From Changxin Palace Lanterns to Lotus Lanterns, the Art and Craftsmanship of Lanterns in the Han, Wei, and Northern and Southern Dynasties

    What is "workmanship" and "skill" in cultural relics?

    This article takes lamps from the Han Dynasty to the Southern and Northern Dynasties such as Changxin palace lanterns as examples to discuss the concepts of "work" and "skill" in ancient Chinese material culture. By combing through the concepts of "work" and "skill" in the literature, the author reveals the three traditions of ancient Chinese material culture, namely the craftsman tradition, the knowledge tradition and the conceptual tradition. On this basis, the author sorted out the specific embodiment of the concepts of "work" and "skill" in the design of ancient Chinese lamps from three aspects: function and use, image and senses, craftsmanship and elegance.

    1. What is “work” and “skill”?

    "Qiao" is a concept with a small connotation but a large denotation. We can give "qiao" a specious standard by defining it. However, what exactly is "qiao" is always related to people's subjective viewing perspective and way of thinking. . How to understand "qiao" depends on different people in different civilizations, different regions, and different eras. In ancient China, the concept of "qiao" emerged in the pre-Qin period, and was often associated with another concept, "gong". To understand "qiao", we must also understand "work". "Qiao" in ancient Chinese material culture often appears in the relationship between work and skill.

    "Book of Zhou Li Kao Gong Ji" says: "The sky has its timing, the earth has energy, the materials have beauty, and the workmanship has skill. If these four are combined, then it can be good."

    Here we propose four elements for making good utensils, namely weather, earth atmosphere, materials and craftsmanship. The first three of them all require chance, but the skill of craftsmanship lies in human effort. The relationship between workmanship and skillfulness permeates the concept of "harmony between man and nature". The realization of "skillfulness" lies largely in making use of the right time and location, and applying "work" to "materials".

    "Han Shu·Shihuo Zhi" says: "Making skillful utensils is called work." Compared with material materials, "work" represents both the craftsman and the skills carried by the craftsman. "Guoyu·Qiyu" states that "talking to each other is based on skill, showing each other is skillful, and communicating with each other is skillful." The "qiao" here refers to the skills displayed to each other, and "work" is the main body of the display of skills. "Zhou Li Tianguan" mentions "nine positions", the fifth of which is "Hundred Works". Jia Gongyan's annotation on "Hundred Works" says: "It refers to hundreds of skillful works, and the cause is changed into eight talents. Utensils are just ordered.” It can be seen from this that the utensils are made from a variety of materials, which is a craftsmanship. In the relationship between "work" and "skill", compared to "material" and "work", "skill" constitutes the link between "tool" and "work". In other words, "work" and "skill" are reflected in the process from "material" to "utensil". The two are in a relationship with two sides of the same body and cannot be completely separated. "Skill" is reflected in skills, and the inheritance of skills forms the craftsman tradition.

    In addition to the relationship between craftsmanship and craftsmanship, "Book of Zhou Li Kao Gong Ji" also mentions "craftsmanship" when it comes to "wheel making" and "painting":

    The wheel is the wheel, and the three materials must be cut at the right time. The three materials are already present, and those who are skillful can combine them. The hub is thought to be a sharp turning point; the spokes are thought to be directed; the teeth are thought to be a solid hold.

    When painting silk, there are five colors. The east is called green, the south is called red, the west is called white, the north is called black, the sky is called black, and the earth is called yellow. The phases of green and white are also followed, the phases of red and black are also followed, and the phases of black and yellow are also followed. Green and red are called Wen, red and white are called Zhang, white and black are called Fu, black and green are called Fu, and the five colors are called embroidery. The earth is yellow, its elephant is square, the sky changes, the fire is a circle, the mountain is a chapter, the water is a dragon, the birds, beasts and snakes. The positions of the four seasons and five colors are combined into chapters, which is called cleverness. Everything that is done with the silk is the result of Su Gong.

    When making a wheel, after the three materials of hub, spokes and teeth are ready, the key step to make the materials into a tool is "harmony". Painting is to use dye to partially paint on the fabric, or use colored silk to embroider, thereby forming colorful patterns. The essence of painting is "Zhang". The "skills" revealed by "harmony" and "zhang" are not only reflected in the process from materials to utensils. The "skills" of the skillful person here lie not only in their exquisite skills, but also in their exquisite design. Therefore, "qiao" is not only reflected in the craftsmanship from "materials" to "vessels", but also in the design concepts of "harmony" and "zhang".

    2. Ancient lamps from the perspective of material culture research

    The design concept of utensils must not only consider the meaning of the utensils, but also be influenced by the subtle influence of metaphysical utensil-making concepts. The former formed an intellectual tradition through historical accumulation, while the latter formed a conceptual tradition through repeated destruction. Craftsman tradition, knowledge tradition and conceptual tradition constitute three clues for the study of material culture, which respectively point to three different aspects: "tools", "things" and "meaning". Among them, the craftsman tradition reflects the “vessel” aspect of material culture. Materials, techniques and people are combined in different ways in different eras and regions, and the process of making utensils reflects the skill of the craftsman. Knowledge tradition expresses the “things” aspect of material culture. Different device functions, different use occasions and different application groups will make the design of the device complicated. Under the influence of different etiquette and customs, the materials, shapes, decorations and patterns of utensils have formed rich and diverse connotations and directions. This knowledge integrated into the utensils shows the functional ingenuity of the utensils in different sensory experiences. Conceptual tradition embodies the "righteousness" aspect of material culture. Concepts such as the nature of the universe, yin and yang and the five elements, life and death, sorrow and music, and ethics of elegance and secularity, in different eras and different cultural backgrounds, although they cannot be directly related to the visual shape of the utensils, they penetrate them in an invisible way, revealing the uniqueness of the utensils. A clever idea.

