Different Approaches to Chinese Aesthetics

Fang Dongmei and Xu Fuguan

  • Téa Sernelj University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia
Keywords: Fang Dongmei, Xu Fuguan, Chinese aesthetic, the spirit of Chinese art, Taiwanese philosophy, Modern Confucianism


The article introduces Fang Dongmei’s and Xu Fuguan’s ideas about aesthetics and examines their different methodological approaches. Fang Dongmei and Xu Fuguan are both representatives of the second generation of Modern Taiwanese Confucianism. The fundamental goal of this significant movement is to re-evaluate and re-examine the profound contents of Chinese thought in contemporary socio-political conditions through a dialogue with Western philosophy. The representatives of Modern Confucianism of the 20th century hoped that the encounter with the Western intellectual tradition would serve as a platform for modernization of Chinese culture on the one hand, and as a way to achieve the recognition of the West for the profound value of the Chinese intellectual tradition on the other. Fang Dongmei was one of the first representatives of this movement who was trained in Western and Chinese philosophy, and hence built his own philosophical theory on the encounter of both, while Xu Fuguan was one of the first who engaged in a dialogue with the West in the field of Chinese aesthetics. The present article illuminates the profound differences in their basic methods: while Fang Dongmei’s elaboration upon Chinese art and aesthetics is based on philosophical and poetic approaches, Xu Fuguan’s comprehension is grounded on philological, historical and cultural analyses. The author argues that such mutual differences between their ideas show their reciprocal complementarity, which in turn provides a more profound and clear understanding of the specific spirit of Chinese art.


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How to Cite
SerneljT. (2020). Different Approaches to Chinese Aesthetics. Asian Studies, 8(3), 161-182. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.3.161-182