Friday, November 9, 2007

about the Song

1. Was the civil examination system influential? In what scope?
2. What did Chan paintings emphasize?
3. Why did classical landscape painters ignore perspective?
4. Why is it particularly virtuous man who delights in landscape?
5. Do you think this was the time that China began to turn inward or not? Why?

1 comment:

Yadira said...

2. What did Chan paintings emphasize?

Chan paintings emphasized the “moments of truth” when the believers would reach different periods of enlightenment, the inner life. This is difficult to express through words and also through the brush. But at least through the brush, the person has more liberty, a freedom of expression not restricted by how many words one knows. That’s why Chan paintings are shocking, something completely different and abstract.

3. Why did classical landscape painters ignore perspective?

The classical landscape painters ignored perspective for one main reason: because it conflicted with the angle of totality ; perspective would prevent the artist from depicting all that he could see. The beautiful mountains with its curving, tall and harmonious views would be cut in half or reduce to a minimum when using perspective. Contrary to Western painters who, since classical times, and even more so in the Renaissance, venerated perspective as a tool for achieving a realistic image, Chinese painters did not. It’s curious to observe that this idea on both sides have different connotations as well. By using perspective, which is more noticeable when buildings are included, the artist focuses more on the human being and less on his surroundings; in the case of a landscape, it would focus on a specific thing of the landscape, a path, ruins, a lake…, but the artist would still be confined by the laws of perspective. He or she would have to choose if to cut half of the sky or leave out the ground. The opposite is visible in Chinese paintings of this period. The only restriction the artist has is the size of the paper he is using. Other than that he can depict the entire sight he has in front of his eyes. This angle of totality focuses on the environment, nature and the surroundings rather than the human being.

4. Why is it particularly virtuous man who delights in landscape?

A man who delights in landscape is particularly virtuous because instead of going off to the mountains and wonder for years, as Buddhists did, he would “nourish his spirit” by looking to landscape paintings, but would not leave his responsibilities in doing so (being a good Confucian). Just for a certain period of time would he let the artist guide him through the mountains he would never live in, but have the pleasure of enjoying thanks to the artist.

5. Do you think this was the time that China began to turn inward or not? Why?

I certainly I'm not sure. I think it's in between, perhaps not until the end of the Song Dynasty, when the Mongols take over, is that China turns inward. Since the Song Dynasty was a time of great intellectual growth and peace, even though that peace was being bought primarily with silk, it would be contradictory for China to turn inward when there is so much intellect and creativity being shared through printing.