Many people cannot distinguish the similarities and differences between Chinese landscape painting and Western landscape painting.

Although both paint landscapes, they are fundamentally different.

I will not talk about the difference in tools, materials and expression methods between the two for the time being, but only in terms of ideological expression. Western landscape paintings mainly represent the real scene, and can play a decorative role when hung, while Chinese landscape paintings are endowed with more ideas and cannot be simply understood as decoration.


  When it comes to how to appreciate a Chinese landscape painting, the word "recumbent travel" is the most commonly used.

It is said that Zong Bing in the Southern and Northern Dynasties traveled in many places in his prime, and when he was old, he painted the places he went in his life on the walls, hoping to achieve the effect of clearing the mind and watching Taoism and lying down to travel.

Although people often use the story of Zong Bing to explain the reclining tour, this term may cause some people to misunderstand that the reclining tour is because he is old and has stopped playing. Lying in bed and reminiscing about the scenery he has personally traveled, there is a kind of Nodding by the fire, recalling the feeling of youth.

This is not the case. Reclining travel has little to do with the real landscape. It has a more detached spiritual pursuit and is a spiritual activity that purifies and observes Taoism.

We can appreciate this kind of spiritual activity through the statement in Wang Xizhi's "Orchid Pavilion Preface" of the Eastern Jin Dynasty.

After spending a wonderful day with his friends, Wang Xizhi couldn't help but sigh that time is fleeting and life is short, and then he thought about the true meaning of life and the way to decode it, thinking that life is alive, "Or take it into one's arms and understand it in one room; Or because of the trust, let the waves go outside”, one is static and one is moving, one inward and one outward, although the methods are different, but they can all achieve “happy self-sufficiency, not knowing that old age is coming” at the moment of “happy with what we meet”. boundary.

Looking at the two ways Wang Xizhi said, one seeks from the heart, and the other seeks through the external world.

When appreciating Chinese landscape painting, what Wang Xizhi refers to as “recumbent wandering” is what Wang Xizhi called “taking all the arms and comprehending words in one room”. The process of improving one's own spiritual state.

  How to do sleepovers?

There are some external conditions to be met.

The connoisseur must first steal a half-day leisure time, and let himself be quiet from the outside to the interior.

Literati and doctors have always had a tradition of advocating "leisure". For example, in the Song Dynasty, Su Shi once said that "the wind and the moon in the mountains and rivers are impermanent masters, and the idler is the master".

Collecting calligraphy and painting antiques has always been regarded as a way of life in line with "leisure". Zhao Xihu of the Southern Song Dynasty wrote in "Dongtian Qinglu": "The world of life is like the passing of white horses, and the wind and rain are sorrowful. Those who enjoy leisure are only one in ten ears. Besides, those who know that they can enjoy it are one in two in one hundred. Among the one hundred and one, they often take pleasure in sound and appearance, but they do not know that our generation has their own happiness. Statement. The window is clear and the incense burns in it. The good guests and the jade stand together with each other. Take the pictures of the ancients, watch the birds, seal the snails, watch the mountains and the water, rub the bells, and see the Shang and Zhou Dynasties." "Preface" even takes the "mindfulness" of collecting antiques as a way to measure the character and talent: "The husband flaunts Lin He, tastes wine and tea, collects the history of the location, and belongs to the cup. As a long-term thing, and a person who appreciates people, here is the rhyme, talent and affection." Gao Lian's "Yan Xian Qing Appreciation Notes" of the Ming Dynasty explained the "leisure" in this way: "The heart is free from the labor of hunting, He has no arm-in-arms, avoids the world and escapes his name, and lives in peace with the times. The world is called idle. And the idle gangsters live in meat and eat nothing. Knowing idleness can nourish one's nature, delight one's heart, and enjoy a happy life and longevity." Let yourself be free from busy affairs and calm down, so that you can enter the world of a landscape painting.

  Secondly, the study room should be small, the so-called "room".