    From the three aspects of craftsmanship, function and conception, we bring the concepts of "craft" and "craft" into the perspective of material culture research. In ancient Chinese material culture, lamps are an important content. The use of fire and lighting is not only related to the basic aspects of people's daily life, but also closely related to customs and etiquette. What kind of materials and techniques are used to make lamps, what shapes and patterns are used to decorate lamps, and what occasions are used to use lamps? These aspects all contain the ancients' understanding of "work" and "skill". There are a large number of descriptions of lamps in different types of artistic works, and praises of lamps are also frequently seen in literary works of all dynasties. On top of the material form, lamps and candles as images illuminate people's ideological path.

    What people call "lamps" today were first seen in "Erya" in ancient Chinese literature. They evolved from eating utensils. "Erya·Shiqi" records: "Double beans are called beans, bamboo beans are called bamboo beans, and tile beans are called climbing." Guo Pu of the Western Jin Dynasty noted: "Deng means anointing a lamp." From this we can see that the original "Lamp" refers to an oil lamp, and its shape is derived from a pottery bean. However, before the Han Dynasty, there was no clear distinction between "lamp" and "candle". All kinds of lighting appliances were collectively called "candles", including not only oil lamps, but also lighting appliances such as torches. Xu Shen of the Eastern Han Dynasty said in "Shuowen Jiezi" that "a ingot is called a lamp", and Lu Jing of the Western Jin Dynasty's "Yun Ji" explained that "a lamp without feet is called a lamp, and if it has feet, it is called a ingot." It can be seen that the names of lamps began to have clear references from the Han and Jin Dynasties, and their names were often related to specific shapes. Although the materials, shapes, decorative patterns are different, and the natural environment and civilization background are different, there is no doubt that the formation of lamps originally originated from people's control and adjustment of flames. Different fuels and combustion methods determine the original two basic structures of lamps: one is to use solid fuel to directly burn into lighting fixtures, first as torches and later as candles; the other is to use stones, shells, ceramics, metals, etc. Material for oil lamps. Candles have not existed in China since ancient times. Kong Yingda's note in "Book of Rites·Quli" says: "The ancients did not have candles, but called torches as candles." However, thin candles similar to ancient Egypt did not appear in China until the Eastern Han Dynasty. Appear. The appearance of candles led to the formal distinction between "lamp" and "candle". Since the Eastern Han Dynasty, "lamp" began to refer specifically to oil lamps, and "zhu" began to refer exclusively to candles.

    The distinction between the names of lamps reveals the specialization of lamp types, behind which are the three traditions of ancient Chinese lighting. The first tradition is the sacrificial ritual. "The Rites of Zhou·Qiuguan·Si Xuanshi" says: "Si Xuanshi used his fusui in his palm to draw the bright fire from the sun, to use the mirror to draw the bright water from the moon, and to use the bright turtles and bright candles for sacrifices to illuminate the water." Zheng Xuan In the annotation, it is said: "We take the fire of the sun and the water of the moon in order to obtain the clean air of yin and yang." The sun was used to gather the sunlight to obtain the "bright fire", and then the "bright candle" used for sacrifice was lit. From the Shang and Zhou Dynasties to the Sui and Tang Dynasties, In the same vein, the lamps that serve as "bright candles" have also continued to develop and change. In addition to using candles to worship heaven and earth, ancient palaces would also set up courtyard lamps and large candles inside and outside Duanmen. "The Rites of Zhou, Qiu Guan, Si Xuan's Family": "The major events of all countries are shared by candles and candles in the graves." This practice also had an influence on the Han and Wei dynasties. By the Wei and Jin Dynasties, multiple lanterns were often set up in the palace festival ceremonies. Lamps are not accessible to ordinary people. The clear identity definition and its own gorgeous decoration also make it go beyond the basic function of general lighting, thus establishing a set of visual order. This set of order is not only reflected in the actual rituals, but also entered into the tombs and became an integral part of the funeral rituals to mark the identity or rank of the tomb owner. Together they constitute the second tradition of ancient Chinese lighting, that is, order. logo. Compared with the first two traditions, the daily lighting function based on the practicality of lamps is the third tradition of ancient lighting. Whether it is city street lighting or people's daily life; whether it is military defense or offshore navigation; whether it is festival viewing or literati's lyricism, various lamps and lanterns incorporate various ingenuities of craftsmen on the basis of their practical functions. It provides an observation perspective for us to understand "work" and "qiao".

    3. "Workmanship" and "Ingenuity" in Lamps

    Compared with people's descriptions of the concepts of "work" and "skill" in the classical era, we may be more familiar with the following two words today, namely "skillful workmanship" and "great skill but no workmanship". There can be many different interpretations of the meanings of these two words, but they actually share a basic premise, that is, when we examine the "skills" of utensils, we often unconsciously focus on the craftsmanship relationship presented by the utensils. People's perception of "skill" is concentrated in the refinement of the craftsmanship and the simplicity of the decorative forms. People in different periods, different regions and different cultural backgrounds may have completely opposite attitudes. The so-called "skill" can be reflected through exquisite craftsmanship and complicated decoration, or it can also be expressed as downplaying or transcending craftsmanship and decoration. As far as ancient lamps are concerned, the standard of "skill" can also be based on the relationship between "work" and "skill", which can be observed from the following aspects.

