The shared origin of painting and calligraphy: II 書畫同源(二): 線條流轉的人物造像

Sat, Sep 30, 2017 - Page 14

The peculiar structure of the Chinese brush, with its supple hairs arranged in an inverted cone, means a single brush is incredibly versatile, and can produce points, lines and planes. This characteristic makes the brush equally useful for painting and calligraphy, with painting techniques largely being an extension of calligraphic brush techniques. This is the basis for Zhang Yanyuan’s idea of the shared origin of painting and calligraphy.

In last month’s Bilingual Arts we introduced the cunfa (texture stoke) technique used for depicting the surface texture of boulders. We now turn to how continuous lines were used in figurative mural painting, as an additional expression of the shared origin of painting and calligraphy.

The detail of the mural Vimalakirti debating Manjusri shown here, dating to around the High Tang period (mid 8th century AD), is located in Dunhuang Mogao Cave 103. Scholars believe this painting to be stylistically very similar to works attributable to Wu Daozi. During his lifetime, Wu painted countless numbers of Buddhist and Taoist murals, and was given the name “painting sage.” Unfortunately, extant works attributable to his hand are few and far between.

Wu Daozi excelled in the control of the brush tip. He was known for his ability to depict variations in thickness of line over the twists and turns of the folds of clothing, enabling him to represent clothes and lengths of material flapping and billowing in the wind. This technique was accorded its own term — wudai dangfeng— “Wu’s ribbons billowing in the wind.” Zhang Yanyu declared that Wu was skilled in all six painting principles.

In the mural, Vimalakirti, in ill health, is leaning forward in his canopy, listening attentively to the discoursing Manjusri. The painting shows a mature brush technique in depicting line, the artist employing variation to describe details of Vimalakirti’s facial features and clothing. The brushwork on the forehead, brow and corners of the eyes perfectly render his animated expression, even as his eyelids droop, a result of his ill health. With the use of variation in line, now languid, now urgent, the artist has been able to accurately depict the muscular structure and juxtaposition of light and shadow with line.

(Translated by Paul Cooper)

由於毛筆的特殊結構——呈倒圓錐體、富柔軟度的筆毛,可以由同一隻毛筆作出點、線、面,且變化繁多,因而毛筆同時為書法及繪畫的工具,而繪畫的技巧也多以書法之筆法衍伸出,基於此,而有張彥遠的「書畫同源」之說。

上月雙語藝術單元中,我們介紹了營造出山石體積的皴法;本單元我們將觀察連綿的線條如何羅織出人物像,作為「書畫同源」另一例。

此《維摩詰像》約作於盛唐(西元八世紀半),為敦煌莫高窟第一○三洞中之壁畫局部,學者咸認該壁畫近似史載吳道子之畫風。吳道子一生作過無數佛教、道教壁畫,且有「畫聖」之稱,但現已無可靠的吳道子真跡流傳。

吳道子善用筆鋒之變化,同一線條隨著衣紋之折疊,給予粗細不等轉折之表現,這種方法,更能表達出衣帶飛動轉折之狀態,而有「吳帶當風」之美名。張彥遠更評吳道子的畫「六法俱全」。

畫中維摩詰帶病倚坐帳內,傾身專注於和文殊菩薩的激辯中。此圖展現出圓熟的線描表象,以各種線條來描繪維摩詰顏面、衣飾等細節,包括其額頭、眉間、眼角等處因表情牽動而生的面紋,以及因病而鬆垂的眼瞼褶紋。

經由線條緩急起伏的變化,此圖完全用線條精確地說明物象之肌理結構以及光影向背。

(台北時報編譯林俐凱)