以形写神 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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yǐ xínɡ xiě shén 以形写神

Capture the Spirit Beyond Form

画家通过刻画外形来表现其内在精神。东晋画家顾恺之强调形与神的对应关系,他既重视外形的刻画,同时倡导由外形进而表现对象内在的精神气质,认为表现精神气质是绘画创作的最高要求。同时要求画者捕捉到最能代表对象内在精神的外形特征。这一见解对后世文艺创作影响很大。

Painters depict physical appearances to reveal the essence. Gu Kaizhi, a painter of the Eastern Jin dynasty, lays great emphasis on the correspondence between the essence and physical forms: He depicts the appearance of objects in great detail, which embodies their spiritual disposition. He believes this is the highest requirement of painting. He urges painters to capture those outward features that best reveal the spiritual attributes of the objects depicted. This view has exerted a great influence on later artistic endeavors.

引例 Citations:

◎凡生人,亡有手揖眼视而前亡所对者。以形写神,而空其实对,荃生之用乖,传神之趋失矣。(顾恺之《魏晋胜流画赞》)

(大凡活人,若面前没有人,他不会无缘故地望着作揖。绘画是通过形体来表现其内在精神的,如果没有实实在在的对象,那就背离了绘画用来描摹物象的功用,也丧失了用来表现物象内在精神的宗旨。)

A living person will not look ahead and make a bow without any reason, unless there is someone in front of him. Painting shows the essence of something by depicting its physical form and features. Lack of concrete objects can make a painting deviate from its function of portraying images and lose the goal of manifesting an object’s innermost spirit. (Gu Kaizhi: In Praise of Renowned Paintings of the Wei and Jin Dynasties)

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