What’s in a name? On the concept and the ways of naming ART in Chinese

Victoria Bogushevskaya*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


Before the beginning of China’s large-scale development of Western scientific standards, the notion of art in China had been exclusively included in the categories of traditional philosophy, which created a double barrier to its understanding in the West, as it was impossible to recode the Chinese philosophic categories directly into their Western analogues, and also because the Chinese aesthetic and art history terminology and their issues were never delineated. The western meaning ‘art’ was originally assigned to several binominals inherited from wényán 文言— yìshù 藝術 in a narrow sense, whereas in a broad sense expressed by the terms jìyì 技藝, jìshù 技術, jìqiǎo 技巧, jìgōng 技工, jìdào 技道, yìdào 藝道, and yìyè 藝業. The term měishù 美術, lit. ‘beauty + technique’ was used to indicate only fine arts, until in 1936 the Cíhǎi defined the disyllabic yìshù 藝術 as standard. The coinciding parts of semantic fields of the above terms reveal the following fundamental attributes of Chinese art: virtuosity, erudition, technique, canonicity, wisdom, craftsmanship, abstractedness and functionality. The traditional Chinese art concept aestheticized both the literati’s abstractedness (in calligraphy and poetry) and the earthy routine (in crafts and techniques), and evolved from the inseparability of wisdom and skills, philosophical content and decorative forms.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteCurrent Issues in Contemporary Chinese and Oriental Studies. Papers from the International Conference, Dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Chinese Studies Program at Sofia University "St. Climent Ohridski"
EditorAntonia Tsankova, Veselin Karastojčev, Evelina Hein, Teodora Koutzarova, Marija Merinova, and Stefan Ivančev Alexander Alexiev
Numero di pagine9
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2018
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Chinese art, conceptualization, fine arts
  • 藝術, 美術, 技巧, 技術


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