    (1) Function and practicality

    The ingenious design of utensils lies first in their function and practicality, which is also a main thread running through ancient material culture. Wang Fu of the Eastern Han Dynasty recorded in "Qian Fu Lun·Wu Ben": "Those who are skilled in craftsmanship should put practical use first and skillful decoration as the last priority." The utensils of the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties are often decorated with complicated decorations, and many decorations are used to deliberately identify one's identity. Or it expresses certain concepts of the times. What Wang Fu discussed has its own era background. In his view, even ingenious decoration is at the end of practical functions. In other words, in material culture, although both the skill of decoration and the skill of application can be called "skill", they are actually fundamentally different. Zhang Dai, a litterateur in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, lived a luxurious life when he was young. He was well-informed and had extensive experience in lighting. In his later years, he lived in seclusion in the mountains and devoted himself to writing. When talking about the various exquisite lamps he had seen in his life, he said in "Tao'an Dream Memories": "There are not many lamps, but one is always bright." He expressed concisely and concisely that the design of lamps should be based on lighting. The function is basic.

    [Picture 1] Changxin palace lantern unearthed from Han tombs in Mancheng, Hebei Province. Taken from "Qin and Han Civilization" edited by Lu Zhangshen, Beijing Times Chinese Bookstore, 2017, page 138

    The light source of lamps comes from fire, and the production of fire requires fuel. Whether it is animal fats, vegetable oils or fossil fuels, soot is produced during the combustion process. People in the Han Dynasty invented a lamp with a smoke tube. The smoke guide on the lamp body can guide the soot produced by the burning of grease into the belly of the lamp. Water is stored in the belly of the lamp to cool and absorb the smoke, thereby keeping the room clean. Sun Ji classified this kind of lamp as "Zhen Lamp", and the smoke tube is its most prominent feature. Compared with various previous lamps, this design based on practicality can be said to be a masterstroke of craftsmanship. The Changxin palace lantern unearthed from a Han tomb in Mancheng, Hebei is world-famous. It is a classic lantern from the Han Dynasty (Figure 1).

    The materials, processes and fuel used to make lamps are closely related to real-life functions and wealth resources. If lamps as symbols of ritual rituals or order focus on performance beyond the original function of lighting, then the lamps used by ordinary people for daily lighting must be cleverly conceived in terms of practical functions such as lighting effects and fuel saving. Lu You, a poet of the Southern Song Dynasty, mentioned a kind of "oil-saving lamp" in "Notes of Laoxue'an":

    There is a "Poetry on Oil-Saving Lamps" in "Song Wen'an Gongji", which is found in the Han Dynasty and is also a lamp with a lid. Make a small hole at one end, pour cold water into it, and remove it every night. Ordinary lamps are burned by fire and dry out, so they dry quickly. This is not the case, and it saves almost half of the oil.

    Adding cold water to control the amount of fire to save fuel is not an ingenious idea, but the lighting effect will also be affected. Fang Yizhi of the late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty recorded a kind of candle called "Ningwax Stick" in "Little Knowledge of Physics· Utensils". The method is to put one pound each of yellow wax, rosin, and sophora flower and four ounces of pumice powder on it. Dissolve them together, and then water them with rushes, so that the candle made in this way consumes only one inch a day and night. By improving the lighting method and fuel ratio, people can achieve the purpose of saving fuel, which is a functional ingenuity based on practicality. The "work" among them, although not based on visual exquisiteness, must also be based on long-term practical accumulation.

    (2) Imagery and senses

    In addition to function and practicality, the "skills" in lamps are also reflected in whether they can lead the fashion of the times by creating unique images, whether they can match special ceremonial occasions through symbolic decoration, and whether they can be created through different processes. Produce a rich sensory experience. In contrast, the ingenuity of these craftsmanship and conception is not only reflected in the lighting function of the lamps, but also cleverly conveys and highlights their metaphorical meaning through the lighting process.

    1. Imagery

    "Shangxiang Utensil Making" is an important concept in the design and production of utensils in ancient Chinese material culture.

    "Book of Changes·Xici" says: "Those who use words should pay attention to their words, those who use movement should pay attention to their movements, those who make utensils should pay attention to their images, and those who use divination should pay attention to their predictions." What is "meaning" and what is "image" "? There are numerous explanations throughout the ages. Recently, some researchers have analyzed "xiang" from the etymology and semantic structure. Sun Xiangchen pointed out that the "xiang" in "The Book of Changes" has three levels: hexagram symbols, hexagram images and the Tao symbolized by the hexagram images, forming a three-dimensional structure of "words", "images" and "meaning". The word "Xiang" is transformed from the image of an animal into a symbol. This simulation process is used to express the changes in things rather than to represent the object itself. The purpose of imitating "Xiang" is to embody "Tao". From this point of view, imagery contains two levels, one is the changing things, and the other is the symbolic meaning of the things. As far as lamps are concerned, lamps from different eras have different shapes and decorative features. Their origins have their own "images", and the meanings and concepts behind them are their "meanings".

    The "skill" in the design of lamps is mainly reflected in the degree of fit between "meaning" and "image". This degree of fit is expressed concretely and visualized through "shape" and "picture". The ingenuity in the design of ancient Chinese lamps was centered on the refining and expression of imagery, and the craftsmanship of making lamps was often a means to realize ingenuity. However, lighting designs in different periods have different emphasis on image creation.

