Aesthetic suggestiveness in chinese thought: A symphony of metaphysics and aesthetics

Philosophy East and West 53 (4):490-513 (2003)
: Suggestiveness is a major theoretical category in Chinese aesthetic thought. Within the broader context of Chinese tradition, it is a product of the interpenetration of and exchanges between philosophical and artistic discourses. Despite its prevalence in Chinese aesthetic thought, suggestiveness has never been examined as an aesthetic category in its own right, nor have its implications been explored in relation to contemporary theories. This essay reexamines suggestiveness and its seminal ideas as an aesthetic category in Chinese tradition, exploring their relation to philosophical thought and reconceptualizing their implications in terms of the postmodern idea of literary openness. As a preliminary attempt to pioneer an approach to Chinese aesthetic theory that may emancipate it from intellectual stagnation and at the same time preserve its characteristic features, this essay also intends to inquire whether insights of Chinese aesthetics, often characterized as gems of "Oriental mysticism," can be understood in terms of reflective analysis and have a meaningful dialogue with contemporary Western literary thought
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