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Landscape of the Soul Short Questions

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Landscape of the Soul Short Questions

                                    By- Nathalie Trouveroy

1.What wonderful tale is told about the Chinese painter Wu daozi?

Ans. The Chinese Emperor commissioned the painter Wu daozi, to decorate the palace walls with landscape paintings. He did his job very well but worked behind a curtain. Only the king could see and admire it. But the painter got into a cave, no less beautiful. The gate closed before the king could enter it. All the paintings also disappeared along with their maker.

2. What idea about art did the story of Wu daozi convey?

Ans. The Chinese story conveys the idea that the Emperor could only rule over his territory, and not understand the spirit of art. Only the artist knows the way within. He alone can enter the spirit of the universe.

3. What did the Chinese philosophers try to achieve through their story books?

Ans. The two Chinese philosophers Confucius and included many stories in their books. They meant to guide their disciples in the right direction. Secondly, the stories reveal the spirit in which art was considered in ancient China.

4. Contrast Wu Dao Zi’s story with another famous painter’s story. What is that story?

Ans. Daozi’s story is in contrast to another story. Another famous painter drew the picture of a dragon, but without the eyes. He had a fear that if he painted the eyes, the dragon would then fly out of the painting.

5. What does the European story about Quinten Metsys illustrate?

Ans. The story about Quinten Metsys illustrates the illusion of reality created by European paintings. It deals with outer appearances. While Asian art tries to capture the spirit or inner life.

6. What does the Chinese story about the Emperor and Wu Daoziillustrate?

Ans. The Chinese story deals with the magic of art and skill of the artist. Wu Daozi created wonderful landscapes on the palace walls. The emperor admired only the outer looks of the work. Only the painter knew how to enter the mysterious world of art. An artist alone understands the mysterious works of the universe.

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7. Bring out, in brief, the contrast between European art and Chinese art.

Ans. The European or western landscape reproduces the actual view. It creates the illusion of reality. The painter wants the viewers to see his work through his eyes and from a specific angle. The Chinese landscape is vague. It calls upon the viewers to use their eyes as well as imagination to see its inner beauty.

8. Explain the terms ‘illusionistic likeness’, ‘figurative painting’ and ‘delicate realism’.

Ans. The word ‘illusionistic’ means creating a sort of illusion or false impression. European art tries to create the illusion of an actual view. ‘Figurative’ also has something to do with ‘figure’ or the actual shape of a thing. The word delicate means were subtle or fine. Art reproduces not an exact view of reality, but only a semblance of it.

9. What is the unique feature of the horizontal scroll? How can it be appreciated?

Ans. The unique feature of Chinese horizontal scroll is that it does not give us an integrated view of the scene. There is a gap between one picture and another. It leaves scope for the viewer to use his mind and imagination. The landscape is not realistic but an inner one.

10. Which story from Flanders, Europe, is most representative of Western painting?

Ans. The story from Flanders is about a famous painter who would not draw the eyes of a dragon he had painted. He had a fear that with eyes to see, the dragon would fly out of the painting.

11. How did Quinten Metsys impress the painter and achieved his goal?

Ans. Quinten Metsys, a master blacksmith, fell in love with a painter’s daughter. But his suit was rejected on grounds of his low vocation. One day he entered the studio of the painter secretly and painted a fly on the blank canvas which was spread there. The painter took it for a real one and tried to flip it away. He was greatly impressed by the skill of the blacksmith.

12. What isshanshui? How does it express the concept of the word ‘landscape?

Ans. Shanshuiis a concept about the mystery and origin of the universe. The landscape literally means ‘mountain water’. These two elements are like two poles and a source of energy.

The mountain is vertical and male; the water is horizontal and female. These are also called Yang and yin. They are complementary. Their interaction keeps the world going.

13. How do Yang and yin illustrate the story of the origin of the human race?

Ans. Yang and yin are a part of the Daoist view of the world. These are two poles which complement each other in producing energy and this universe. Yang island, or solid vertical mountain. Yin is water that flows horizontally. The union of male and female energy has created this universe.

14. What is the third element, represents by the ‘Middle Void’ in Chinese landscape?

Ans. The masculine energy of Yang and the female energy of Yin are incomplete without each other. But their interaction takes place in the ‘middle void’, or blank space left in a Chinese landscape. Nothing can happen without the combination of both aspects of energy.

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15. What is the role of man in the space between Heaven and Earth?

Ans. Yang or the male vertical mountain represents Heaven. Yin is the feminine aspect of energy. Water lies flat on the Earth. The space between Heaven and Earth is connected to Man. He becomes a means of communication between the two.

16. What does the wonderful expression ‘the eye of the landscape’, as suggested by Francois Cheng, mean? 

Ans. Francois Cheng, in his wonderful expression ‘the eye of the landscape’, refers to the importance of Man, and the fundamental role he plays. Man is not frightened of high mountains as depicted in a natural landscape. He links the two poles and he alone has got the eye to understand the landscape.

Landscape of the Soul- Introduction

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