Lecture on Explanation of the Stages of Qin and Han Esthetics. Relation of the First Esthetic Treatise to Progressive Cosmology, Yin Yang & 5 Elements Theory.

Regarding Qin-Han aesthetics as a relatively independent form that connects the pre-Qin and Wei-Jin periods is not necessarily a satisfactory approach; while chronological division brings convenience to academic research, it also implies the danger of severing the source of historical thought. If you pay too much attention to the separated side and project it into the understanding of historical phenomena, it may cause an illusion that does not exist originally, that is, while acknowledging the aesthetic characteristics of the stage, it relatively ignores the internal relationship with the previous and subsequent stages. .

For example, compared to the relationship between the Western Han Dynasty and the Eastern Han Dynasty, the similarities between the middle and late Eastern Han Dynasty and the Wei and Jin Dynasties may be more obvious. However, in the general intellectual history discourse, the Eastern Han Dynasty was included in the Han Dynasty, thus forming a confrontational impression with the Wei and Jin Dynasties. In response to this question, it is necessary to make the following explanation: Adopting the periodization of Qin and Han aesthetics does not mean the mechanical adoption of dynasty chronicles. It is also necessary to think about how the various ideological phenomena in this period constitute the same whole; compared with the previous and subsequent stages, what kind of correlations exist. In the writing of the history of Chinese aesthetics, there is little difference between the Han Dynasty and the Wei and Jin Dynasties. As for the relationship between the Qin and the Han Dynasty, it is uncertain whether it is divided or merged.

Therefore, the explanation here mainly focuses on the relationship between Qin and Han Dynasties. Compared with the method of combining the two in this course, the way of attaching Qin to the pre-Qin period seems to be more common. They often describe content such as “Han Feizi” and “Lü Shi Chun Qiu” as the end of pre-Qin aesthetics, thus clearly defining the area with the aesthetics of the Han Dynasty. Separate. From a chronological point of view, since the two books “Han Feizi” and “Lü Shi Chun Qiu” were both written before Qin’s reunification, and in addition, in the short Qin Dynasty, there were few aesthetic documents with a clear chronology, so this distinction method is self-explanatory.

There are reasons for this. However, this method of division is not intended to be adopted in this course. From a superficial level, this kind of staging essentially cancelled the existence of the Qin Dynasty; for deeper reasons, it did not fully consider the ideological development and evolution from the end of the Warring States Period to the early Qin and Han Dynasties. In view of this difference in staging, we can try to provide a more adequate reason for the Qin and Han co-jurisdictions. The so-called combination of Qin and Han here actually started from the end of the Warring States period a little earlier before the formation of the unified situation. That is to say, “Han Feizi” and “Lü Shi Chun Qiu” and other documents will be incorporated into the overall framework of Qin and Han aesthetics.

In a sense, all historical developments do not arise in isolation, and any changes in society or the ideological world are the result of the combined effects of various implicit or explicit complex factors. Therefore, the staging of the history of aesthetics, while cutting off the flow of history, is often inconsistent with the actual situation of the evolution of thoughts, which is quite square. In extreme circumstances, staging is just a stopgap in the research process, it does not mean that the mind must also undergo a radical change at the same time. Furthermore, while the staging reflects the researcher’s academic position and opinions, it is also inevitable to reveal some subjective factors. When dealing with the attribution of Qin Dynasty aesthetics, because these problems also exist, it is inevitable that people will be confused. In terms of the development of social forms and academic thoughts, the relationship between Qin and the end of the Warring States period is as close as the relationship between Qin and Han. There are no lack of arguments before and after Qin is classified, which increases the difficulty of dividing research sections. However, from the overall point of view, it is fully reasonable to include some of the ideological phenomena slightly earlier than Qin into the latter stage. The understanding of this point is in fact not limited to a mere question of age.

