The Embodiment of Zhuangzi‘s Ecological Wisdom in Chinese Literati Painting (wenrenhua 文人畫) and Its Aesthetics



The paper deals with the relation of Daoist (mainly Zhuangzi’s) ecological ideas on inter- penetration and “communication-without-communication” of things to Chinese landscape and bamboo painting, more specifically, to the ideas about the harmonization of the painter with the things (scene) painted in the process of producing the artwork. Its purpose is to explore a more nuanced, philosophical and non-Eurocentric interpretation of this peculiar kind of harmony of things or their “unity in particularity”, as inspired by Zhuangzi’s ideas and seemingly embodied in Chinese literati painting. For this purpose, the paper introduces few conceptual models, formulated by Western sinologists, as the particular philosophical schemes for the understanding of Zhuangzi’s epistemology and cosmology, and then discusses their applicability with regard to the relationships between the painter and the world, as presented in early and classical Chinese painting aesthetics and theory.

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