Reflections on Waterscape Aesthetics in Chinese Tradition


  • WANG Keping Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China



water allegory, moral symbolism, beautiful waterscapes, majestic waterscapes, musical waterscapes


Philosophy is akin to poetry due to their respective endeavour to express the ultimate good sense which we term civilization. This can be exemplified through the Chinese vision of waterscapes which is found running through Chinese philosophy and poetry alike. As observed in Chinese tradition, the Daoist water allegory is referred to “the supreme good”. It can be further explicated with reference to the Confucian appreciation of “huge waterscapes” in terms of moral symbolism. All this permeates through the poetic depictions of waterscapes in the beautiful, majestic, and musical categories from an aesthetic perspective. Such depictions bear philosophical, moral, and aesthetic values altogether as a result of their underlying linkage with “the ultimate good sense”, and therefore have played an important role in human life from past to present. They are often employed as aesthetic objects as they delight the sight, hearing, mind and spirit. Moreover, they are utilized to revive the sense of Being and homeliness in closer contact with the nature in which we reside.


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16. 05. 2023

How to Cite

Wang, Keping. 2023. “Reflections on Waterscape Aesthetics in Chinese Tradition”. Asian Studies 11 (2): 15-40.

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