Although on the surface, the issue of staging is only shown as the determination of the beginning and end of research, but if it is admitted that the goal of writing aesthetic history is not only to list materials and events, but to further strive to show the inner context, then the determination of how to stage is bound to be determined. Fortunately, at a deeper level, it involves the issue of how to understand the overall characteristics of Qin and Han aesthetics and even Chinese aesthetics. This may be explained from the following several aspects. First of all, from the perspective of the overall historical perspective, in terms of political and social character, the period from the end of the Warring States period to the Western Han Dynasty showed considerable continuity. As we all know, the chaos at the end of the Warring States Period came to an abrupt end when the Qin Dynasty was unified; after a short period of centralization, the historical scene of division and union was once again reproduced between the Qin and Han Dynasties. In the process of working to create a unified empire, the early Western Han Dynasty largely followed the specific measures of the Qin Dynasty, such as the harsh legalist system, cultural prohibition policies, etc., and these reflected Qin’s response to the end of the Warring States period. Strategies, due to the system in the early Western Han
In previous generations, there was actually a coherent development trend during this period.

This continuous progress towards the unification of the central government constitutes the basic background of the thoughts of the Qin and Han Dynasties for hundreds of years and cannot be ignored. This historical follow-up form is quite similar to the Sui and Tang dynasties; therefore, in the various stages of Chinese history, the Qin is to the Han as the Sui to the Tang, and the two are often combined as a whole and dealt with

. Secondly, from the ideological level, it is not difficult to find more internal connections. In the ideological field that is more directly affected by politics, the formation and maintenance of a unified situation is the main theme of the times that is shrouded in other ideological themes. From the end of the Warring States Period through the Qin Dynasty to the Han Dynasty, the thinking and reaction to this issue constituted the most prominent main line of ideology. To put it simply, despite the different times, many ideological efforts are of similar nature, from the “Lü Shi Chun Qiu” of the former Qin unified formation to the “Huainanzi” and “Huainanzi” in the pre-Western Han Dynasty and the middle period of the Western Han Dynasty. “Chun Qiu Fan Lu” is not a positive expression of this aspect. Although these works have significant differences in ideological schools and standpoints, in terms of the nature of trying to provide the basic plan for unifying the empire, they can be said to be in the same vein of the Qin and Han dynasties. In addition to the above-mentioned more obvious factors, Qin and Han are also closely related in the academic field. In terms of its main points, this kind of internal connection is most concentrated in the literature and the academic thoughts it carries.

We need to understand this from a deeper level. Since the beginning of the Warring States Period, documents have shown an extremely complicated evolution in the process of continuous teaching, rewriting, copying, editing and dissemination. Many unearthed bamboo and silk documents fully confirm this point. As far as the compilation and formation of the documents are concerned, the history often runs through the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties, and it appears as a relatively definite text form until a fairly late period. In almost all controversial documents, we can find both earlier ideological factors and it is not difficult to find traces of changes in the later period. Since the literature is always in a state of fluidity, and thinking is correspondingly in a very lively state, it is difficult for us to imagine how to make an effective distinction between the Warring States Period (especially in the later period), Qin and Han.

The literature compilation continued for several centuries, and the emphasis on this fact helped us to change our prejudice against the Han Dynasty as follows: the thought of the Han Dynasty basically remained at the level of retelling and inheriting the thought of the pre-Qin Dynasty. In fact, from the Warring States Period to the Qin and Han Dynasties, there were few simple copies and plagiarisms of previous documents; the continuous process of document compilation and textualization meant that the enthusiasm for ideological elucidation had not disappeared.

With the efforts of document compilation and rewriting, the overall grasp of academic thoughts is also always in progress. Our understanding of pre-Qin academics comes to a large extent from the reconstruction of the Han Dynasty; and for this effort from the end of the Warring States period (such as “Zhuangzi, Tianxia”), it is sometimes difficult for us to dissect it from the original appearance of the so-called pre-Qin academics.

In the seemingly objective academic traceability work, there is an effort of systematization and classification. Related to this is the fusion of relevance thinking and the pre-Qin philosophical tradition. Since the end of the Warring States period, the development direction of thought has changed significantly. The difference from the pre-Qin period is that thinkers began to accept the immersion of Yin and Yang and related thinking. Yin and Yang and related thinking were only favored by politicians, occupiers, astronomical experts, alchemists and other groups in the pre-Qin period, but have not been accepted and dissolved by philosophers such as Confucius, Mencius and Lao Zhuang.

