Guo Xi – “The Interest of Lofty Forests and Springs”

Author: Robert R Clewis (Gwynedd Mercy University)

Guo Xi (Kuo Hsi) (ca. 1000–1090) was a leading Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) landscape artist and theorist of painting. His ideas connect with western ideas about painting and figuration, as well as aesthetic theories regarding awe and the sublime.   In one of his most famous paintings, “Early Spring,” two figures appear to be undergoing an experience of awe, wonder, or the sublime. The painting portrays the natural sublime — the two figures appear struck by a waterfall and a monastery above it. “Early Spring” also depicts what can be called the “transcendent” sublime — the ineffable or unknowable, which has been emphasized in western traditions of negative theology and in theories such as the one Hegel presented in “Symbolism of the Sublime.”

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Rasa – Indian Aesthetic Theory

AuthorKathleen Higgins (University of Texas at Austin)

Rasa is a central concept in Indian aesthetic theory. The term has a variety of meanings (among them “flavor,” “taste,” “juice,” and “essence”), but in aesthetics it is understood to refer to a distinctive type of emotional experience that can be experienced in connection with an artwork. The concept is presented in the Nāṭyaśāstra (200-500 C.E.), traditionally attributed to Bharata, a work that amounts to a compendium of knowledge on dramatic performance (including music and dancing). That Nāṭyaśāstra itemizes eight rasas that can be aroused in audience members through skillful performances. These include the erotic (śṛṅgāra), the comic (hāsya), the pathetic or sorrowful (karuṇa), the furious (raudra), the heroic (vīra), the terrible (bhayānaka), the odious (bībhatsa), and the marvelous (adbhuta). Continue reading “Rasa – Indian Aesthetic Theory”