    [Picture 2] Examples of animal shapes in Han Dynasty lanterns 1. Wild goose-shaped lanterns unearthed from Tomb No. 1 at Wangniuling in Hepu, Guangxi 2. Sheep-shaped lanterns unearthed in Fengxiang, Shaanxi were taken from "Qin and Han Civilization" by Lu Zhangshen, pp. 298 and 228 Page

    The ingenuity in the conception of lamps from the Shang and Zhou dynasties to the Qin and Han dynasties is reflected in "turning images into shapes". "Shape" is the specific presentation of "image", which is more concrete than the change of image. In the lamps, various changes in the natural world and daily life are expressed in rich shapes and patterns, including animals and people. Among the animal-shaped lamps, the "bright candles" used for sacrifices in the Zhou Dynasty were often decorated with the shape of phoenix birds. This kind of lamps are called "bird pillar lamps", and the shape of phoenix birds is originally related to the meaning of the sun and light. , so its “shape” expresses the image of light. Many of the popular lanterns in the palaces of the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties were based on animals, including bird-shaped lanterns, sheep lanterns, rhinoceros lanterns, camel lanterns, etc. Most of these animal images were taken from the real world, but they also incorporated multiple elements beyond reality. meaning. For example, lamps in the shape of ducks or wild geese are often used as dowry gifts for princes when they accept their concubines, embodying the meaning of marriage and marriage in the Han Dynasty ceremony (Figure 2:1); lamps in the shape of redbirds, turtles, toads or sheep, It reflects the concept of yin and yang or auspiciousness at that time [Figure 2: 2].

    〔Picture 3〕 Examples of human-shaped lamps from the Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han dynasties
    1. Bronze human-shaped lamp M1017 unearthed from the Western Zhou Cemetery in Dahekou, Yicheng County, Shanxi Province. Taken from the previously published "Western Zhou Cemetery in Dahekou County, Yicheng County, Shanxi Province", Plate 6, 3
    2. Call for collection of Haidai human-shaped chandeliers in Changsha, Hunan. Taken from "The Complete Collection of Chinese Art·Bronze Volume" edited by Sun Hua, Huangshan Publishing House, 2010, page 702
    3. The human-shaped lamp unearthed from the Warring States Tomb in Pingshan, Hebei Province is taken from "The Complete Collection of Chinese Art·Bronze Volume" edited by Sun Hua, p. 1015

    Lamps with human figures were first seen in the Western Zhou Cemetery M1017 at Dahekou, Yicheng, Shanxi. The bronze lamps have a figure sitting on the ground as the main body, with the upper body exposed and a brazier on top of its head. It is obviously not an ordinary person (Figure 3: 1). Most of the bronze vessels produced at the same time are sacrificial vessels, so it can be speculated that they may be "bright candles" used in sacrificial rituals. During the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties, the characters on lamps showed two different development paths. One was developing in the direction of reality and was shaped like a waiter; the other was developing in the direction of imagination and was shaped like a waiter. Feathered people or immortal beasts. In the former, in addition to lanterns such as the Changxin Palace Lantern, there are also chandeliers in the shape of attendants holding lamp plates (Figure 3:2). Since the Eastern Han Dynasty, with the expansion of the Silk Road and the development of border areas, non-Chinese attire and figures have gradually appeared in the shapes of artifacts (Figure 3:3). By summarizing this type of lamps, some researchers have proposed that these characters originated from people's understanding and shaping of others during the formation of the Chinese-centered concept during the Han and Jin Dynasties. No matter what kind of image it is, various shapes and decorations are in the process of transforming images into forms, cleverly utilizing the physical properties of metal materials, and conveying the concepts of yin and yang, life and death, ethics and Huayi through the lighting environment on different occasions. .

    Since the Eastern Han Dynasty, the phenomenon of imitation across materials has appeared in the design of utensils. For example, decorative imitation wood structures appear in stone buildings, imitation metal or glass patterns appear in ceramics, and stone utensils of the same shape or pattern will also replace ceramic utensils. These phenomena can also be seen in the design and production of lamps, and they also lead to the following questions: Is the core of this kind of imitation across materials to imitate its shape or write its meaning, and whether it focuses on the specific modeling object or focuses on The meaning behind the image?

    For this problem, we can get a glimpse of it from the stone lamps and celadon lamps in the north and south during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Different from the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties, the most characteristic lamps during the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties were mainly made of celadon, and they were concentrated in the south. Compared with the South, Northern Dynasties society had relatively distinct changes over the times in the use of lamps. Roughly bounded by Qianluo in the Northern Wei Dynasty, stone lamps and celadon lamps constituted the main types of lamps in the two periods. During the Pingcheng period of the Northern Wei Dynasty, stone lamps were often placed in the center of high-level tombs. The craftsmanship of these stone lamps was closely related to the gathering of stone carving craftsmen in Pingcheng of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the excavation of the Yungang Grottoes. The stone-carved tomb door of the Yonggu Mausoleum of Empress Dowager Feng of the Northern Wei Dynasty, and the reliefs and line carvings on the surfaces of the stone halls in the Pingcheng tombs all interact with these stone lamps. After the capital was moved to Luoyang, influenced by the material culture and aesthetic trends of the Southern Dynasties, the stone lamps in tombs in the Northern Wei Dynasty were mostly ceramic or celadon lamps with special shapes. During the Northern Qi Dynasty, there were not only stone lamps from the Pingcheng period but also large celadon lamps in the tombs, which is a reflection of the blending of the cultural styles of the north and the south.