At the end of the Warring States period, this theme began to become an important research object for philosophers and thinkers. Therefore, the thinkers of Qin and Han dynasties adopted the theory of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements in order to encompass everything. Its meaning should never be regarded as a simple arrangement and compromise of pre-Qin thought, but on the contrary, developing and creating in a superficial recombination. The new quality, the “order-rank rational number” structure of the induction ratio between human beings and everything in the universe.

If the records in “Historical Records” are accurate enough, then this fusion began around the third century BC. The theory of “Five Virtues Ending and Beginning” was advocated by Zou Yanshi in the late Warring States period, and it still maintained a strong theoretical appeal after decades. It was finally officially accepted by the central government and became the Qin Dynasty

Official ideology

As a matter of fact, the Yin-Yang related thinking and cosmology that existed as pre-philosophical thinking such as mythology should be far before the era of document formation and philosophical analysis; but until the late Warring States period, the work of philosophers to reflect on tradition and philosophize still did not develop. Covers the stages of yin and yang and related thinking. In this sense, as a document with accurate chronology, “Lu Shi Chun Qiu” became a turning point in the development of thought. As Graham pointed out, the philosophers of Confucianism, Mohism, Taoism, and Law basically did not deal with the themes of yin and yang and related thinking, and this phenomenon changed significantly when it came to “Lü Shi Chun Qiu”.

As a work that combines the traditions of alchemists, politicians, and astronomers with the traditions of pre-Qin philosophers, “Lu Shi Chun Qiu” has deviated from the main line of philosophy in the pre-Qin to a certain extent, but has inspired the thinking of yin and yang in the Qin and Han Dynasties. The book incorporates various natural phenomena and the constituent factors of human civilization into the system of cosmology; in the grand structure of the universe, the understanding of academics is naturally no exception. The coexistence of different schools of thought means that both academic and ideological The need for synthesis has appeared in the field of the field, which has become a symbol of the times to a certain extent.

From the end of the Warring States Period to the Qin and Han Dynasties, this comprehensive tendency was particularly significant. In view of this, instead of treating “Lü Shi Chun Qiu” as the end of pre-Qin aesthetics, it is better to separate it from the pre-Qin period and regard it as the beginning of Qin and Han aesthetics as a whole. In addition to the application of connected thinking and the continuous construction of cosmology, there were other ideological connections between the end of the Warring States Period and the Qin and Han Dynasties. Perhaps the most noteworthy factor is the establishment of the tradition of classics. In “History of Chinese Philosophy”, Feng Youlan distinguished the development of Chinese philosophy into the “Era of Zixue” and “Era of Confucianism” based on this fact. According to this explanation, since the Han Dynasty, the emergence of new elements of Chinese philosophical thoughts has often adopted the method of interpreting the classics, that is, the “new wine” of thought in the “old bottle” of classics. Although there are still objections to this distinction, “interpretative work and interpretive thinking dominate the intellectual history of most pre-modern civilizations”, as is the case in traditional China.

“Dong Zhongshu’s advocacy of action, and the end of the Zixue era; Dong Zhongshu’s doctrine was established, and the era of Confucianism began. The yin and yang and the five elements of the school are in harmony with Confucianism, and Dong Zhongshu has a systematic performance. Since then, Confucius has become a god Confucianism became Confucianism”; the formation of the Han dynasty tradition of Confucianism has had a profound and comprehensive impact on Chinese philosophy, politics and even the entire history. This is beyond doubt. In fact, the establishment of Confucian Classics has a very obvious impact on aesthetics.

Just confirm that the “Preface to Mao Shixue” and “The Preface of Chu Ci Zhangju” still belong to the periphery of the study of chapters and sentences. . What needs to be added is that the history of the Qin Dynasty played a subtle role in the formation of classics. The establishment of Confucian Classics in the Han Dynasty was based on the cultural policy of the Qin Dynasty. After the reunification of the Qin Dynasty, in order to unify the academics with the government, it ordered the destruction of all the old classic texts circulating among the people, including the “Book of Songs,” which is most closely related to literature and art. Although the early Western Han Dynasty inherited the cultural prohibition of the Qin Dynasty.