If you have been to the Sanxi Hall, the famous study of Emperor Qianlong in the Palace Museum, you will have an intuitive feeling of this "dou room".

In the huge Forbidden City, the Sanxi Hall, which was transformed from the Xinuan Pavilion of the Hall of Mental Cultivation, is only eight square meters in size.

It is conceivable that Qianlong stole half a day of leisure from the busy government affairs, sitting quietly on the couch in this small and elegant room, unfolding scrolls and appreciating calligraphy and painting.

In the Sanxi Hall, the couplet hanging on the wall reads "Looking at the past and present in the arms, and trusting the body and mind", which seems to be an annotation to the word "recumbent travel".

  Thirdly, the exhibition volume is also very particular. In addition to the large-scale barriers such as Guo Xi's "Early Spring" and Fan Kuan's "Journey to Mountains and Streams", the paintings handed down before the Song and Yuan Dynasties are mostly small and delicate scrolls. The long scroll works are more suitable to be appreciated in the room.

When appreciating such a long scroll, one unfolds and rolls it up at the same time. As far as the eye can see, there is always a picture about a foot long, which gives people the impression of "moving and changing scenery", and can savor every tree and every rock. , every stream.

After the middle and late Ming Dynasty, works with large vertical scrolls increased rapidly and were used to hang on walls.

To appreciate these works, there are requirements for the height of the work and the distance between the viewer and the work.

By choosing the appropriate height and distance, the viewer can walk into the landscape world created by the artist according to the artist's settings.

  Of course, in addition to appreciating alone, you can also invite one or two high-ranking scholars to watch together.

In the Ming Dynasty, Zhou Quan wrote a letter to invite Zhou Lianggong to go to an appointment to appreciate paintings. He wrote in the letter: "The room is not very quiet, but it is not dry or wet, and it is quite suitable for sitting and sleeping. Although the paintings hanging in the room are too old, it is Li Ying. Qiu Shiji, Dong Wenmin passed it three times and wrote it three times, and it is quite appreciated by those who know it. The wine is not very clear, but it has been brewing for three years, and drinking too much does not cause cleft lips. Although the owner is old, he is not tired, and he is quite able to spend the night. Enjoying guests." Such an invitation can't help but make people fascinated.

  The ancient masterpieces of calligraphy and painting were not displayed in museums and art galleries as much as they are now. At that time, only a very small number of people were lucky enough to collect and play with these masterpieces.

In the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, the famous painting "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" by the Yuan Dynasty painter Huang Gongwang was collected by Wu Wenqing. Zou Zhilin wrote enviously in the inscription: "What is the relationship between Wenqing, he has been dealing with him for decades and put it away. As a pillow, you need to lie down to get up; Chen Zhi’s seat is right, and you eat and drink. When you are tired, you are refreshed, when you are bored, you are happy, and you are awake when you are drunk." was rescued from the fire by his nephew.

A volume of "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" suffered this catastrophe and was split into two parts. One is in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum and the other is in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

Nowadays, in the era we live in, we can easily see some excellent works of Chinese landscape painting, and some ancient classic paintings can be seen in major museums and art galleries. It is also very subtle, which the ancients are far from being able to compare with us.


  Some people want to ask, even if I meet the above external conditions, it is still difficult to achieve the effect of reclining when appreciating Chinese landscape paintings. What should I do?

  Chinese landscape painting has some major themes through which much the same meaning is conveyed.

For works of the same theme, the painters are also similar in the choice of expression techniques and the construction of the pictures, and convey a certain artistic conception through similar symbols.

After understanding these themes, the viewer and the painter can complete the most basic spiritual communication.

Such common themes include seclusion, farewell, birthday, elegant gathering, waiting for ferry, travel and so on.

We choose two themes of seclusion and farewell to illustrate.

  Recluse is one of the most common themes in Chinese landscape painting.