    Whether it is the celadon lamps of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Southern Dynasties and Northern Qi Dynasty, or the stone lamps of Pingcheng in the Northern Wei Dynasty, the lotus is the core image of its shape and decoration. As an image, the lotus flower was often used to express the love between men and women in literary works from the pre-Qin Dynasty to the Wei and Jin Dynasties. "The Book of Songs·Chen Feng" has the poem "Zepei": "There are cattails and lotuses on the other side of the river. There is a beautiful person, how can it be hurt." Among them, cattails and lotus are used as metaphors for men and women, expressing their love for each other. . In "Ode to the Goddess of Luo", Cao Zhi described the graceful temperament of the Goddess of Luo with the glow of the sunrise and the hibiscus emerging from the water: "Looking at it from a distance, it is as bright as the sun rising as the morning glow; looking at it by force, it is as bright as the hibiscus emerging from Lubo." Whether in literary description or in literary description, In the decoration of utensils, lotus was a prominent image in the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern and Northern Dynasties.

    [Picture 4] Lotus lanterns unearthed from tombs during the Northern and Southern Dynasties
    1. Celadon lotus lantern unearthed from the Southern Dynasty tomb in Nanyu, Fujian Province. Taken from "Complete Collection of Chinese Art: Porcelain Volume" edited by Li Huiping, Huangshan Publishing House, 2010, page 303
    2. Lotus-patterned stone lanterns in the collection of the Datong Northern Dynasties Art Museum. Taken from "Illustration of Collections of the Northern Dynasties Art Institute·Stone Sculptures" compiled by the Datong Northern Dynasties Art Institute, Cultural Relics Publishing House, 2016, page 35
    3. The lotus lantern unearthed from the tomb of Xue Huaiji in the Northern Wei Dynasty in Wanrong, Shanxi was collected from the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology, Yuncheng Cultural Relics Protection Center, and Wanrong County Culture and Tourism Bureau, "Brief Report on the Excavation of the Tomb of Xue Huaiji in the Northern Wei Dynasty in Xisiya, Wanrong, Shanxi", "Cultural Relics" No. 1, 2023 issue, page 25
    4. Celadon lotus lamp unearthed from Lou Rui Tomb of Northern Qi Dynasty in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Taken from "Lou Rui Tomb of Northern Qi Dynasty" compiled by Taiyuan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, Cultural Relics Publishing House, 2004, page 72

    With the introduction of Buddhism after the Han and Wei dynasties, the image of lotus in Buddhist art also profoundly influenced the design and decoration styles of the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties. Some researchers pointed out that in the context of Buddhism, lotus has two meanings: "immortal" and "bright". The former is used to metaphorize the Buddha's character and realm, while the latter is used to express the Buddha's mission to save all living beings. The Buddhist-style lotus charm was combined with the warm and tranquil material characteristics of celadon during the Eastern Jin and Southern Dynasties. The connotation of "unstainable" lotus also catered to the aesthetic taste of the upper class in society, and the lotus shape also became popular in celadon lamps. A celadon lotus lamp was unearthed from the Southern Dynasty tomb of Minhou Nanyu in Fujian (Figure 4:1). There is an octagonal pillar-like lamp post on the circular base, and three lotus petals about to bloom are carved on both sides of the lower half of the pillar. , a small Buddha statue stands on the top of the column among the petals. On both sides of the Buddha statue are round holes for placing candles. Not only on celadon lamps in the south, but also on stone lamps in the north, lotus is also an important decorative theme. A stone lamp with a bird, monkey, and lotus pattern was unearthed from a tomb in Pingcheng in the Northern Wei Dynasty (Figure 4:2). The lamp body is made of blue-gray sandstone, with a square base and a raspberry-style base. The surface is engraved with lotus petals. . The lamp handle is cylindrical and divided into upper and lower layers with a circle of beads. The lower layer is composed of four lifting figures, and the upper layer is alternated with four trees, respectively carving a lion looking back, a figure holding a bowl, and two groups of apes. The top of the lamppost is the lamp, with lotus petal patterns carved around the surface.

    Wang Yun pointed out that in addition to the meaning of "immortal", the meaning of "brightness" of the lotus originated from ancient Egypt and was introduced to India via Persia. This meaning of light also contains the concept of resurrection from the dead. After the meaning of light entered China, although it gradually declined in literature since the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the shaping of lotus flowers on lamps and the association of lights with lotus precisely reflected its meaning of symbolizing light. The lamps decorated with lotus flowers in tombs may also be consistent with the concept of life and death of lotus flowers in religious contexts. The ceramic lamps of the Luoyang period of the Northern Wei Dynasty continue the basic style of the stone lamps of the Pingcheng period in shape, and the lamp base is decorated with lotus flowers. Examples of this can be found in the tomb of Xue Huaiji of the Northern Wei Dynasty in Wanrong, Shanxi (Figure 4:3). After the split of the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Eastern Wei Dynasty and the Northern Qi Dynasty continued the cultural tradition of the Northern Wei Dynasty. At the same time, southern celadon was also popular among the upper class of northern society. The stone lotus lanterns from the Pingcheng period of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the ceramic lotus lanterns from the Luoyang period were immediately replaced by large celadon lotus lamps. replaced by lamps. A large celadon lotus lamp was unearthed from the tomb of Lou Rui in the Northern Qi Dynasty in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province (Figure 4: 4). The base of the lamp is connected to the lamp handle, and the lamp is made separately. On the base and the lamp, a set of lotus petals and honeysuckle patterns are respectively shaped using lamination techniques. Corresponding to the lotus, honeysuckle decoration is also a type of plant pattern that has become popular with the rise of Buddhist art since the Northern Dynasties. Along with the Buddha's light and the charm of lotus, the two lighting traditions of the North and the South of the Yangtze River in the early Northern Dynasties also converged. The basic shapes of stone lamps and pottery lamps were combined with the craftsmanship of celadon. Under the shining blue light, the lotus flower was multiplexed. The meaning slowly blooms.

