Thursday, December 12, 2019

Arts and Recreation in Song Dynasty China Essay Example For Students

Arts and Recreation in Song Dynasty China Essay When studying the rich history of arts and recreation in the Song Dynasty, it is evident that there were many newly pioneered practices that completely captivated the populous and became the epitome of several long-established genres. When one observes the progression of visual arts through the Song Dynasty, landscape painting established itself as the most prevalent and important of the multitude of forms in this genre. Close examination of entertainment reveals that the dramatic arts, with emphasis on shadow-puppeteering, became the most enjoyed form of amusement in the Song Dynasty. Finally, nothing had become more delightful than the everyday life of a citizen, which never had a dull moment. Chinese art and recreation came to a pinnacle of excellence during the Song Dynasty as landscape painting became an ideal practice, the theater grew to be central entertainment, and the life of a citizen never lacked wondrous activities. Landscape painting was the most important visual art form during the Song Dynasty. It was through the cultural stimulus of the Tang Dynasty that landscape painting was able to come to mastery during the Song Dynasty and take its place as the epitome of classical Chinese art (Morton and Lewis 2005). Landscape painting also exemplified how the East developed separately from the West through its art. While in the West the human form was central to most art, artists in China found their muse in Nature. Landscape painting was not represented in Europe until much later (Morton and Lewis 2005). During the reign of the penultimate Song emperor, Huizong, the Song Dynasty reached its cultured peak. Huizong had an imperial collection of six thousand works of art, many of them landscape, and he established the world-renowned Academy of Painting in his capital. Because of its great popularity, landscape painting soon became a way of life. A landscape painter â€Å"tended to be a recluse, an indi vidualist, and a Daoist (Morton and Lewis 2005).† These artists thought of landscape painting as the â€Å"grandest and most satisfying way to represent nature as a whole, to feel a sense of communion with nature, and to know oneself to be part of an orderly cosmos (Morton and Lewis 2005).† Thus, one can see the implications of landscape painting lay not just in its beauty and simplicity, but also in its spiritual connection with Nature, and thus had wide appeal. The point of view in landscape painting was also of paramount importance. The Chinese artists understood that Western artists took in scenes from five or six feet from the ground. Chinese artists worked from a raised viewpoint, so that they are not bogged done by small details in the front and get a better sense of the whole scene (Morton and Lewis 2005). Every part of the image that is created has its own innate interest, and yet it all comes together and works well as a whole (Morton and Lewis 2005). It is clear that landscape painting was a cherished and important art form in Song Dynasty culture. Dramatic arts became an essential and esteemed form of entertainment during the Song Dynasty. The Chinese theater ran the gamut of all possible kinds of play or composition. A testament to the Song’s work toward variety in entertainment â€Å"the drama made quite a feature of short farcical scenes, acrobatic turns and satirical sketches (Gernet 1970).† There was always such a variety of productions on display that everyone would be appeased. Some of these dramatic art forms became very popular amongst the Song Dynasty high-life. Actors were made to imitate the peasants of towns such as Shantung and Hopei, a form of comedy much in style in Kaifeng and eventually in Hangchow as well. Another very popular form of dramatic art was the Chinese ballet accompanied by song and instruments (Gernet 1970). It must be noted, though, that the art of shadow-puppeteering was truly the Chinese icon of the theater world. An excerpt from a book on Chinese daily life gives these specifics on the shadow art: Song of Solomon Paper EssayArts and recreation in the Song Dynasty were truly central to the empire’s character. While the Song Dynasty was not known for its military prowess or economic abilities, it always seemed to be continuing the development of the Chinese cultural identity. New and famous art forms, such as landscape painting, emerged in droves from the creative minds of an empire driven to improve its portrayal of the beauty of nature. The Chinese pioneered new art and entertainment forms, such as shadow-puppeteering, during this period in order to make the life of their citizens filled with wonder. There is so much to learn about arts and recreation in the Song Dynasty because it was clearly the cultural apex of China’s history. It is also interesting to see how these advances in cultural identity all seem to point to becoming closer to Nature and true spirituality as much as it about just pleasuring ourselves. The Song Dynasty was able to find that balance b etween mind and body, spirituality and physicality that then, in turn, appeased all its denizens. It is evident that this balance played a role in the longevity of the empire and its cultural imprint on China’s history. The arts and recreation in China truly came to a zenith during the shining cultural imperium that was the Song Dynasty.

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