Home >> Hot Issue

Home is where the art is

Updated: 2024-01-06 09:46 ( China Daily )
Share - WeChat

The kind of beauty Jiangnan had embraced and embodied was a sophisticated one, informed by an elegant lifestyle championed by society's educated members. Playing a major role in the formation of the aesthetic and literary traditions of Jiangnan, this group infused their endeavors with a sense of poetry.

One particular exhibit drenched in that tradition is a rubbing made of a piece of prose carved into a cliff face in the Jiangnan town of Zhenjiang, between the 5th and 6th centuries. The original calligraphy, on which the carving was based, is attributed by some scholars to Tao Hongjing (456-536), a calligrapher-alchemist who was also a devoted Taoist.

In the article of 168 characters, titled Yi He Ming (Eulogy to the Burial of a Crane), the author laments, "Did Heaven not allow me to roam the cosmos as I wish? Why take away my crane so quickly?"

Held in high esteem for its calligraphic and literary value, the carving, now housed in a local museum, has spawned many different versions of rubbing over time, including the one on display at the exhibition, made during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and currently within the collection of the Nanjing Museum.

"Some versions contain more words, some fewer — the cliff face was half immersed in water and the changing water levels may reveal or conceal part of the piece," says Yang.

In other words, water had a role to play in the artistic process, as it has often been in this part of China.

According to Yang, the prose, from a Taoist believer about an animal considered a Taoist symbol of immortality, could be rightfully viewed as a piece of religious art. Throughout a large part of the history of Jiangnan, Taoism and Buddhism coexisted in harmony.

|<< Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next   >>|
Hot words
Most Popular