Scattered perspective is a modern conceptualization of the spatial features of traditional Chinese painting that has had a significant impact in China. This essay investigates relevant concepts such as “perspective” and “scattered point” to delve into the evolutionary origins of the “scattered-point perspective.” Scattered perspective does not particularly involve a scientific foundation in terms of optics or geometry. Rather, it integrates two contradictory Western concepts to represent the compositional experience of Chinese painting, which is theoretically akin to the traditional Chinese concepts of “San Yuan,” “Small by Near and Big in the Distance,” and “You Guan.” The fundamental disparity between the Chinese and Western painting perspectives lies not in the explicit comparison between “scattered perspective” and “focal perspective.” Instead, their distinction is rooted in the respective aesthetic attitudes towards comparable non-perspective landscapes as well as the resulting disparities in the details of their paintings. A careful examination of the “scattered perspective” within the broader context of art history is a useful tool for fostering Sino-West dialogue and showcasing the distinctive aesthetic pursuit of Chinese painting.


scattered perspective, Sino-West comparison, map-like topographic landscape painting, aesthetic attitude

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