Tao Yuanming's "Peach Blossom Spring" in the Jin Dynasty has become an image of the literati of all dynasties yearning for a seclusion life.

For thousands of years, I don’t know how many people have had the thought of going into seclusion. Unfortunately, in the troubled times, it is inevitable that they cannot avoid the feeling of seclusion; Being understood by the world, sometimes there will be the urge to "Laugh at the sky and go out" in my heart, I want to go on a trip if I say go; Taking a tortuous road... For various reasons, seclusion has become a theme often expressed in poetry, calligraphy and painting.

Yuan Dynasty painter Wang Meng's "Seclusion in Qingbian" is one of the representative works of this kind of theme.

Wang Meng was the grandson of Zhao Mengfu, a famous calligrapher and painter in the Yuan Dynasty.

In this painting, the dense mountains surround an inward world at the upper left of the painting. This is a secluded world and an ideal other shore.

At the same time, the world at the bottom right of the picture, which is isolated by the mountains, symbolizes the external reality, which is the shore of reality.

When appreciating this work, the viewer is set by the painter as a person standing on this shore, and his eyes can not help but follow the clues set by the painter, gradually crossing the depths of the dense forest, and through the rolling mountains, he finally discovers a unique world on the other side.

Appreciating it once in this way is a reclining tour, which is not only a communication between the viewer and the painter, but also a spiritual dialogue between the viewer and himself.

Judging from the time of creation of this painting, this place was in the midst of war and it was unlikely to present such a quiet atmosphere, but Wang Meng created an ideal landscape world through his own brush.

  Farewell is also one of the most frequently expressed themes in Chinese landscape painting.

In life, parting is an eternal topic.

"Outside the long pavilion, along the ancient road, the grass is green. The evening wind blows the willow flute, and the setting sun is outside the mountain." From ancient times to the present, how many poems have written the feelings of parting, and how many paintings have expressed the feelings of Yiyi's farewell.

In the thirty-first year of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1692), when Zhu Yizun left Beijing, Wang Hui used a painting of his own landscape to distinguish it.

Zhu Yizun wrote a poem: "Wang Lang met once every five years, and he wrote the clouds and mountains with different thoughts. It's like taking pictures of the mountains, moonlit night, and listening to the six dynasties pine in the autumn window." People are connected.

Qing Dynasty painter Wang Yuanqi once imitated the Yuan Dynasty painter Gao Kegong to paint a picture and gave it to the ancestor he called Songlai.

Wang Yuanqi wrote in the inscription: "The ancestor Songlai will travel for Chu, and he will make a painting, and write this into his pocket. The night rain in Xiaoxiang is closely related to the Hunan landscape, and it is based on the Fangshan method, which is even more seen in the Yuan Dynasty. Jia Quer." It can be seen that the paintings that Wang Yuanqi gave to this senior not only made the other person feel his farewell through Xiaoxiang Night Rain in content, but also made careful choices in the painting method.

Farewell to Chinese landscape paintings also have a relatively fixed formula.

Usually, we will first see the characters in the foreground of the picture, who are standing on the shore of farewell; secondly, we will be led by the painter to the distant shore with the direction of the farewelling person.

Often, this shore symbolizes the present, while the other shore symbolizes the future.

For example, Ming Dynasty painter Shen Zhou's "Farewell on the Jingjiang River" is one of the representative works on the theme of parting.

This painting was given by Shen Zhou to Wu Yu, the prefect of Xuzhou who was about to go to Sichuan to take office.

The picture depicts the scene of people and friends saying goodbye.

However, the painter did not focus on depicting the characters, but created a world of this side and the other side with a lot of brush and ink. The lush forests cover up the sadness of parting, allowing the viewer to enter the landscape world created by the painter to appreciate the distance and the future.

In the painting, the other side is not only a space concept that symbolizes the distance, but also a time concept that symbolizes the future.

Years later, when we appreciate this painting, even if we don't know the story of Shen Zhou and Wu Yu, we can still appreciate the attachment and blessing when we say goodbye when we see the picture.

  In addition to themes, relatively fixed patterns, and similar symbols, the artistic conception of Chinese landscape painting is also reflected in the painter's tempering of brush and ink.

If you want to appreciate the artistic conception conveyed by the painter through brush and ink, you need to have a certain knowledge of painting and calligraphy.

Pen and ink refers to the use of brush and ink.

By appreciating the brushwork and ink used in the picture, the viewer can not only judge the level of the artist's technique, but also judge the artist's aesthetic interest.

Chinese culture pays attention to innovation on the basis of inheritance. When you write poetry, people can tell whether you are learning from Du Fu or Wang Wei. The same is true for painting.

The so-called sect, a certain school, the most direct is to learn schema, the higher level is to learn brush and ink, and the higher level is to learn the artistic conception of aesthetics.

Artists with far-reaching influence can not only create their own unique schema and language of brush and ink, but more importantly, they can create a unique aesthetic mood.

But this aesthetic mood is conveyed through schema and brush and ink.

For example, the well-known painter Wu Changshuo, he studied "Shigu Wen" in depth for decades, and applied the brushwork he learned to his paintings, thus producing a kind of beauty called "Golden Stone Qi".

Different painters will convey different aesthetic moods, some are handsome, some are elegant, some are simple, some are vigorous, some are gorgeous... After a long-term study of a famous artist or a certain work, you will unconsciously feel Each stroke contains the aesthetic mood of the painter or the work.

In the Tang Dynasty, Zhang Huaigan thought when discussing books: "Writing is a few words and it is its meaning, and a book is a word that has its heart." This sentence means that when writing an article, you need to write a few sentences to express the meaning clearly, and Calligraphy only needs to write a word to let people see the mood of the writer.

It sounds a bit mysterious, but when you soak in it for a long time, you can feel that what he said is true.

Therefore, when we appreciate a Chinese landscape painting, the most interesting thing is the painter's brush and ink, as well as the aesthetic mood conveyed by the brush and ink.

Through the brush and ink, the audience can not only communicate with the painters, but also communicate with the painters who imitated and learned earlier, feel their subtlety, and put forward their own opinions.

Through the brush and ink, the audience can also be baptized by beauty. When viewing Fan Kuan's "Traveling in Streams and Mountains" in the Song Dynasty, they can feel the beauty of majesty, and when they appreciate Ni Zan's "Six Gentlemen" in the Yuan Dynasty, they can feel the beauty of serenity.

A painting is a person, a painting is a mood.

The viewer is not only appreciating the painting, but also appreciating the person; not only appreciating others, but also appreciating oneself.

In this process, the viewer completed a recumbent tour and a spiritual journey through the landscape world created by the painter.

  As early as the Tang Dynasty, Zhang Wei put forward the concept of "Fortune from foreign teachers, and the source of the heart".

For thousands of years, Chinese painters, especially literati painters, have learned how to paint mountains, trees, and clouds and water from the natural world, and at the same time, through their own ingenuity, the paintings convey a more profound artistic conception.

Guo Xi, a painter in the Northern Song Dynasty, proposed that landscape painting should create a landscape world that is feasible, expected, travelable, and habitable, so that viewers can imagine themselves walking, looking, visiting, and living in the world depicted in the picture.

Guo Xi believes that the paintings that can realize these four aspects are all wonderful, but they are feasible and not as good as living and swimming. It is also difficult to account for four tenths, which is even more rare.

Guo Xi's request is not only for the painter, but also for the viewer, "the painter should create it in this way, and the watcher should make it poor in this way."

Therefore, different from Western landscape painting, Chinese landscape painting is not a portrayal of the real world, but creates a landscape world that allows the audience to recline, thus allowing people to complete a poetic spiritual journey.

(Author: Liu Yagang, associate professor at Beijing Language and Culture University)