The Problem of the Authenticity of the Aesthetic Concept qiyun shengdong

Xu Fuguan’s Analysis and Interpretation


  • Téa Sernelj University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Slovenia



Xu Fuguan, qiyun shengdong, Xie He, Chinese aesthetics, Indian theory of painting


The article explores Xu Fuguan’s analysis and interpretation of the concept of qiyun shengdong 氣韻生動, which is considered to be one of the most important, fundamental and complex concepts in Chinese aesthetics and art. It was created by Xie He in the Wei Jin period (220–420 AD), which is marked as a turning point in the development of Chinese aesthetics. The complexity of the concept of qiyun shengdong is reflected in literary works, painting, calligraphy, and music, as well as in literary theory and the theory of painting. According to Xu Fuguan, qi refers to the external features of the artwork, while yun expresses the internal characteristics that are a matter of the human spirit. For Xu, shengdong signifies the manifestation and fusion of qi and yun in the artwork. Xu Fuguan claimed that the profound comprehension of this concept is fundamental for understanding the essence of Chinese art. The article also addresses the problem of translating this aesthetic concept into English and discusses the problem of its authenticity.


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8. 01. 2021



Developments of Classical Chinese Concepts

How to Cite

The Problem of the Authenticity of the Aesthetic Concept qiyun shengdong: Xu Fuguan’s Analysis and Interpretation. (2021). Asian Studies, 9(1), 159-180.

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