However, in the subsequent cultural reconstruction process, the central government turned to vigorously support various schools of thought to demonstrate the status of Confucian classics; and under the cloak of preserving classical learning, it completed the filtering and filtering of various previous classic texts. Rewriting naturally includes many aesthetic documents, such as “Book of Rites, Book of Music” as an example. For the Han Confucian scholars who emphasized the relationship between teacher and inheritance, all the teaching paths converged here at Xunzi at the end of the Warring States Period, which means that the history of Confucianism from the end of the Warring States Period to the Western Han Dynasty was sorted out very clearly, at least on the level of imagination and memory.

In this form. From the perspective of historical facts, the Qin Dynasty took a series of actions to control culture, such as “burning books and pitting Confucianism”, which to some extent caused the lack of Confucianism literature, which became the direct cause of the subsequent reconstruction of Confucianism. Scholars of Confucian classics in the Han Dynasty had a clear understanding of this. But Qin’s role is not limited to the level of pure literature and knowledge transfer. From the perspective of the internal mechanism established by the Han Confucian classics, Qin acted as a vehicle for self-affirmation in the Han dynasty. While the latter continued and inherited the political heritage of the previous generations, it also deliberately emphasized the differences between each other.

This subtle gesture meant that the Han dynasty thinkers consciously separate consciousness. From the beginning of the establishment of the Han Dynasty, early thinkers such as Lu Jia and Jia Yi began to devote themselves to shaping the negative image of Qin. Through the negation and sublation of Qin’s harsh government, the logical starting point for the idealization of the Han Dynasty was established. This logic is also reflected in the ideological and cultural aspects: between Qin’s negative image (such as the destruction of culture) and Han’s positive performance (document collection, establishment of academic officials, etc.), the latter is constructed to deny and overcome the former. tension. It is by virtue of this tension that the ship of Confucianism can set sail.

Therefore, between the Qin and Han dynasties (especially the Western Han dynasty), there is a dual relationship between fact and ideological logic, which condenses the Qin and Han dynasties into a compact whole. During the formation of the tradition of Confucian classics, the Qin and Han Dynasties not only had factual connections in the history of document evolution, but also formed opposite poles in the context of ideological mechanisms. The deficiency caused by the cultural policy of the Qin Dynasty, to be fair, came from the imaginative construction of the Han Dynasty to a considerable extent; the thinkers of the Han Dynasty brought Qin into the field of Confucianism through depreciation and rejection, which was caused by the previous generations.

The vacancy calls for efforts to make up, thus reserved space and development momentum for further development. The establishment of Confucian classics not only requires characters such as Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty and Dong Zhongshu, but also the dual basis of historical facts and ideological construction; in a sense, the existence of Qin participated in filling this foundation, and this The importance may not be inferior to the former. Based on the various reasons mentioned above, the integration of the Qin and Han Dynasties into a whole, and the inclusion of a number of earlier important documents, is more conducive to objectively reflecting the inner vein of the history of aesthetics.

In contrast, the division between the Han and Wei dynasties did not form a critical difference, mainly focusing on the treatment of a small number of aesthetic thoughts spanning the Han and Wei dynasties. The separation between the aesthetics of the Han Dynasty and the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties depends to a certain extent on our understanding of the calendar.

Understanding of history. Since the Han Dynasty, especially the Eastern Han Dynasty, has laid the foundation for the subsequent era in many aspects, or at least laid the groundwork, then, whether the significant change between the Han and Wei Dynasty is established, can it be based on an external sign separating the two is questionable. In order to avoid this problem, and for convenience, this volume intends to adopt the dynasty chronology as the external framework, which means that the unity of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC will be used as the starting point, and the change of Han and Wei in 220 AD as the starting point the end.

As far as the upper limit is concerned, since the end of the Warring States period, it has been closely related to national unification, and various documents that actively tended to form during the Qin and Han dynasties will be included; for the lower limit of the era, the continuity may not be less than the turning point. Because of the sudden change, it is planned to place Cao Bu’s “Classic Theory, Essay” in the Han Dynasty section for discussion. There are two reasons for this: First, from the perspective of the internal rationale of the document, it follows the development of Eastern Han aesthetic thought more and has similarities with some earlier thoughts. On this basis, it creates Some turning changes have been made; secondly, from the strict textual age, according to relevant research, this document is probably written before the Han Dynasty and Wei Dynasty, which makes it happen to fall within the chronology of the Han Dynasty.


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