culture


This is an excerpt from one of my assignments of  last semester, demonstrating

how Guo Xi use San-Yuan三遠“atmospheric perspective” to create distances and spaces.

And this method is  still influential to the methodology of contemporary Chinese landscape painting.

Early Spring (早春圖)

By Guo Xi

dated 1072

ink and light color,on silk

105.8 x 108.1cm

picture: http://www.npm.gov.tw/masterpiece/enlargement.jsp?pic=K2A000053

 

Introduction 

Produced in the Northern Song dynasty(960-1127), a period with well-developed brushwork and composition, Early Spring is a quintessence to present the landscape painting style of this“Great age of Chinese landscape” and Guo Xi’s principles of landscape painting.

Guo Xi (after1000-c.1090ce) was a staff served in a court institution of academy, so-called a court painter. Systematizing his own views on painting, he was not only the emperor- Shengzong’s(宋神宗)favorite painter but also considered as one of the greatest painters of China. His treatise “ Lofty Messages of Streams and Mountains” has made a significant contribution to Chinese traditional landscape, proposing the idea of San-Yuan三遠“atmospheric perspective1”which is a skill to create the illusion of space and distance. I would further analyze this and other significances of this master piece in the following sections.

The main object in Early Spring is mountains. Mountain has become a prominent feature and motif in Chinese landscape painting after the Tang dynasty(618–906) collapsed and people withdrew from the society to the mountains in order to escape from the upheaval, commune with the nature and seek enjoyments. Early Spring depicted the renewal of the nature after ,winter with details ,refinedly.


Creating Distances

Guo Xi innovated the technique of “atmospheric perspective” which was influential in later Chinese landscape painting. The three approaches are namely high distant(高遠), deep distance(深遠) and level distance(平遠). These techniques are all included in Early Spring, the most famous work of Guo Xi. The distances enhance the reality and visual effects which emphasize the height and width,creating a vivid and monumental composition.

2.High distant: to create the height of the peak and to view from the bottom of the mountain looking up toward to the top

Level distant:to view the mountain which is far away from the nearby mountain

Deep distant: to create layers and to view from the front into the back

1T.C.Lai, Brushwork in Chinese Landscape Painting (Hong Kong: Chung Hwa Book Company and Swindon Book Company ,1983) p.100

 2. “山有三遠:自山下而仰山顛,謂之高遠;自山前而窺山后,謂之深遠;自近山而望遠山,謂之平遠。” (Lofty Messages of Streams and Mountains ,Gui Xi)

From:Cultural Literacy in the Asian Context

Assignment Two   

Elvis Cheung , Hong Kong, 2011

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From: Hong Kong- France-France-The Philippines-Africa

This is the best party I have ever had.

I’m so happy to meet you guys!

The food we made are really yummy!!

 

Three Cantonese/Chinese food I contributed:

Green Bean Soup with seaweed

Stuffed red/green pepper

Stuffed eggplant

pan frying

and then we got ….wow!

Thank you Maricon’s French orange duck and baguette, Rey’s “home-made” food and wines and

George’s  really-African-food!

Last but not least, my favourite French Toast with Strawberry!Good job, Alain!

 

Thank you Alain! I’m glad to join this party!

 

You two are super funny!you always make me laugh!HAHA

 

The party was amazing because we all come from different countries,

and we could not only share our food but also our experiences and views on different topics,

girls,boys,travelling,languages,bars,careers,gays and lesbians,food,music,countries,politics……

I’m looking forward to meet you guys again!

*Thanks to the guys from Italy and Switzerland who joined us making this night more international! XD

 

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Zhongruan is a member of “ruan”(阮) family. Zhong means middle (size). There are Daruan (big ruan) ,Zhongruan, Xiaoruan (small ruan) and Gaoyin ruan ( high -pitch-ruan) in ruan family.

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Liuqin and Zhongruan are brother and sister because they have the same tuning of their strings ,namly G D G’ D’. And they are both played with a pick.

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Zhongruan’s sound is said to be like guitar’s but I think the sound of Zhongruan is more smooth and is deeper.

Zhongruan is more popular than Liuqin. It is a solo instrument and it plays an important role in the Chinese Orchestra as a bass.

Zhongruan is a traditional instrument but nowadays performers try to play different music with it, like tango.

Let’s watch some videos to know more about it.

Zhongruan concerto

Zhongruan duet

Chopsticks have been  the most essential eating utensil for the Chinese since the ancient time .

They are old and traditional but you can’t deny that they are very convenient and clever!

If  you have a meal in a Chinese restaurant, forget the fork and try to use chopsticks !

Steps to hold and use chopsticks 

1. Put a pair of chopsticks on your hand, between your thumb and index finger

2. Hold them with your thumb and index finger

3. Put your middle finger between the two chopsticks

4. Support the chopstick (the one in the right hand side) by

touching it with your ring finger and little finger.

5. Pay attention to the position  you hold the chopsticks.

It’s hard to use chopsticks if you  place them too low.

6. This is an exemplar

7. When you want to pick up the food ,move your index and middle finger .

A short demonstration here,let’s see how to pick up something by using chopsticks 😛

How to use chopsticks from mypezzo on Vimeo.

When you see these words :

Are you thinking how to write them?
To write a chinese character is not as difficult as you think, because there are 8 rules for stroke order.

Keep them in mind!

You can also write a Chinese character in a proper way!

Stroke order 

1.From top to bottom

2.From left to right

3.From middle to sides

4. From outside to inside

5.Inside before closing

6. Horizontal before other strokes

7.Main body before tying it all together

8.Main body before the dot

Let’s try some simple words:

from top to bottom

from top to bottom (exception: not horizontal first)

from left to right ,from outside to inside, inside before closing

More then 2 order rules should be applied to most of the Chinese characters,some Chinese characters may have more then 20 strokes, and you can imagine that how many rules they may concluded. However, these 8 rules cannot cover all of the Chinese characters because there are some exceptions. These special cases are more complicated and I won’t mention them here. The 8 rules above are useful and should be enough for beginners to write most of the words.

In Hong Kong , even China, many students write Chinese character with a wrong order.Writing with a wrong order is not about  grammatical mistakes and it will not affect the meaning of a character.However, the order rule is a key to write a proper , beautiful and neat character. Handwriting can reflect one’s characteristic and Chinese people always appreciate/respect the one who has good handwriting.

Follow the 8 stroke rules and try to write these words youself!

你 (YOU) ; 去 (GO TO) ; 天(SKY) ; 串(A STRING OF/CONNECT) ;田(FARMLAND) ; 有(HAVE)

Let me know which rules you are going to apply!See if you have this talent to learn Chinese!

Challenging exercise: