Key Chinese Concepts

2018-06-29 11:13:00 Source:China Today Author:
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Qíng jǐng

Sentiment and Scenery


This term refers to the mutual dependence and integration of an author’s description of scenery and objects, and his expression of feelings in his literary creation. Qing (情) is an author’s inner feelings, and jing (景) refers to external scenery or an object. The theory of sentiment and scenery stresses integration of the two, maintaining that sentiment can hardly be aroused without scenery, and that scenery or an object cannot be appreciated without sentiment. This term appeared in the Song Dynasty. Compared with earlier notions about sentiment and scenery, this one is more emphatic about fusing the depiction of scenery with the expression of feelings, and the process of creation with that of appreciation.

引例 Citations:




Scenery has no place in poetry unless there are feelings for it; feelings cannot be stirred without the inspiration of scenery. (Fan Xiwen: Midnight Dialogues Across Two Beds)



Sentiment and scenery seem to be two distinct things, but in fact they cannot be separated. A good poet knows how to integrate them seamlessly. An ingenious combination of sentiment and scenery means scenery embedded in sentiment and vice versa. (Wang Fuzhi: Desultory Remarks on Poetry from Ginger Studio)



Imaginative Contemplation


The term refers to a state of mind in the process of literary and artistic creation. It suggests that the author, fully inspired by emotions, transcends the constraints of time and space, and enters into a state of free imagination or a special mood for literary and artistic creation, before producing a natural and beautiful work of literature or art, either in language or in imagery. This term was popularly used in literary and artistic theories of the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern Dynasties. Liu Xie of the Southern Dynasties devoted one chapter especially to this term in Carving a Dragon at the Core of Literature. With emphasis on the unique mental activity in literary and artistic creation, imaginative contemplation is different from other cognitive activities.



An ancient saying goes, “Though he lives among the common folks, deep in his heart he concerns himself with affairs of the imperial court.” This is called imaginative contemplation. When one writes, his imaginations and thoughts may transcend time and space. (Liu Xie: Carving a Dragon at the Core of Literature)

引例 Citations:



The guiding principles for literary creation come from imaginative contemplation. Man’s feelings and thoughts about the external world are formless and highly changeable. (Xiao Zixian: The History of Southern Qi)

Selected from Key Concepts in Chinese Thought and Culture published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

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