A GHOST PREGNANT TO GIVE BIRTH TO DONER NAISSANCE CATTLE AND SHEEP

1. 鬼
A Ghost
1993  45x68cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

2. 孕
Pregnant
1994
  48x69cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

3. 誕
To Give Birth To
1995
年  72x48cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

4. 牛羊
"Cattle" "Sheep"
1991  68x67cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

TO ABANDON A TEACHER FOR/TO DO SORRW

5. 棄
To Abandon
1995
  54x85cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

6. 師
A Teacher
1995  69x45cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

7. 為
For / To do
1995
  46x69cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

8. 憂
Sorrow
1997  66x68cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

A DREAM STEP TO OFFER A SACRIFICE TO GODS OR ANCEDTORS

TO OFFER A SACRIFICE TO GODS OR ANCESTORS

9. 夢
A Dream
1998
  68x69cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

10. 步
Step
1998
  68x67cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

11. 祭
To Offer a Sacrifice to Gods or Ancestors
1998  67x68cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

12. 祀
To Offer a Sacrifice to Gods or Ancestors

1998  27x68cm
MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

13. 雲
The Cloud

1999
68x57cm
14. 回
To return

1999
68x64cm
15. 狼
The wolf

1999
59.5x49.5cm
16. 農
Farming

2000
69x67cm
17. 農
Farming

2000
47x69cm
18. 年
Year

2000
67x68cm
19. 為
for/do

2000
68x135cm
20. 佛
Buddha

2001
68x67cm
   
21. 外
Outside

2001
65x68cm
22. 月
The moon

2001
98x48cm


Embracing History

By Jin Dongfang

    The Consulate General of France in Hong Kong First sponsored “Exhibition of Jin Dongfang's Paintings”. Then this exhibition was transferred to the Hong Kong Country Club for continued exhibition to the end. These two exhibitions were no longer characters of operas as usual, but paintings created form China's ancient inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells or on ancient bronze objects. The lines and touches of their paintings are either bold and free or fine and tender. Their colours are either bright and beautiful or traditional and simple. Those who do not know the facts may think that their style belongs to abstractionism of the West. In the opening speech of the exhibition, Monsieur Jerome Pasquier, the Consulate General, call the pictures “semi-abstract” ones.

    This is not surprising at all. In fact I originally painted oil paintings. But because of the narrowness of my home, the large drawing frame I had used for more than 20 years before was too big to be put in, so I had to give it to my student. When my family situation improved enough to allow me to paint, my home is still small. So I had to find a way out. By drawing on my foundation of Chinese Traditional painting, I used rice paper and ink and wash. The desk originally used for writing is used for painting when it is free. So the desk plays double roles, and space is saved.

    At first, I drew pictures from characters of operas, I held one painting exhibition every year at home city and abroad which was always acclaimed. But since 1993 my paintings created from ancient Chinese words as well, today seem to receive warmer welcome. Hence comes such a question: “How do you happen to get inspiration from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells"?

    The Chinese characters are of square form, which are composed of strokes and then component parts. They differ in their component parts. The more component parts the character has, the more complicated it is. No matter whether it is simple or complicated, the word has its own interest. Our forefathers used pictography, indication, pictophonetics and association and so on to express a concept. It has not direct relationship with phonectics. For example, the Chinese character “”(laugh) and “”(cry). The component part “”(bamboo) becomes the smiling eyes. While the component part “口口”(two mouths) now become two eyes, a pair of expressionless eyes. What is wonderful is the dot of another part underneath. It becomes a drop of tear. As a result, this word exactly looks like crying when we look at its picture.

    As far as pronunciation is concerned, these “”(laugh) and “” (cry) have a number of words of the same sound, such as, , and , , . Therefore, in comparison with seeing and hearing, seeing is undoubtedly more important. It can bring the picture nature of the character into full play, which can directly arouse our function of vision impression. In Singapore, an investigation was made among more than 7000 children aged from 6 to 12. It has proved that those children who have studied the pictographic Chinese words, including those in Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea, have higher intelligence quotient than that of the children in Britain, Germany and Australia. This shows that the pictographic feature of the words can surely train the thinking of the children and make it more active and more creative.

    What is interesting is how those foreigners, such as Ezra Pound, who have some knowledge about the Chinese language, understand Chinese Characters. For example, about the character ”” (spring) Ezra Pound said: “The sun perches under the luxuriant grass and trees.” According to him, the character “” (east) is “the sun hides among the branches of trees.” In his mind, the character “” (man), look like “a strong man tilling the land.” For foreigners, looking at a word is like looking at a picture. They get the true nature of the Chinese language.

