DOI: 10.18254/s268684310026710-9 ISSN:

Taoist Painting during the Tang and Song Eras: The View of Russian Orientalists

Pavel V. Bein
  • Earth-Surface Processes

The paper is an attempt to examine several key works of orientalists of the domestic (Soviet and Russian) schools of the last century, whose activities were aimed at analyzing the theoretical foundations, genre-typological, compositional aspects, and other aspects of both classical Chinese painting as a whole and its cult component, largely expressed by Taoist creativity. The comprehensive growth of interest in the spiritual culture of China, one of the oldest and most distinctive value systems, observed now (2023), as well as the gradual penetration of its basic features into modern life, prompt us to pay increased attention to the question of the degree of development of the relevant issues in the scientific environment of Russia. Undeservedly remaining for a long time on the periphery of the sphere of research of Russian sinologists, Chinese art needed Russian-language publications not only large monographs of a generalizing nature, but also works focusing on narrower issues, including coverage of the Taoist painting tradition. The period covered (1948-2004), the prerequisites of which were laid at the early stage of the existence of the Soviet state (20-30-ies, 20th century), became, despite the trend of long-termism, convincing evidence of the confident pace of development of the art direction of Russian orientalism. The result of the efforts of the authors presented on the pages (O. N. Glukharyova and B. P. Denicke (“A Brief History of Chinese Art”, 1948), E. V. Zavadskaya (“Aesthetic Problems of Painting in Old China”, 1976), N. A. Vinogradova (“Chinese Landscape Painting”, 1972)), which described the significant properties of Chinese art, was the formation of a strong framework, which with the advent of the 21st century allowed to open a new milestone in the field of cultural and historical research of Russian Oriental studies. The quintessence of this phenomenon is the publication in 2004 of a comprehensive manual by M. E. Kravtsova “World Art Culture. History of Chinese Art: Textbook”, which at the same time absorbed all the material accumulated during the 20th century and expanded the previously formed horizons of knowledge. Significant attention on the pages of the work is paid, among other things, to cult creativity as one of the most important engines of the processes of evolution of traditional Chinese painting.

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