Quiet Tides Enable Day’s Sleep, Woken to Realize Rising Waves at Night
—On Art of Song Dynasty
Hi Art April, 2013
Chinese art has gone through thousands of years. Song Dynasty can be seen as its midpoint. The art in that period is worth our particular attention since its literature including drama and music is all original. Unlike nowadays, everything is either learned or borrowed from others. As a result, we can’t even dare to show who we really are, only blindly following like a stupid dog.
Song Dynasty is one of the two most long-lasting historical periods in China as well as an affluent one. Its GDP accounted for 80 percent of the world. People lived a preposterous life without frequent domestic turmoil. Though Liao and Jin in the north sometimes launch attacks, its defense budget had been none for many years. Following Han and Tang Dynasties, the people in the Song Dynasty are more calm and reserved. The art descended from the former two dynasties grew more elegant and graceful. The western media selected 100 people who had made significant contributions to human development over the past thousand years in the late 1990s. It turned out that Fan Kuan, a well known landscape painter of the Song Dynasty, was the only Chinese artist made to the list.
Figurer painting in Song Dynasty was also well developed. It boasts masters as Li Gonglin, Liang Kai, Su Hanchen, Li Song, Li Tang and Zhang Zeduan. Liang Kai, also known as a crazy man, is bold and unconstrained. He loves drinking and practicing meditation. Splash Ink Immortal is his master work. Mr. Liang created “cut-pen” and “splash-ink” with few strokes and simple structures, making him a master. Li Gonglin, also surnamed Bo Shi, boasts his masterpiece Five Horses. He is a painter pays special attention to people’s innermost being. In technique, he draws the outline with single line and don’t color, creatively developed traditional paintings’ lines and many painters today still follow his practice.
In literature, following The Songs of Chu, poetry in the Han Dynasty and the Tang Dynasty, iambic verses became mature in the Song Dynasty. For example, Ouyang Xiu, Liu Yong, Su Shi, Qin Guan, Xin Qiji and Li Qingzhao are all famous lyric writers. Liu Yong was so well known that where there is a well, there is his verses, such as the familiar sentence --“since time immemorial, lovers have grieved at parting”, much more popular than today’s pop songs. For Su Shi, he covered a broader subject which basically involved everything. “Bold and unconstrained, not to cater to rhythm, you feel the wind and storm approaching after singing his lyrics.” Lu You once pointed out in Jottings from Laoxue An. Prose also thrived during this period. “Eight Prose Masters of the Tang and Song Dynasties” refer to Ouyang Xiu, Wang Anshi, Su Shi, Zeng Gong, Su Xun, Su Zhe of the Song Dynasty and Han Yu and Liu Zongyuan of the Tang Dynasty. The Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties later all praise highly of those eight masters but they mainly followed the example of the Song Dynasty. Zaju (poetic drama set to music) and Shuochang (a genre of populalr entertainment consisting mainly of talking and singing) also developed with master pieces like The Strung Ancient Chinese Music of the Romance of West Chamber and Biography of Yingying. What’s more, there were 200 volumes of musical theory works Book on Music.
The Chinese ceramic techniques with simple and low-profile styles came to peak in this period. There were there major colors: green, white and black and several well known types: Ruyao (made in Henan), ting ware, kuan yao porcelain (made at the foot of Fenghuang Mountain in Lin’an, a court kiln, porcelain with crackled glaze, ware made in Jingde County and Jun kiln(made in Henan). The last one, Jun kiln was especially a sign of wealth. It’s said that even a piece of it worths a lot fortune. All major museums around the world are eager to have some porcelain of the Song Dynasty.
Europe came to the dawn of Renaissance at the end of the Song Dynasty. 200 years later, oil paintings came to life in Netherlands; 220 years later, America was discovered by Columbus; 700 years later, Abstract Art, Pop Art, Installation and Performance Art were born successively.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
昼眠知浪静 夜语觉潮生 ——聊聊宋代的艺术
宋代是中国历史上时间最长两个朝代之一，也是最富裕的几个历史时期之一，当年的国民生产总值（GDP）占全世界的百分之八十。宋少有内乱民间富薮百姓安居乐业，虽有北方辽金骚扰，国防预算占GDP的比例多年为零。由汉唐两个盛世过来宋人显得不那么咋呼，多了份从容含蓄。由汉唐所积淀下来的文化艺术到了宋代变得低调，优雅，精致大气。上世纪九十年代末西方媒体评选一千年来全球一百位为人类进步作出重大贡献的人，范宽是唯一的中国艺术家。 范宽, 宋代著名山水画家。