丰肉微骨 – Chinese philosophy and culture

fēng ròu wēi gǔ 丰肉微骨

Fleshy Body and Soft Bone Structure

原指女性身材娇小、肌肉丰腴而身段柔软,后用于书画品评,指运笔丰肥、媚浮而骨力纤弱。“骨”即骨法,指笔势或结构上的清劲雄健;“肉”指线条的丰肥、妍媚无力或浓墨重彩。古人强调书画创作应有骨有肉、骨肉匀称,既不失妍美而又雄健有力。因此,“丰肉微骨”是差评,而“丰骨微肉”或“骨丰肉润”则各有千秋。这一术语从人物的鉴赏延伸到艺术作品鉴赏,体现了中国美学概念“近取诸身”的特点。

Originally this term indicated that a woman had a delicate figure, that she was fleshy and limber. Later it was used to judge calligraphy and painting, indicating that the circulation of the writing brush was lavish and vigorous, but that the strength of the bone (structure) was weak. Bone (structure) means skeletal structure, indicating weakness or vigor in the strength of the writing brush and in the structure of the work. “Fleshy” indicates that the lines are sumptuous and charming, but without strength, or that the ink is thick and the colors heavy. In the old days, it was stressed that a work of calligraphy or a painting should have a bone (structure) and be fleshy and that there should be a proper balance between the bone and flesh. There should neither be a lack of elegance nor of vigor and strength. Therefore, “fleshy body and soft bone structure” is regarded as a demerit. But when there is a stout bone structure and soft muscles, or when the bone structure is stout and the muscles are smooth, both are considered desirable. This term shifted from depicting human figures to appreciating art works, giving expression to the Chinese aesthetic concept of “using body parts to describe what is near.”

引例 Citations:

◎丰肉微骨,调以娱只。(屈原《楚辞·大招》)

(身材娇小而丰腴柔美的女人哪,舞姿和谐令人欢快轻松。)

With delicate, fleshy and soft figures, the lady dancers delighted the audience with their performance. (Qu Yuan: Chuci)

◎善笔力者多骨,不善笔力者多肉;多骨微肉者谓之筋书,多肉微骨者谓之墨猪;多力丰筋者圣,无力无筋者病。(卫夫人《笔阵图》)

(笔力强的人,其作品的筋骨多清劲雄健;而笔力弱的人,其作品则是多浓墨。骨法鲜明雄健而着墨少的字叫做“筋书”,用墨浓重而不见骨法的字叫做“墨猪”。筋骨饱满有力的作品最高妙,筋骨少而无力属于很差的作品。)

Those who are good at using the writing brush can create fresh and vigorous calligraphic pieces like a body with strong bone structure, whereas those who are not can only produce inky calligraphic pieces. A vigorous calligraphic work done without much ink is called “a sinewy work,” while a less vigorous piece done with much ink is called “an inky piglet.” A vigorous work is to be highly appreciated, while a less vigorous one is undesirable. (Lady Wei: The Picture of Ink Brush)

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