    This example shows that during the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, the material and design shape of lamps were not the most important. Compared with "form", the "image" referred to by "form" and the "meaning" represented by "image" are more important. Compared with the Shang and Zhou dynasties to the Qin and Han Dynasties, the cleverness of the conception of lamps is reflected in "turning images into shapes", the cleverness of the conception of lamps in this period is reflected in "using images to express freehand", the core of which lies in symbolizing specific images, thereby refining The meaning.

    2. Senses

    The cleverness of the lighting design is reflected not only in the fit between meaning and image, but also in the interactive relationship between form and spirit. "Huainanzi · Interpretation and Training" says: "The spirit is more valuable than the form. Therefore, the form is controlled by the spirit, and the spirit is poor when the form is superior." Here, there is a clear distinction between form and spirit, and at the same time, it is also proposed that the two are the same. A trade-off relationship. In the classical period, Western art often emphasized the reproduction and imitation of the objective world, while Chinese art gradually left the path of "mimicry" in the process of "transforming images into forms" to "using images to express feelings". This weakening of "form" and the emphasis on "spirit" is not only seen in paintings. The pursuit of "expressiveness" and "charm" is also reflected in the design of lamps, among which charm constitutes a bridge connecting form and spirit. . Qiyun is somewhat abstract for physical objects, but for people it can often be perceived through the senses. So, should the cleverness of lighting design emphasize or weaken the senses? Should the knowledge tradition be presented in a structured way, or should it simply simulate the state of nature? Let us still take the stone lantern as an example to take a closer look.

    During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, in terms of the decoration of utensils, the Northern Dynasties mostly showed complicated decoration and an emphasis on the senses. Decorative elements from different knowledge traditions often appeared in the same utensil, while the decoration of the utensils in the Southern Dynasties was relatively simple and simple, showing a weakening of the senses. . Not only that, other art forms such as music and dance in the Southern and Northern Dynasties also had similar aesthetic tendencies. In other words, in the material culture of the Northern Dynasties, "qiao" was largely based on the emphasis on "work", while the opposite was true for the Southern Dynasties. From the perspective of lamps, this emphasis on "workmanship" is not only reflected in the relatively complex shape and decoration of lamps, but also in the "synaesthesia" tendency of lamp design, which is to concentrate multiple sensory factors on one lamp. Express.

    [Picture 5] Music and dance in Northern Wei Dynasty stone lantern images
    1. Stone lanterns collected by the Northern Dynasties Art Museum in Datong, Shanxi. Photographed by the author

    [Picture 5] Music and dance in Northern Wei Dynasty stone lantern images
    2. Stone lamp unearthed from Jiabao Tomb of Northern Wei Dynasty in Datong, Shanxi Province. Collected from Datong Archaeological Institute's "Excavation Brief of Jiabao Tomb of Northern Wei Dynasty in Datong, Shanxi Province", "Cultural Relics" Issue 6, 2021, pp. 29-30

    During the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties, with the reconstruction of the ritual and music system, musical elements became a deliberately depicted theme in material culture. Not only are realistic musical instrument combinations included within the framework of the ritual and music system, but there are also specialized depictions of musical elements in tomb murals, images of burial objects, and combinations of pottery figurines. These graphic music combinations are often related to the status of the tomb owner, and thus become part of the burial system. The music combinations often show a blend of Hu music and traditional Chinese music. These exotic music and dances can also be seen on stone lanterns from the Pingcheng period of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Among the stone lamps unearthed from tombs in the Pingcheng period of the Northern Wei Dynasty, in addition to using lotus and honeysuckle as the basic decorative themes, the lamps, lamp bases or lamp posts were often decorated with music and dance themes. The Northern Dynasties Art Museum in Datong, Shanxi collects a stone lamp. The base and lamp are both square. There is a circle of lotus petals under the lamp. A total of eight musicians, two dancers and a waiter are depicted on all four sides of the lamp [Figure 5: 1〕. Among them, the musicians all sit with their feet crossed, wearing Xianbei hats and robes, playing the traditional Chinese panpipes and zithers, as well as the traditional Hu music five-string pipa, four-string Xiang pipa, waist drum, horizontal blow, and 筚篥with cymbals. The maiko is wearing a silk cloth and has her hands clasped in front of her chest. It is uncertain whether this stone lamp unearthed from a tomb is related to Buddhism, but its decorative elements and figures are full of Buddhist colors.

    Although there is no clear location where this stone lantern was unearthed, there are many similar stone lanterns with music and dance as decorative themes found in archaeological discoveries in recent years. For example, a stone lamp was unearthed from the tomb of Jiabao of the Northern Wei Dynasty in Datong, Shanxi Province. The stone lamp was made of yellow-white sandstone and was carved in the round. It was divided into three parts: lamp holder, lamp post and lamp holder. The lamp holder is divided into two layers, the lower layer is square and the upper layer is drum-shaped, with a layer of coiled dragon pattern carved on the outside (Figure 5:2). The lamp is in the shape of a bowl, with a circle of upward lotus patterns carved on the outside. The lamppost is octagonal, with a high-relief lotus petal pattern bound by a rope in the middle. Each side of the lotus petals is engraved with two continuous circular honeysuckle patterns vertically, and three of the sides have images of jumping dancers. Under the lotus petals, a total of eight people dressed in Xianbei costumes are carved in bas-relief, including three dancers, three musicians, playing pipa, waist drum and panpipe respectively, and two performers. , performing sword throwing and ball jumping respectively. Similar scenes of music, dance, and opera frequently appear in tomb murals and portrait stone images from the Warring States Period, Qin and Han Dynasties to the Northern Wei Dynasty. However, the specific music combination incorporates elements of Hu music, and the Xianbei costumes of the characters reflect the Ronghua culture of the Pingcheng Period of the Northern Wei Dynasty. A combination of contemporary style. In a cold stone lamp, there is not only the fragrance of lotus, but also beautiful music and dazzling dance. When its wick is lit, the dancing lamp shadow will also integrate different senses such as vision, hearing and smell. As one body. Compared with "freehand painting with images", this kind of combining multiple senses in one place and achieving a vivid effect through the interweaving of images is also a "skillful" expression.

