Taoist Beliefs and Values in Art Painting Analysis
Yang - mountains / fullness. Yin - water / always flowing and changing Yin– air, emptiness Yang - mountains / stability and permanence
The ancient Chinese believed that matter and energy (Qi) were fundamentally the same. With their forms thrusting up toward the heavens, mountains were the most visible examples of energy converted into matter. As such they have always played an important role in the religious beliefs of the Chinese. P’u / wu wei the simple, natural life of the fisherman
Taoist perspective – humanity is very small, dwarfed by the universe, order and harmony come when we find ourselves and live as a small part of the whole Immortality - Pine tree ability to survive and endure, long life
Steam/Fog and the water – Show the energy and breathe that exists in nature. Mountains – heaven and earth meet, where the immortals live, a place to withdraw and reflect and find yourself. Water is a Taoist symbol for p’u. It flows naturally, is strong even though it is soft.
CLAIM: This painting reflects Taoist beliefs and values.
ELABORATION: Taoism is a Chinese belief and value system. It has many philosophical and abstract ideas. Landscape paintings are Taoist. They show the abstract ideas of Taoism in picture form. This painting displays Yin / Yang, p’u, wu wei, qi and immortality.
EVIDENCE The fullness of the earth and the emptiness of the sky are an example of yin and yang, respectively. The mountains are permanent and unchanging whereas water is always flowing and changing. This is another example of yin and yang. In the painting these elements are balanced. This shows the Taoist goal of balancing yin and yang. P’u and wu wei are shown by the simple unforced life of the fisherman. The In keeping with the Taoist perspective, humanity is seen against the context of the universe. This shows the Taoist belief that to be human you have to understand that you fit into a much bigger picture, that humanity is not the center of life and is dwarfed by the universe.