Analysis and Critical Evaluation of Xu Fuguan’s Interpretation of the Concept qiyun shengdong 气韵生动
The present article deals with Xu Fuguan’s analysis and interpretation of qiyun shengdong, which is regarded as one of the most significant and fundamental, as well as complex, concepts in Chinese aesthetics. It was developed in the Wei Jin period (220–420 AD), which is considered the turning point in Chinese aesthetics and art. Its complexity is expressed in literary works, painting, calligraphy and music, as well as in literary and painting theory. In Xu’s interpretation, the concept of qi refers to the outward characteristics of the art work. The concept yun reflects the inner characteristics that are an integral part of the human spirit, while shengdong is merely a spontaneous and natural effect of the interaction between qi and yun.
First, the author presents Xu Fuguan’s interpretation and places it in the context of contemporary debates on Chinese aesthetics. The author then concentrates on Xu Fuguan’s philological and historical analysis of the semantic and philosophical development of the concept, and at the end gives a critical evaluation of his study in the context of the re-evaluation of the basics of classical Chinese aesthetics.
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