    (3) Craftsmanship and elegance

    In addition to function and practicality, imagery and senses, the craftsmanship in ancient Chinese lamps is also related to a set of important concepts at the ideological level, namely "elegance" and "vulgarity". What we often call elegance and vulgarity today is often related to moral standards or aesthetic tastes. But if observed historically, "elegance" and "vulgarity" actually exist in two different dimensions. One is elegance and customs oriented to etiquette, and the other is elegance and customs oriented to aesthetics. In the dimension of etiquette, the concept of "elegance" is based on the regional differentiation in the pre-Qin period. The standard for dividing elegance and vulgarity lies in the occasion of use of the utensils, that is, whether they correspond to rituals or secular sentiments. In different occasions and historical contexts, the demands for craftsmanship of utensils in institutions and customs are not entirely consistent. Compared with the skill of craftsmanship, it is the workmanship of craftsmanship that can embody the etiquette system and the order of etiquette and customs. During the Wei and Jin Dynasties, with the change of literary style and the rise of metaphysics, different celebrity groups appeared one after another, and the concept of "elegant and vulgar" based on aesthetics emerged. If it is in line with the aesthetic orientation advocated by the celebrity group, it is elegant, and if it is not the opposite, it is vulgar. The distinction between elegance and vulgarity based on aesthetics has been repeatedly constructed in each generation since the Song and Yuan Dynasties. Different groups also have different understandings of craftsmanship in the distinction between elegance and vulgarity. The elegance led by literati often derogates the craftsmanship of utensils, while the skill of design lies in returning to nature and following the trend. The ingenuity of design in the general public's mind lies in the rich and colorful patterns.

    The distinction between elegance and vulgarity in different aspects subtly affects people's understanding and emphasis on "work" and "skill". Take the multi-branch lamp among lamps as an example. As the largest lamp from the Warring States Period to the Wei and Jin Dynasties, it was not only widely used in palace ceremonies, but also often appeared at the core of tomb spaces. Among the court ceremonies of the Han and Wei dynasties, the most important one was the Zhenghui etiquette. That is, on the first day of each year, the emperor presided over the congratulatory ceremony. After the princes and ministers presented their congratulatory gifts, they participated in the banquet together. After Cao Cao established his capital in Yecheng, his official rituals followed those of the Eastern Han Dynasty, but he clearly stipulated that "baihua lanterns" should be used in the ceremony, which are the multi-branched lanterns we mentioned above. Du Taiqing of the Sui Dynasty quoted Wang Lang's memorial from the Cao Wei Dynasty in the "Jade Candle Collection" about the use of multi-branched lanterns in formal ceremonies: "The story is that in the first month of the lunar month, His Majesty set up a tree with two hundred lanterns between the second steps. Inside the Duanmen. A torch is set up in the courtyard, and a five-foot-high lantern is set up outside the end gate. It is a vivid depiction of the multi-branched lamps used in the main meeting hall at that time. "Ye Zhongji" records that later Zhao Shihu displayed "one hundred and twenty lanterns" during the Lantern Festival on the Zhengdan Festival. The size and craftsmanship of the multi-branch lamp are directly related to the actual ritual order. Compared with the practical orientation of "elegance", the exquisite conception is secondary.

    [Figure 6] Examples of multi-branch lamps unearthed from tombs from the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Sixteen Kingdoms period
    1. Glazed pottery multi-branch lamp unearthed from Tonghuagou M10, Jiyuan, Henan Province. Taken from "Qin and Han Civilization" by Lu Zhangshen, page 245
    2. The pottery multi-branched lamp M54 unearthed in Dizhang Village, Xianyang, Shaanxi Province was collected from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology and the Xianyang Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology, "Excavation Briefing of the Sixteenth Kingdom Tomb M54, Dizhang Village, Xianyang, Shaanxi", "Archaeology and Cultural Relics" 2023 Issue 2, page 14
    3. The glazed pottery multi-branched lamp unearthed from M2 in Liucun, Xianyangpo, Shaanxi was collected from the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology's "Excavation Briefing of M2 Tomb of the Sixteenth Kingdom in Liucun, Xianyangpo, Shaanxi", "Archaeology and Cultural Relics" Issue 2, 2023, Page 27

