Chinese Ink Brush Writing, Body Mimesis, and Responsiveness

Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 12 (4):523-543 (2013)
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This essay aims at an elucidation of the performative relation connecting artistic mimesis with the living body. Encompassing art theory and phenomenology of the body, the scope is to evince a crucial link between aesthetic interpretation, body motion, and mimetic creativity, with general implications for reflection on the body, as well as a deeper understanding of a major element of ancient Chinese culture. By mainly analyzing Chinese texts on ink brush writing, as well as some testimony taken from 20th century European philosophy, this essay, from a transcultural stance, tries to show how ink brush writing may be interpreted as a type of regulated body movement and body exercise. What appears as responsiveness within this phenomenal field is a specific form of mimesis, namely body mimesis. As a sort of imitative action, body mimesis runs through the bodily self, beyond consciousness, transforming it and shaping its behavior



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