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ERIC Number: EJ784583
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8510
An Exegetic Study of the So-Called Proposition of Confucian Aesthetics
Wang, Yi; Fu, Xiaowei
Journal of Aesthetic Education, v42 n1 p80-89 Spr 2008
Since Wang Guowei and Cai Yuanpei introduced the concepts of aesthetics and aesthetic education, respectively, to China in the early twentieth century, there has been a strong tendency in many of the aesthetic discussions to examine ancient texts and materials using modern concepts of aesthetics. In particular, sentences with the character-word "mei" are often sought in classical works and interpreted as speeches on or about beauty, which has led to frequent misunderstandings of the classical texts and of the ancient Confucian aesthetic theory. The most typical among these misunderstandings is the misinterpretation of one of Mencius's remarks on the goodness of human nature--"To possess these qualities of goodness fully is beautiful" ("Chongshi zhiwei mei")--as a representative statement of the Confucian aesthetic theory of "the union of the beautiful and good." The main interest of the present analysis is an attempt to decode the genuine meaning of the statement. With references to ancient dictionaries like "Origin of Chinese Characters" and exegetic works (from 206 BC to the modern times) of "Mencius," this article attempts to contextualize "mei" in the original text and historical context in order to interpret the meaning of the sentence and the real intention of Mencius. In this way the authors hope to determine whether it can be regarded as the proposition of Mencius or the Confucian aesthetic theory of "the union of the beautiful and good." (Contains 21 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China