Chinese landscape painting invites “roaming” and “residing” within its realms, guided by the Tao, which manifests both in the metaphysical realm and as tangible pathways in the artwork. This Tao is not merely a detailed object within the landscape but often emerges as the emptiness framed by mountains, trees, and stones. The panoramic landscape of the Five dynasties and Northern Song dynasty, resonating with our body schema, facilitates an immersive experience, thus founding the spatial perception inherent in Chinese landscape art. Pathways depicted typically ascend from the frame's lower edge, winding upward, perceived by viewers as extending deeply into the scene, fostering a dynamic engagement. These paths, though varied, consistently appear as “narrow paths” within vast landscapes, embodying the concept of “three distances” and emphasizing the portrayal of immense distances on a finite frame. Coupled with the motif of “going alone,” these elements resonate with traditional Chinese philosophical and poetic themes, propelling the viewer towards a transcendent interaction with the cosmos.


the Tao of landscape, space perception, body schema, transcendence, going alone