Pictorial Rendition of Chinese Idioms in Oracle Bone Inscription: Bilingual Edition of English and Chinese Wen-Hsien Wu

ISBN: 9781625030740

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Paperback

72 pages


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Pictorial Rendition of Chinese Idioms in Oracle Bone Inscription: Bilingual Edition of English and Chinese  by  Wen-Hsien Wu

Pictorial Rendition of Chinese Idioms in Oracle Bone Inscription: Bilingual Edition of English and Chinese by Wen-Hsien Wu
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The 20th century German philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) in his famous work An Essay on Man stated that man is a symbolic animal (animal symbolism) and art maybe defined as a kind of language of symbols . Following his path, the AmericanMoreThe 20th century German philosopher Ernst Cassirer (1874-1945) in his famous work An Essay on Man stated that man is a symbolic animal (animal symbolism) and art maybe defined as a kind of language of symbols . Following his path, the American esthetician Susanne K. Langer (1895-1985) further stated that Art is the creation of forms symbolic of human feeling .

In other words, the work of art in a broad sense is the expression of emotion. This form of expression is art symbol. The basic functional ability of art is to use symbols in conveying human emotions . This theory of art symbol opened up a new way of thinking in modern esthetics and profoundly influenced the development of modern art especially Abstractionism. In China, the Yin-Shang Oracle Bone Inscriptions (OBI) can be regarded as the oldest written language known to date. It is a symbol distilled and took shape from living experience.

At that time, the inscription already possessed not only the characteristics of pictographs and ideographs in the construction of Chinese characters, as later noted in Xu Shens (ca. 58-ca.147) Six Calligraphy Style but also evolved into an elegant and stylized symbol. Since the late Qing Dynasty, the inscription has been recognized as a writing script in addition to the regular, cursive, clerical and seal scripts.

In the 1950s Mr. Wuji Zhao (1921-2013) was the first artist who used OBI in his earlier oil paintings. In these paintings, the inscription-induced abstract symbol used as his creative element touched off a great deal of excitement in the art world. Now, to look at Wen-Hsien Wus OBI inspired art work, we see his use of a realistic approach to deal with the OBI symbols.

Wu strung words into idioms- expressed their meaning emotions using exaggeration, reconstruction and elaboration in the images. His simple and guileless forms and the use of bright contrasting and complementary colors have created a unique style of his own. In Hundred Flowers in Bloom, the array of colorful flowers are shown against the transformed OBI symbols. Flowers and inscription become undistinguishable yet mutually enhancing.

In Rare Flowers and Grass,two cartoon-like characters are created from OBI symbol. Among colorful flowers and grass, they gaze at a nameless flowering tree evoking a sense of naivete, humor and childlike joy. Reputation Spreading Beyond Four Seas brings us to a huge ship at sea. The sky is a world map with an ingeniously inserted flying man at the upper-right corner symbolizing reputation. In Fish Swimming in Drizzling Rain, Wu used subtle, misty colors and simple composition. The two characters for right rain floating on a grayish blue sky, while fish swimming in dark blue water hinting the spirit of Zen.

In Wus works, he interweaves OBI symbols, meaning of the idioms and creative sentience to express his life experience and inner feelings. We can also how he has combined the ancient OBI with his rich imagination to create a multi-colored and multi-faceted symbolic world of his own. Heshi Yu New Jersey, October 2013



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