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Introduction by Professor Zhang Longxi

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Chapter Summary

On the world stage, as well as in China, Qian Zhongshu was one of the most learned humanist scholars. Modelled on the division of Chan Buddhism, Dong Qichang, a famous painter and scholar of the Ming dynasty, divided traditional painting into the Southern and the Northern Schools and traced that division back to the Tang. Even though Wang Wei is also a well-known poet, he has never been ranked high enough to compete with Du Fu, Li Bo, or Tao Yuanming in critical evaluation. On the issue of 'anonicity' and 'orthodoxy', ancient Chinese 'poetry and painting' certainly do not embody 'the same rules'. Qian is able to argue that in the short and fragmented expressions, the ancient Chinese had often realized the same principal idea in Lessing's argument that painting as spatial art cannot represent things and events that poetry as temporal art can express with ease and brilliance.

Keywords: China; Lessing; Qian Zhongshu; Wang Wei

10.1163/9789004270213_002
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