In traditional Chinese landscape painting, the “pavilion” serves a unique role as a spatial indicator and narrative element. The “grass pavilion” and the “empty pavilion”, both integral components of the classical pavilion imagery, encapsulate the aesthetic philosophies and perspectives of ancient scholars. These classic depictions of the pavilion not only convey the humanistic ideals of the scholars but also imbue traditional landscape painting with profound meaning. As a symbol of human presence and geographical location, the pavilion guides the viewers in their spatial imaginings and entrances them into a metaphorical realm cherished by scholars. It creates an excellent vantage point and viewing experience, offering painters and viewers alike the best platform for contemplation and visual anticipation. Simultaneously, the “pavilion” also unveils itself while capturing the essence of the world. In doing so, it transforms into a “holy land” within the mountains, shedding light on the solitary disposition of nature cherished by scholars. As a symbolic spatial element, the empty pavilion fortifies the echoes of the past and the illusion of memory. Gazing upon the pavilion hints at the cultural identity of the viewer, collectively contributing to the rich tapestry of meaning within landscape painting.
traditional landscape painting, pavilion, space, narrative
Wang, Tianle. 2024. "The Sacred Land in the Mountains: The Spatial Narrative of “Pavilion” in Traditional Chinese Landscape Painting." Theoretical Studies in Literature and Art 43, (6): pp.163-170. https://tsla.researchcommons.org/journal/vol43/iss6/18