疏密 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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shūmì 疏密

Sparsity and Density

由“疏”“密”两个意义相反的词构成,有稀疏与稠密、简略与详细、粗疏与精密、宽松与严密、疏远与亲密等含义。在书法绘画等艺术批评中,疏密主要指结构或布局方面的安排以及笔墨运用的浓淡粗细等。在文学批评中,“疏”与“密”经常联用,“疏”义为疏荡、疏阔、粗略等,多指诗文创作中的随意、粗疏、不严密;“密”义为精密、严密、紧凑等,多指诗文创作中在构思、逻辑、用语等方面严谨周密,有时亦指密集堆砌的毛病。中国古人认为,“疏”与“密”对立统一,好的作品在结构、布局上应当疏密相间。

This concept consists of several pairs of opposites: sparsity and density, brevity and thoroughness, roughness and precision, flexibility and rigor, and estrangement and intimacy. In the artistic criticism of painting and calligraphy, the term is used to mainly describe the structural arrangement, general layout, as well as dark or light, thick or thin execution of strokes in these two art forms. In literary criticism, “sparsity” and “density” often occur together. “Sparsity” means carefree, rough or sketchy. It refers especially to thoughtlessness, carefreeness or looseness in the creation of prose and poetry. “Density” means meticulous, tight or compact. It often refers to rigor and thoroughness in theme development, logic, and wording in the creation of prose and poetry, and occasionally to the demerit of piling too many words up for no good reason. Ancient Chinese believed that sparsity and density represent a unity of opposites. A good work of art should balance density with sparsity in both structure and layout.

引例 Citations:

◎试笔成文,临池染墨,疏密俱巧,真草皆得,似望城扉,如瞻星石。(萧纲《答湘东王上王羲之书》)

([王羲之]下笔成文,在砚池边蘸墨挥毫,无论是疏朗还是精密都很巧妙,真书、草书都精心写就,其静处如同远观城门,其动处好似瞻望天上的陨星。)

Wang Xizhi wrote swiftly and skillfully, dipping his brush in the concave inkstone from time to time. His calligraphic writing, whether sparingly or densely spaced, looks truly beautiful. Both his regular script and cursive script were written with immense care. In repose, his flow of words can be likened to watching a city gate from far away. In motion, it can be likened to watching a meteorite in the sky. (Xiao Gang: In Answer to Prince Xiangdong for Kindly Presenting Me with a Calligraphic Work by Wang Xizhi)

◎古无真正楷书……至国朝,文征仲先生始极意结构,疏密匀称,位置适宜。(谢肇淛(zhè)《五杂组》卷七)

(古代没有真正的楷书……到我们明朝,文征明先生才开始致力于书体结构,他的作品无论疏朗、严密都非常匀称,位置适当。)

There was no real regular script in ancient times… It was not until the Ming Dynasty that Wen Zhengming started to explore rules governing the structure of characters in calligraphy. His works feature a perfect balance between sparsity and density. Each stroke is in its proper place. (Xie Zhaozhe: An Orderly Narration on Five Assorted Offerings)

◎词贵疏密相间。(陈廷焯《词坛丛话》)

(词的写作贵在疏朗与严密相互交错。)

The merit of ci poetry composition rests on the balance of sparsity and density. (Chen Tingzhuo: Random Remarks on Ci Poetry Creation)

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