不似之似 – Chinese philosophy and culture

bùsìzhīsì 不似之似

Dissimilar in Form but Similar in Spirit

指艺术作品不刻意追求外形与描写对象的酷似,而是在传神达意上达到更高程度的相似。也说“不似而似”。唐宋元绘画理论重视“神似”超过“形似”,到了明代,以石涛(1641—1718?)为代表的画论观点,反对自矜神韵的重意轻形,亦反对刻意求似。他们认为最理想的状态是“不似之似”,“不似”是指笔情恣意,脱离陈旧套路,不过于追求外形的真实;“似”是指以生活真实为基础,而臻于传神写意的真实。不似之似相当于在艺术真实与生活真实中达到巧妙的平衡。

This happens when artists do not aim deliberately for virtual replica in form between works of art and the objects depicted but make every effort to achieve a resemblance in spirit. This is also known as “dissimilar in form but similar in spirit.” The Chinese theory of painting in the Tang, Song and Yuan dynasties emphasizes resemblance in spirit over similarity in form. The artistic elite represented by Shi Tao (1641-1718?) in the Ming Dynasty objected to both the idea that the artist should emphasize a profound artistic ambience at the expense of formal resemblance, and the idea that the artist’s sole duty is to blindly imitate the form. They believe that an ideal work of art is both “dissimilar and yet similar at the same time.” “Dissimilar” means that an artist should paint with free will, discarding outdated practices, and not excessively pursuing resemblance in form. “Similar” means that painting should be based on true life and artists should strive for similarity in spirit. This principle of allowing for dissimilar form in quest of similar spirit strikes an ingenious balance between artistic reality and the reality of daily life.

引例 Citations:

◎今人或寥寥数笔,自矜高简,或重床叠屋,一味颟顸。动曰不求形似,岂知古人所云不求形似者,不似之似也。彼繁简失宜者,乌可同年语哉!(王绂《书画传习录》卷四)

(今天的人有的随意画上几笔,就以为自己高远简约了;有的则叠床架屋似的繁杂,一味稀里糊涂。动不动就说不追求形似,不知道古人所说的不追求形似,其实说的是“不似之似”。那些连繁简都处理不当的人,怎么可以和古人相提并论呢!)

Today some painters casually use a few strokes to show their effortless skill and graceful simplicity, while others, muddle-headed as they are, overload their works with complicated structures and details. They always say that they care little about similarity in form, not knowing that artists of ancient times, when saying that they had no appetite for similarity in form, in fact pursued similarity in spirit. How dare those who cannot master either simplicity or complexity compare themselves to great artists! (Wang Fu: Notes on How to Do Painting and Calligraphy)

◎名山许游不许画,画必似之山必怪。变幻神奇懵懂间,不似似之当下拜。(石涛《大涤子题画诗跋》卷一)

(名山只允许你游玩但不允许你画它,你若画得太相似,那样画出的山一定怪异。只有在你懵懂间无法分辨它的神奇变化,所绘之山不似之似,它才会对你俯伏下拜。)

Famous mountains can be visited but not painted. If a painting is too much like the mountain itself, the mountain in the painting will look unnatural. Only when you depict them as mystically muddled, dissimilar in form but similar in spirit, will they seem subdued under your brush. (Shi Tao: Dadizi’s Comments on His Own Poems Inscribed on Paintings)

◎天地浑溶一气,再分风雨四时。明暗高低远近,不似之似似之。(石涛《大涤子题画诗跋》卷一)

(天地浑然融合一体,再区分为风雨四季。有明有暗,有高有低,有远有近,只有做到了不似之似,才是真正的相似。)

Sky and earth blend into a harmonious whole, distinguished only by the cycle of the four seasons. Artists should use brighter and darker colors to make objects look appropriately high or low, far or near. Genuine similarity is similarity in substance despite dissimilarity in form. (Shi Tao: Dadizi’s Comments on His Own Poems Inscribed on Paintings)

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