sense of </p><p>aesthetics--- one that focused less on pleasing the ancestors, but more on self-expression and personal depiction. </p><p>Therefore, aesthetics were seen as in forms of spheres or worlds, where it could be without passion or interest, but </p><p>also with feelings and emotions. </p><p> Upon the coming of Western influence, the concept of aesthetics was formally established in China. </p><p>Standards for these aesthetics came in the form of nature and art as a manifestation of culture. Still, these aesthetics </p><p>had its roots planted on either Daoism or Confucianism or a modification of the two. </p><p> Landscape painting was the central art form that depicted Chinese aesthetics. This type of painting is seen </p><p>as beautiful because of how it conformed to the Six Laws of Painting. These six laws were based on Taoist beliefs </p><p>of nature and tranquillity. Daoism thus became a tool in helping create aesthetics taste. Mountains and rockeries </p><p>were seen as a symbol of continuity. Similar to African aesthetics, this related to age over beauty, where </p><p>something that matures or continues for a long period of time is beauty. </p><p> Later on, paintings were accompanied by poetry. Paintings were seen as a depiction of not only of nature in </p><p>its most real and natural form, but also in its experiential sense. Aesthetics then evolved into a matter of taste. What </p><p>was important was the viewers response to the painting. Early forms of drama and theatre arts in Chinese culture </p><p>flourished because of how the scripts were based on the audiences response. In paintings, this encouraged </p><p>calligraphy and poetic appreciation; it allowed for proper discourse. </p><p> Art completes culture, as quoted by Zhang Yan Yuan. The perception of aesthetics is therefore influenced </p><p>by art and culture. Beauty is dependent on a cultures beliefs and ethics. What is special about Chinese aesthetics is </p><p>how it remained somehow pure, or how it did not mediate away from traditional Chinese art and beauty even with </p><p>Western influence. The Chinese were still open to foreign influence, such as Buddhism, but gave great value in what </p><p>their own perception of beauty was, even thinking of culture and art as a substitute for education and religion. It </p><p>came to a point were appreciation of beauty meant that the past had to serve the present, and the foreign influences </p><p>had to serve China. This strong background of ancestral heritage and respect, as well as Confucius and Taoist </p><p>beliefs, defined and strengthened the Chinese notion of beauty. </p></li></ul>