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[Vol.19 (2013)] The Lure of Confucianism in East Asian Art
Author : SUN Seung-hye
Date : 20.01.29
Page : 1-2
Keyword :
Abstract :

One of the most challenging issues that must be faced in the East
Asian Art is the question of visualization of morality based on
Confucianism. At a glance, the concept of morality is vague and
ambiguous. Arguments on the visual art of East Asia, however, would
help remove its vagueness and ambiguity to a certain degree. The
question of whether Confucian ethics has a visual image often invites
us three examples: calligraphy, painting, and gardening.
The first application is the theory of calligraphy as a visual image
to measure any alleged conception of morality. According to Nakkyu
Park's analysis, the written words of China are especially valued since
they are created for divinatory and practical purposes; gradually, they
achieved the form of beauty and developed into a main branch of
traditional Chinese art. Park argues that in the process of calligraphy’s
rise to the status of art, the world of aesthetic value pursued in the
development of ancient Chinese art is closely related to human moral
values. The tradition of Confucianism played a leading role since ancient
times in the progressive relationship between ‘elegance’ and
‘worldliness,’ or moral values and aesthetic values in Chinese culture,
maintaining their mutual support and antagonism.
The second case goes to painting, focusing on the portrait of
Confucian scholars. Seunghye Sun argues that a Chinese Neo-Confucian
scholar Zhu Xi (1130~1200)’s portrait functioned as the standard image of
Confucian scholars who required the authority and endorsement of
morality from the 17th to 19th century Korea and Japan. Sun presents a
theory of how Confucian scholars individually composed their self
portraits, which we define as the imitation of self-cultivated morality.
Korean and Japanese Confucian scholars composed their best-self portrait
through the dress codes that drew on Zhu Xi’s portrait and text

Last case focuses on gardening in Korea. Hee-Soung Park and
Young-Ai Seo discuss the visualization of morality in the garden of
government officials and intellectuals who lived in the political,
economical, and social importance of the Capital Hanyang in the late
Chosŏn period. They borrowed natural landscape into the garden and
appreciated it. At their residences located at the foot of mountains
adjacent to the royal palace, they had a chance to appreciate various
features of landscape and made a rigorous and simple living space
based on the Confucian order. Park and Seo take an example of
Jo-soon Kim (1765-1832), a representative man of power in the late 18th
century and early 19th century in Korea; magnanimous and liberal in
making friends regardless of age and political factions, his residence
Okhojung reflects Confucian dignity and Taoist seclusive tradition.
The effort to understand morality and to become one with it is an
ancient and ongoing aesthetical value in East Asian Art. This issue
aims to open up the discussion on the aesthetical value of
Confucianism by proposing three examples of East Asian Art. The art
appreciation changes into a passage into deeper self-cultivation. Three
essays are devoted to the art of moral cultivation as a means not only
for understanding Confucian harmony but also for a creative
educational activity. The concerns of this issue are broader than simply
documenting historical artifacts. We hope this issue will lead to further
discussions on the aesthetical nature of Confucianism, and in turn,
contribute to the larger understanding and appreciation of various art
forms of the future.

Attachments : 01topic.pdf

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