    Most of the multi-branched lamps currently discovered in archeology are unearthed in tombs. The multi-branched lamps in these tombs not only mark the status of the tomb owner, but also have different connotations in different periods. The popularity of the concept of ascending to immortality during the Han Dynasty profoundly affected the decorative form of multi-branch lamps. More than 100 tombs from the Warring States, Qin and Han Dynasties have been excavated and cleared at Tonghuagou Cemetery in Jiyuan, Henan. The largest Tomb No. 10 dates from the Eastern Han Dynasty, in which a 110-centimeter-high painted pottery multi-branched lamp was unearthed [Figure 6:1 〕. The lamp body is painted in red, white, black, brown and other colors, and is divided into three layers. From bottom to top, it consists of a mountain-shaped base and two trumpet-shaped trays. These three parts are connected by the handle and can be detachably assembled with each other. The mountain-shaped base is also sculpted with winding rivers and galloping animals. Four crane-shaped lamp branches and four dragon-shaped lamp branches extend out from the first tray, and four crane-shaped lamp branches extend from the turtle base lamp post in the lamp tray. They are all decorated in the shape of flowers, and each has a black-haired feathered figure riding on the lamp branch. On the top of the pillar of the second tray is a lamp plate shaped like a rose bird spreading its wings. Thirteen flower-vine-shaped candlesticks extend out from the lamp plate in all directions. At the top of the main trunk of the lamp tree is a lamp plate decorated with a phoenix bird. The phoenix bird wears a crown on its head and holds a pearl in its mouth. The whole lamp has a total of twenty-nine branches, which is the most among the multi-branch lamps discovered so far. The multi-branched lamps used in palace rituals mainly emphasize the lighting effect. In contrast, the multi-branched lamps in tombs emphasize the decorative content. These contents not only reflect the concept of life and death at that time, but are more related to Related to burial customs. From the perspective of etiquette, whether in the palace or in tombs, the "workmanship" displayed by lamps is far more important than the "skill" of their design.

    During the Sixteen Kingdoms period of the Wei and Jin Dynasties, Hu ethnic groups such as the Xiongnu, Xianbei, Jie, Di, and Qiang successively took over the Central Plains and established their political power. Most of their tomb customs gained or lost in the process of considering the Eastern Han Dynasty and the Western Jin Dynasty. The Guanzhong area during the Sixteen Kingdoms period was mainly the location of Wangji of the Former Zhao, Former Qin and Later Qin. Its high-level tombs inherited the system of burying pottery figurines with the tombs of the Western Jin Dynasty. Among them, the travel group centered on pommel horses and ox carts and the banquet group centered on banquets and music playing are separated on both sides of the tomb, with multi-branched lamps at the core (Figure 6: 2, 3). Most of these multi-branch lamps are made of pottery, with five, seven or nine branches. Except for a small number of them decorated with Buddha statues, most of them are simple in shape and decoration. These multi-branched lanterns do not have the complicated craftsmanship or exquisite conception of the multi-branched lanterns of the Han Dynasty, but as part of the tomb rituals, they symbolically demarcate the boundaries between elegance and identity.

    In the aesthetic dimension, the elegance and vulgarity of lamps are related to the aesthetic tastes of different people. Different aesthetic tastes determine the demand for "workmanship" and "skill" in the production and design process of utensils. The multi-branch lanterns mentioned above were still developed in the Sui and Tang Dynasties, but they no longer had the ritual significance of the Han and Jin Dynasties. "Kaiyuan Tianbao Legacy" written by Wang Renyu of the Five Dynasties records: "The Korean lady set up a hundred lanterns, the tree was eighty feet high, and it was erected on a high mountain. When it was lit on the Yuan night, the light could be seen for hundreds of miles, and it was bright enough to capture the moonlight." This Shangyuan Lantern Festival The hundred-branch lantern on the altar is obviously not inferior to the multi-branch lanterns used in formal ceremonies, but it no longer has the previous ritual connotations. It is only used as an ornamental lamp to bring visual shock to people. The Shangyuan Lantern Festival has become a grand event since the Song and Yuan Dynasties, during which there were many lanterns. The lamps and lanterns included in these festival customs are often both "workmanlike" and "skillful" and do not focus on one end.

    4. Conclusion

    Taking ancient Chinese lamps as clues, especially lamps from the Han, Wei, Southern and Northern Dynasties as an example, we have observed how the concepts of "workmanship" and "skill" in the process of making ancient Chinese utensils have been incorporated into the perspective of material culture, and we have come to the following understandings. First of all, by analyzing the concepts of "work" and "qiao" in the literature, we believe that "qiao" is not only reflected in the craftsman's skills from "material" to "vessel", but also in the relationship between "harmony" and "zhang". In terms of design concept. Secondly, we summarized the three traditions of ancient Chinese material culture, namely the craftsman tradition, the knowledge tradition and the concept tradition. It is through the above three traditions that the "workmanship" and "skill" in the utensils are concretely presented. On this basis, we sorted out the specific embodiment of the concepts of "work" and "skill" in ancient Chinese lamps from three aspects: function and use, image and sense, workmanship and elegance. The function and use aspects of lamp design reflect The craftsmanship and function of lamps are the main thread running through the development of ancient lamps. The imagery and sensory aspects of lamp design reflect the ingenuity of the lamp's conception, permeating the specific shapes and decorations of lamps in the past. Regarding the shaping of images in lamps, different historical periods have different emphasis. The design concept has generally gone through several stages such as "turning images into shapes", "using images to express feelings" and "using ideas to convey spirits". In this process, the senses and The fusion of imagery constitutes an important aspect of craftsmanship. In addition, people's attitude towards "work" and "skill" is also affected by the concept of elegance and vulgarity. The etiquette-oriented elegance and vulgarity concept and the aesthetic-oriented elegance and vulgarity concept, under the leadership of different groups of people, have subtly shaped people's attitude toward "work" and "skill". The understanding of "work" and "skill".

    (The author's unit is the School of History and Cultural Heritage of Xiamen University. The original title is "Looking at "Workmanship" and "Ingenuity" in Ancient Chinese Material Culture from Lamps - Focusing on Lamps in the Han, Wei, Southern and Northern Dynasties". The full text was originally published in " Journal of the Palace Museum, Issue 6, 2024, The Paper was reprinted with the author’s permission and the annotation was not included).


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