Kaikodo Journal XXIII Spring 2007
The Aesthetics of Change
Corresponding to the exhibition held between March 18 and April 18, 2007. 48 Chinese and Japanese paintings; 29 Chinese objects (77 color plates). Preface by Howard Rogers. 281 pages.
Includes the essays:
Mary Ann Rogers:
“The Aesthetics of Change: Extraordinary Exiles”
Richard A. Pegg:
“Xie He’s ‘Six Laws’ in a Daoist Context”
Victor H. Mair:
“Xie He’s ‘Six Laws’ of Painting and Their Indian Parallels”
“The Quality of Excellence: the Six Standards of Hsieh Ho”
This issue of Kaikodo Journal includes four essays, the first of which, by Mary Ann Rogers, speaks to the heart of “The Aesthetics of Change.” Her discussion of the seventeenth century ceramics made by Chinese potters for the Japanese market clarifies the process by which this fascinating group came to be created. The final three essays are all focused on the content of the Guhua pinlu (Ku-hua P’in-lu) a short essay by the late 5th-early 6th century painter and critic Xie He (Hsieh Ho). Professor James Cahill, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, as well as primary teach in painting for the gallery owners, reawakened their interest in the subject with an essay that very unfortunately at the last moment was not available for publication here. The second essay is by Dr Richard Pegg, graduate of Columbia University and presently Curator of Asian Art at the MacLean Collection in Libertyville, Illinois. Dr. Pegg’s essay is a fascinating elucidation of how Daoist thought and practice may have influenced the basic formulations of Xie He, and new understandings of relationships obtaining among the standards are also proposed. He includes a very useful appendix in which earlier translations of the Six Standards are recounted for comparative purposes. The third essay is by Dr. Victor H. Mair, originally published in Chinese Aesthetics, The Ordering of Literature, the Arts, and the Universe in the Six Dynasties, edited by Zong-qi Cai, University of Hawai’i Press, 2004, pp. 81-122, reprinted in this journal with the permission of Dr. Mair and the University of Hawai’i Press. Professor Mair is the first scholar in any country to have studied the relationship between the Six Laws of Xie He and the Six Limbs of Indian painting in depth and to have proved the connection between them beyond any reasonable doubt. His essay constitutes a virtuoso presentation of the Chinese and Indian material as well as an inspired comparative analyses of the two aesthetic systems. Howard Rogers’s essay places Xie He within the larger context of Liang dynasty society and seeks to define the purpose of his text, a question that bears very strongly on the means Xie used to fulfill his task and thus on how to interpret the results.