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The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition$
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Zehou Li

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833077

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833077.001.0001

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The Daoist-Confucian Synthesis

The Daoist-Confucian Synthesis

(p.76) Chapter 3 The Daoist-Confucian Synthesis
The Chinese Aesthetic Tradition

Li Zehou

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the opposition and complementarity of Confucianism and Daoism that manifest in the notion of “the naturalization of humans” put forward by the Daoists and Zhuangzi and in the idea of the “humanization of nature” emphasized by the rites and music tradition and Confucian humanists. It considers how Zhuangzi broadened the aesthetic object to encompass nature and spiritual freedom and argues that he allowed a truly aesthetic attitude toward life, nature, and art to emerge within the context of Confucian aesthetics. It also discusses the close relationship between the great beauty of heaven and earth and the ideal human personality, suggesting that, if one has a subjective personality that transcends external things, and if one adopts an aesthetic attitude of “free and easy wandering,” then he/she will meet beauty in everything.

Keywords:   beauty, Confucianism, Daoism, human naturalization, Zhuangzi, nature, nature, spiritual freedom, Confucian aesthetics, human personality

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