以形媚道 – Chinese philosophy and culture

yǐ xínɡ mèi dào 以形媚道

Natural Shapes Adapting to Dao

山水以其外在形貌亲近与契合“道”。南朝画家宗炳(375—443)在《画山水序》中发挥孔子“仁者乐山,智者乐水”的思想,认为山水不仅向人类竞相展示了大自然的造化之功,也向人类婉转展示了宇宙天地的变化规律,因而为有德行的人所喜爱。这一术语表现出六朝人的山水审美观念。

Mountains and rivers accord with Dao by way of their shapes. Zong Bing(375-443), a painter of the Southern Song Dynasty, in his “On the Creation of Landscape Paintings” expanded on a saying by Confucius – “A virtuous man loves mountains and a wise man loves water.” Zong held that mountains and rivers not only displayed their natural splendor to humanity, but also demonstrated the natural law of changes. Therefore, they were loved by men of virtue. This term shows the aesthetic view of people in the period of the Six Dynasties.

引例 Citation:

◎子曰:“知者乐水,仁者乐山;知者动,仁者静;知者乐,仁者寿。”(《论语·雍也》)

(孔子说:“有智慧的人喜爱水,有德行的人喜爱山;有智慧的人懂得变通,有德行的人心境平和。有智慧的人快乐,有德行的人长寿。”)

Confucius said, “A wise man loves water, a virtuous man loves mountains. A wise man knows how to adapt himself to the environment; a virtuous man stays peaceful in mind. A wise man is happy; a virtuous man enjoys longevity.” (The Analects)

◎夫圣人以神法道,而贤者通;山水以形媚道,而仁者乐。不亦几乎?(宗炳《画山水序》)

(圣人精神上效法道,而德才杰出的人可以通达于道;山水以其自然形质婉转契合道,使仁者对之喜爱。这难道不是很微妙吗?)

Sages follow Dao with their spirit. Men of virtue and talent may comprehend and practice Dao. Mountains and rivers conform to Dao through their natural shapes. That is why they are loved by benevolent people. Isn’t this subtle and profound? (Zong Bin: On the Creation of Landscape Paintings)

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