文质 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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wénzhì 文质

Form and Content

人或事物的表现与实质。”质”指人或事物所具有的实质内容、意义,“文”则指表现出的形式、样态。儒家常用“文质”来指称“礼”的表现与实质。外在的“文”应以“质”为基础,背离基础而追求形式会导致虚饰浮华。同时,“文”也是不可缺少的,内在的“质”需要通过“文”来获得呈现。“质”和“文”应相互匹配。

People and things both exist in form and content, with content representing their essence and form representing their appearance. Confucian scholars often used “form and content” to describe the display and the substance of rites. The external “form” must be based on the internal “content” because form pursued in isolation from content will be ostentatious. At the same time, form is indispensable for presenting internal content. Form must suit and correspond to content.

引例 Citations:

◎子曰:“质胜文则野,文胜质则史。文质彬彬,然后君子。”(《论语·雍也》)

(孔子说:“实质多于文饰则会言行粗野,文饰多于实质则会虚饰浮华。形式与实质配合适当,然后能成就君子的品格。”)

Confucius said, “When one’s inner disposition is in excess of his outward grace, he will look uncultured; when one’s outward grace is in excess of his inner disposition he will seem to be superficial. Only when his inner disposition and outward grace are in balance can he be a man of virtue.” (The Analects)

◎然凡物之理,必先有质而后有文,则质乃礼之本也。(朱熹《论语集注》)

(然而大凡事物的规则,必然先有实质而后有表现,那么实质的意义就是礼的根本。)

In principle, content precedes form, therefore, content is where the essence of rites lies. (Zhu Xi: The Analects Variorum)

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