颂赞 – Chinese philosophy and culture

sòngzàn 颂赞

Extolment and Commendation

歌颂、赞扬美好的人物、事物、功德、品行等,并弘扬其积极意义和正面价值的文体。“颂”本指仪容,作为文体名称,有“描摹仪容”“颂扬”双重含义,意思是通过描写仪容状貌颂扬人的德行;“赞”是赞美,用于对人的功德或美好事物的赞美与评价。二者的共同点都是以歌颂赞美为宗旨,篇幅简短,句式整齐,多用韵文。南朝刘勰(465?—520)高度推崇颂赞文学的思想性和教化功能,认为“颂”的对象已由神明、帝王扩展到普通人,“颂”的范围已由国家大事扩展到一切美好事物;“赞”同时有评价的功用,通过积极、肯定的评价可以提升赞美的意义。在中国文学中,“颂”“赞”不仅可以独立成文,而且常常附着于各类文艺、新闻作品,这些作品以歌颂或正面评价的方式,在中华思想文化系统中传播着正能量。

Essays of extolment and commendation were written to pay tribute to laudable persons, things, merits and virtues, thus promoting their positive influence. The purpose of both an extolment and a commendation is to exalt good persons and things. Such essays are short, neatly patterned and rhymed. Liu Xie (465?-520) of the Southern Dynasties valued the intellectual and educational value of extolment and commendation essays. He found that the objects of extolment had extended from gods, emperors and kings to ordinary people and the scope of extolment was no longer limited to state affairs; it had been extended to cover all beautiful things. To him, an essay of commendation also functions as an evaluation and a positive evaluation enhances the significance of commendation. In Chinese literature, writings of extolment or commendation are not only essays in their own right; they are sometimes attached to various literary works or even news reports. These works, through extolment and positive evaluation, promote the traditional Chinese thought and culture.

引例 Citations:

◎四始之至,颂居其极。颂者,容也,所以美盛德而述形容也。(刘勰《文心雕龙·颂赞》

(《风》《小雅》《大雅》《颂》表现王道兴衰的起始,代表着诗歌的最高意义,而《颂》在其中更具有终极的意义。“颂”是形容状貌的意思,指通过描述形容状貌来赞美伟大的德行。)

The “Ballads from the States,” “Minor Court Hymns,” “Major Court Hymns,” and “Hymns of Extolment” trace the rise and decline of the kingly way, and they represent the loftiest realm of poetry. Of all these, the “Hymns of Extolment” are of the greatest poetic significance. Song (颂) originally means demeanor; it then goes on to mean “extolment of great virtues through a depiction of demeanor.” (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎原夫颂惟典雅,辞必清铄。敷写似赋,而不入华侈之区;敬慎如铭,而异乎规戒之域。揄扬以发藻,汪洋以树义。(刘勰《文心雕龙·颂赞》)

(推求颂文的写作,要求内容典美雅正,文辞清新明丽。铺叙描写接近赋,但不会到过分华丽浮夸的地步;庄重谨慎如铭文,但又不同于后者的规劝警诫。它是本着颂扬的宗旨来展开文辞,着眼宏大的内容来确立意义。)

By definition, an essay of extolment should be refined and proper in content and refreshing and elegant in style. Its narration should resemble rhapsodic prose but should not indulge in verbosity. Its solemn and prudent style should resemble that of an epigraph but should not contain admonition. An essay of extolment is written to pay homage to the goodness of a person or a thing, focusing on major accomplishments to highlight its significance. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎然本其为义,事生奖叹,所以古来篇体,促而不广,必结言于四字之句,盘桓乎数韵之辞;约举以尽情,昭灼以送文,此其体也。(刘勰《文心雕龙·颂赞》)

(由“赞”的本义来看,它产生于对人或事物的赞美与感叹,所以自古以来,赞的篇幅都很短小,一定是用四言诗句,长短在几个韵之间。简明扼要地讲清情由,明白鲜亮地结束文辞,这就是它的写作要点。)

By definition, commendation means praise or admiration. Since ancient times, essays of commendation have been brief, with poetic lines of only four characters each, and the whole essay contains no more than a few rhymed stanzas. It sets out the facts succinctly and ends on a clear-cut and forceful note. These are the essential rules for writing an essay of commendation. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

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