Bodily Contemplation: On the Question of the Truth of the Perception of Physical Objects in Chinese Landscape Painting

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Abstract


This article analyzes the views of representatives of the scientific community on ancient Chinese landscape painting, emphasis is mainly placed on views that concern the spiritual qualities of landscape painting, as well as rethinking concepts that ignore the significance of sensual perception. Landscape painting is usually considered as a spiritual work of Taoism: landscape painting developed from Taoist thought, Taoist philosophy determined the identity of the artistic style and the inherent spirit of landscape painting. Moreover, some researchers even believe that bodily contemplation of landscape painting means setting the very original nature of mountains and waters, and the "knowledge of the truth" is a spiritual process that is more blocked by the human capacity for sensual perception. Some of the scientists completely deny the possibility and truth of sensual perception of physical objects in landscape painting. The author of this article believes that the spiritual component of landscape painting lurks precisely in the value of sensual perception, and bodily contemplation of mountains and waters is impossible without the participation of the body, clear confirmation of which we find in the ancient Chinese theory of arts. Ancient Chinese works of art traditionally had a close connection with sensual perception through bodily contemplation. This process is not simply about capturing object information, but when the subject takes an active part in the vision of the object, when the subject gives feedback to the object, and through acquiring the object its meaning is transmitted. Only through bodily contemplation, the individual can fully feel the artistic value of landscape painting, and Taoist philosophy thus gains a real existence in landscape painting, becoming a kind of emotional thinking.


About the authors

Yiqun Wang

Sichuan University

Author for correspondence.
Email: 770972623@qq.com
17, People's South Road, Chengdu, 610041, People's Republic of China

Ph. D. of Literature, Deputy Director of the Russian Studies Center, Research Associate, School of International Studies

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