书道 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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shūdào 书道

The Way of Calligraphy

指通过书法创作追求身心合一进而体悟宇宙与生命真谛的艺术境界。受孔子(前551—前479)“志于道,据于德,依于仁,游于艺”的思想影响,尤其是庄子(前369?—前286)“技进乎道”的美学精神导引,书家对书法有更高的艺术追求,希望超越书法的形式与技艺,达到“道”的境界。因唐代书家重视书写的笔法、技法,故改称“书法”。“书法”是“书道”的初级阶段,属于技法的、有形的、“形而下”的范畴;“书道”是“书法”的最高阶段,属于普遍的、抽象的、“形而上”的范畴。“书道”这一术语后来传至日本,被赋予了更多修身、养性、悟道等方面的内容,这些又影响了中国近现代书法艺术的发展。

This term refers to an artistic state wherein a calligraphic artist pursues a unity between body and soul through calligraphic creation, so that he may embrace the truths about the universe and life. It was influenced by Confucius (551-479 BC) who said: “[Cultivated people] aspire to follow the great Way, act according to morality, have compassion for all fellow humans and are well versed in various arts and skills.” It was influenced even more by Zhuangzi’s (369? -286 BC) aesthetic view, “If we can achieve perfection in a particular area of skill, we come close to the great Way itself.” The calligrapher aims higher than the mere art of calligraphy, aspiring to attain the great Way by transcending calligraphy as a mere skill or form of art. By the Tang Dynasty, because calligraphers put more emphasis on the different forms and skills of calligraphy, they started to use a new term “calligraphic technique.” Calligraphic technique represented an initial stage of calligraphy – a tangible, superficial and somewhat “lower” level. The calligraphic Way, on the other hand, was an advanced stage of calligraphic technique, paying attention to universal, abstract and therefore much “higher” aspects of calligraphy. This latter concept spread to Japan and took on the broader implications of self-cultivation and enlightenment later on. It, in turn, influenced the development of modern Chinese calligraphic art.

引例 Citations:

◎唐中叶以后,书道下衰之际,故弗多得云。(黄伯思《东观余论·跋叚(xiá)柯古靖居寺碑后》)

(唐代中期之后,书道开始走向衰落,故而上乘书作不可多得。)

After the mid-Tang Dynasty, the way of calligraphy started to decline, and excellent works of calligraphy became scarcely available. (Huang Bosi: A Chief of Imperial Archives’ Other Works Appended to a Collection of Essays)

◎隶书生于篆书,而实是篆之不肖子,何也?篆书一画、一直、一钩、一点,皆有义理,所谓指事、象形、谐声、会意、转注、假借是也,故谓之“六书”。隶既变圆为方,改弦易辙,全违父法,是六书之道由隶而绝。(钱泳《履园丛话·书学》)

(隶书由篆书生发出来,实际上是篆书的不肖之子,为什么这么说呢?篆书的一画、一直、一钩、一点,都蕴藏着义理规律,即通常所说的指事、象形、谐声、会意、转注、假借,故而称之为“六书”。隶书将篆书圆润的书写形态变为方正,全然改变篆书的结构规律,违背了篆书的造字方法,所以六书所蕴含的造字规律由隶书而开始断绝了。)

Clerical script was derived from seal script. It was an “unfilial son” of seal script. Why? In seal script, the execution of each horizontal or vertical line, hook or dot is governed by certain reasons and laws. They are ideographic, pictographic, ideophonetic, associative compound, or with transferred meaning and borrowed meaning, hence the term “six ways of constituting characters.” The clerical script, by changing seal script from smooth roundness to angular abruptness, transforms the structural pattern altogether and violates the methodology of forming seal script. Thus, the reasons and laws implicit in the six ways of forming characters became lost as clerical script came to prevail. (Qian Yong: Collected Writings on the Study of Calligraphy at Lüyuan)

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