化工、画工 – Chinese philosophy and culture

huàɡōnɡ, huàɡōnɡ 化工、画工

Magically Natural, Overly Crafted

品评文学艺术作品风格自然与否的术语。“化工”指作品的工巧自然天成,毫无雕琢痕迹,达到了出神入化的地步;“画工”则是指作品的工巧由刻意雕琢而成,技巧虽高明,但缺乏自然韵味。“化工”是艺术家的作品,“画工”可以说是匠人的作品。这个评价标准,由明代李贽《杂说》提出,与他所提倡的写文章要有真情、真心是一致的。从文化渊源上来说,“画工”与“化工”的区分,其实来自道家的纯任自然、弃绝机巧的思想。明代文士大都倡导文艺放任天然,否定雕琢模仿的创作立场。

The expressions are about the naturalness of literary and artistic works. The first one, “magically natural,” means that a literary or artistic work is completed naturally and achieves the acme of perfection without any sign of craft. The second, “overly crafted,” means that a work is meticulously crafted, but it is overly elaborate in style while lacking naturalness and spontaneity. “Magically natural” is used to refer to works accomplished by artists while “overly crafted” is used to describe works done by craftsmen. These two standards were proposed by Ming writer Li Zhi in his “Random Thoughts,” which echoed his idea that writings must reflect the author’s true sentiments. Culturally, the distinction between “magically natural” and “overly crafted” is rooted in the Daoist thought of being harmonious with nature while forsaking excessive skills. Most Ming scholars favored literary naturalism and rejected elaboration and imitation.

引例 Citations:

◎吴生虽妙绝,犹以画工论。摩诘得之于象外,有如仙翮谢樊笼。吾观二子皆神俊,又于维也敛衽无间言。(苏轼《王维、吴道子画》)

(吴道子的技巧虽然绝妙,只能说是画工之作。王维的高妙之处则是超越了所描绘的物象,就像仙鸟离飞笼子。我看这两位技法都很高超,对于王维则更钦敬,没有任何可挑剔之处。)

Wu Daozi had superb technical skills, but his paintings were over crafted. What is remarkable about Wang Wei is that he gave free rein to his imagination in his paintings, like a bird that had broken free from its cage. Both of them were highly skilled, but I like Wang Wei better; I can find no fault in his works. (Su Shi: The Paintings of Wang Wei and Wu Daozi)

◎《拜月》《西厢》,化工也;《琵琶》,画工也。夫所谓画工者,以其能夺天地之化工,而其孰知天地之无工乎?(李贽《杂说》)

(《拜月亭》《西厢记》属于“化工”之作,《琵琶记》则是“画工”之作。之所以称“画工”,是人们认为它能够取代天地的造化之功,可是,谁知道天地本就没有这样的造化之工呢?)

The Pavilion of Moon Worship and Romance of the West Chamber were works of magical naturalness, whereas The Story of the Lute was an overly crafted work. The latter shows that an attempt made to outdo the magic of nature has proved impossible to achieve. (Li Zhi: Random Thoughts)

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