Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

The ten essays collected in this volume are revised versions of papers presented at an international conference on Six Dynasties aesthetics held at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, November 3–4, 2000. This conference was a sequel...

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Prologue: A Historical Overview of Six Dynasties Aesthetics

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pp. 1-28

After centuries in which it played at best a subordinate role to historiography, sociopolitical theory, and philosophy, aesthetic inquiry finally emerged in the Six Dynasties (220– 589) as a distinct, independent concern.1 Although Chinese literati did not begin to discuss literature and the arts in their own right until early ...

Part I: Images and Representations: Painting, Calligraphy, and Garden Construction

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Chapter 1. Replication and Deception in Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties Period

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pp. 31-59

The epigram that introduces this essay comes from Hillel Schwartz’s freewheeling survey of the history of duplication in all its forms, The Culture of the Copy.1 His memorable expression, “an exuberant world of copies,” refers to contemporary life in the West; it could apply as well to the history of calligraphy in China ...

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Chapter 2. The Essay on Painting by Wang Wei (415–453) in Context

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pp. 60-80

The “Xu hua” (Discussion of Painting), by Wang Wei (415–453), has been classified with the “Hua shanshui xu” (Preface on Landscape Painting), by Zong Bing (375–443), under the heading of “landscape Daoism.” These two texts are often discussed along with a third,...

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Chapter 3. Xie He’s “Six Laws” of Painting and Their Indian Parallels

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pp. 81-122

There is universal agreement that Xie He’s “Liu fa” (Six Laws) constitute the first systematic exposition of painting theory in China.1 Toward the end of the Tang dynasty, the great art critic and historian Zhang Yanyuan...

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Chapter 4. A Good Place Need Not Be a Nowhere: The Garden and Utopian Thought in the Six Dynasties

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pp. 123-166

The following quotation, which may at first appear totally irrelevant to the topic of this essay, is from the early Daoist text Zhuang Zi ....

Part II: Words and Patterns: Poetry and Prose

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Chapter 5. The Unmasking of Tao Qian and the Indeterminacy of Interpretation

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pp. 169-190

This chapter will examine the history of the reception of Tao Qian (365?–427), a Six Dynasties poet who became one of the greatest figures in the Chinese literary canon— surprisingly, since in his own time Tao Qian was practically unknown...

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Chapter 6. Crossing Boundaries: Transcendents and Aesthetics in the Six Dynasties

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pp. 191-221

At the same time as the establishment of aesthetics, xian (transcendents) became an important literary topic. Although literary portrayal of transcendents began before the Han, during the Six Dynasties the range of portrayals in poetry, prose,...

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Chapter 7. Literary Games and Religious Practice at the End of the Six Dynasties: The Baguanzhai Poems by Xiao Gang and His Followers

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pp. 222-234

Intellectual life during the latter part of the Six Dynasties period, notably from about 450 onward, may be said to be dominated by two salient cultural (and at the same time...

Part III: The Parameters of Six Dynasties Aesthetics: Modes of Discourse

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Chapter 8. Shishuo xinyu and the Emergence of Aesthetic Self-Consciousness in the Chinese Tradition

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pp. 237-276

Shishuo xinyu (A New Account of Tales of the World, ca. 430) plunges us into a finely observed and deftly articulated world of variations on human sensations, perceptions, and actions.1 Its dominant concern is the compass of beauty—...

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Chapter 9. Nature and Higher Ideals in Texts on Calligraphy, Music, and Painting

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pp. 277-309

The first and perhaps most lasting impression made by the Han and Wei period texts on calligraphy is that of the verbal amplitude of their descriptions of the various scripts. These descriptions typically occupy the largest portion of the texts and in most cases are clearly that to...

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Chapter 10. The Conceptual Origins and Aesthetic Significance of “Shen” in Six Dynasties Texts on Literature and Painting

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pp. 310-342

Shen” is one of the most ubiquitous and polysemous terms in both philosophical and aesthetic discourses of premodern China. In many ways, its ubiquity has obscured its polysemy. As we frequently come across it in texts of all kinds, we...

List of Contributors

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pp. 343-345

Index

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pp. 347-359