丹青 – Chinese philosophy and culture

dānqīng 丹青

Painting in Colors

丹和青是中国古代绘画常用的两种颜色,早期中国画常用丹砂、青雘(huò)一类矿物颜料“勾线填色”,因而用“丹青”代指绘画。代表性的丹青作品有西汉马王堆一号墓帛画,北魏、隋唐时期的敦煌壁画等。后丹青逐渐为水墨所代替。由于丹青颜色鲜艳绚丽,且不易褪色,古代用丹册纪勋、青史纪事。史家多以丹青比喻一个人功勋卓著,永载史册,不会磨灭。

Dan (丹 cinnabar) and qing (青 cyan) were two colors frequently applied in traditional Chinese painting. Cinnabar is red and cyan is bluish green. In early times, Chinese paintings often used minerals such as cinnabar and cyan to draw lines or fill in colors. Hence the term danqing (丹青) made from the combination of dan and qing could stand for painting in general. Representative works of this kind included silk paintings unearthed at Tomb No.1 of Mawangdui of the Han Dynasty as well as the Dunhuang frescoes of the Northern Wei period and the Sui and Tang dynasties. Later, colors made from cinnabar and cyan were gradually replaced by ink and wash. Partly because of their bright, contrastive colors, and partly because mineral colors do not deteriorate appreciably over time, people used red-character books to record merits and bluish-green-character books to record historical events. Historians often use danqing to refer to a man’s outstanding, indelible work that deserves to be put down in history.

引例 Citations:

◇(顾恺之)尤善丹青,图写特妙。谢安深重之,以为有苍生以来未之有也。(《晋书·顾恺之传》)

(顾恺之尤其擅长绘画,画出来的人物奇特精妙。谢安非常器重他,认为他是自有人类以来从未有过的杰出画家。)

Gu Kaizhi was particularly skillful in painting. The figures he portrayed are amazingly vivid and lovely. Xie An held him in high esteem, and regarded him as superior to all other artists, past and present. (The History of the Jin Dynasty)

◇故丹青画其形容,良史载其功勋。(曹丕《与孟达书》)

(是以画家画下他的相貌,史家记载他的功劳。)

Thus a painter portrays a person’s physical features, just as a historian records his accomplishments. (Cao Pi: A Letter to Meng Da)

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