In this Book

Chinese Aesthetics
summary
This singular work presents the most comprehensive and nuanced studies available in any Western language of Chinese aesthetic thought and practice during the Six Dynasties (A.D. 220–589). Despite a succession of dynastic and social upheavals, the literati preoccupied themselves with both the sensuous and the transcendent and strove for cultural dominance. By the end of the sixth century, their reflections would evolve into a sophisticated system of aesthetic discourse characterized by its own rhetoric and concepts. A prologue details the historical context in which Six Dynasties aesthetics arose and sketches out its major stages of development. The ten essays that follow bring fresh perspectives to bear on important writings on literature, music, painting, calligraphy, and gardening. Grounded in close readings of primary texts, they reveal the complex, dynamic interplay between life and art, the sensuous and the metaphysical, and the artistic and the philosophicaleligious that lies at the heart of the aesthetic thought and practice of the time. As a whole, the collection demonstrates that Six Dynasties achieved a sophistication in aesthetic thought comparable in many ways to that of the West: The discussion of disinterestedness in art, aesthetic judgment, and how mental images mediate between the supersensible and the sensible are reminiscent of Kant. The findings of various Chinese critics provide much food for thought in the broad fields of comparative literature and aesthetics. Chinese Aesthetics will fill a gap in Western sinological studies of the period. It will appeal to scholars and students in premodern Chinese literary studies, comparative aesthetics, and cultural studies and be a welcome reference to anyone interested in ancient Chinese culture.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. vii
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  1. Prologue: A Historical Overview of Six Dynasties Aesthetics
  2. pp. 1-28
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  1. Part I: Images and Representations: Painting, Calligraphy, and Garden Construction
  2. pp. 29-30
  1. Chapter 1. Replication and Deception in Calligraphy of the Six Dynasties Period
  2. pp. 31-59
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  1. Chapter 2. The Essay on Painting by Wang Wei (415–453) in Context
  2. pp. 60-80
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  1. Chapter 3. Xie He’s “Six Laws” of Painting and Their Indian Parallels
  2. pp. 81-122
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  1. Chapter 4. A Good Place Need Not Be a Nowhere: The Garden and Utopian Thought in the Six Dynasties
  2. pp. 123-166
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  1. Part II: Words and Patterns: Poetry and Prose
  2. p. 167
  1. Chapter 5. The Unmasking of Tao Qian and the Indeterminacy of Interpretation
  2. pp. 169-190
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  1. Chapter 6. Crossing Boundaries: Transcendents and Aesthetics in the Six Dynasties
  2. pp. 191-221
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  1. Chapter 7. Literary Games and Religious Practice at the End of the Six Dynasties: The Baguanzhai Poems by Xiao Gang and His Followers
  2. pp. 222-234
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  1. Part III: The Parameters of Six Dynasties Aesthetics: Modes of Discourse
  2. p. 235
  1. Chapter 8. Shishuo xinyu and the Emergence of Aesthetic Self-Consciousness in the Chinese Tradition
  2. pp. 237-276
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  1. Chapter 9. Nature and Higher Ideals in Texts on Calligraphy, Music, and Painting
  2. pp. 277-309
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  1. Chapter 10. The Conceptual Origins and Aesthetic Significance of “Shen” in Six Dynasties Texts on Literature and Painting
  2. pp. 310-342
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  1. List of Contributors
  2. pp. 343-345
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 347-359
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