    However, when they read “spring”, “east” or “man” in English, they just hear them with their ears. When they look at them, these words are different letters in different arrangements. Only when Chinese read, they get the first impression from vision by the eye. Therefore, the Chinese Character “” means “to look”, “” means “to read with the mouth and hear with the ear.” We put “” before “” because we first look and then hear. This is a double operation or double function belonging to both time and space.

    More than 4,000 years ago, the life of the ancient people was very simple. When they created the language, they used the pictographic method. That was quite enough. Therefore pictographic words are signs as well as pictures. In these thousands of years, people's life has become more and more complicated. With progress of times, language is also changing at the same time. Our language, the Chinese language, has gone through inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells, "inscriptions" on ancient bronze objects, "Dazhuan", "Xiaozhuan" calligraphy and "Lishu", "Kai", "Hang" style, regular script and running-hand calligraphy. With a series of changes, we have now the "Simplified" characters. No matter how many changes there are, we still first look and then read. Because our language has the picture function. It has the sense of beauty in vision.

    In the ancient times, this was more obvious. In the Xia and Shang Dynasties, people practiced divination before doing any important event. When they got the fortune telling, they carved it as written form on tortoise shells or on cow bones. Then in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, people could make bronze objects, so the carrier of the language was partially transferred to the bronze bells and tripods, which was inscriptions on ancient bronze objects. You will get a lot of fun when you look at them one by one: for example the word    人(man), in simply several strokes, the head, the body and the four limbs are vividly displayed with force and dignity. When you turn it upside down, it becomes.    逆(to rebel). Another example:    坐(to sit), a man is sitting on a mat. Even the mat has its lines! In fact our ancient people used to sit on a mat. The word    is “” (rain). And the word      is “” (fruit), which needs no explanation.


Scholars of the past and present have studied inscriptions on shells and bones and bronze objects without interruption. Up to now they are able to recognize more than 2000 words. These 2000 words and more can be looked at as 2000 and more pictures. Every word contains natural beauty and rules. Every one of them has its body posture and its implication. Its spirit may be vivid and active or serene and kind. There is no word that is without beauty.

    Actually, not only the ancient language looks beautiful, but also its carrier, shells, bones, bells, tripods, swords, bronze looking glass all look beautiful. With the passage of time, they look more beautiful. Because several thousand years ago, these fresh and bright objects had their own beauty of shape, beauty of structure, beauty of quality sense, and beauty of colour ……. They went through ages of joys and sorrows, of partings and reunions, the nation's honour and disgrace, its success and failure, like waves pounding on them and leaving traces on them. Then yielding to these heavy loads, these artifacts gradually faded, peeled off and became cultural relics. They are so full of beauty of melancholy and grief and paleness. Some of them are gorgeous because of bronze and iron rust and oxidation and therefore have mystic fascination and consummate beauty. Their beauty lies in their long and rich history, in their historical intrinsic meaning, in their thickness of history, their heavy load of history and in their solemn and stirring history. As a matter of fact, this kind of beauty can never be imitated by the hand of the artist, but the artist can not stand indifferent and remain an on-looker before them.

It is absolutely true. We should not be on-lookers. When seeing something beautiful, an artist cannot help drawing it into a picture. This is an artist's instinct and pursuit. The ancient Chinese language is beautiful, the painter wants to study it, meditate on it, explain it and express the beauty in it. In the process, he cannot avoid hesitation, and feeling puzzled ….. But after a period of time, the ancient language gradually relives in the heart of the painter. He feels that every word contains a living life, every word has a story. He is inspired by the desire for appreciation. In his mind's eye, there appear colourful traditional Chinese pictures one after another from these ancient characters, From this inspiration he brings their beauty into full play and elaborates it with spirit and environment, with style and interest.
 
Embracing the Futureis a book written by Bill Gates. Its theme is to strive for success. But don't forget that we have two hands, Besides embracing the future by one hand, let's embrace history as well by another hand. The past unforgotten can be a teacher for the future. I am quite willing to embrace history.

    History is eternal. The longer it is, the mellower is it. Therefore, when I do writing, I prefer to write historical novels. When I engage in painting pictures, I prefer to paint pictures of operas and pictures of ancient words. In a word, I cannot cut away from history or the past. I always feel that the present is too near me. I cannot distinguish the directions and I feel puzzled. When observing and appreciation, I need the distance.

In these years, I have created many pictures on ancient Chinese characters. These pictures can be regarded as my footholds after I fall in love with history from afar and embrace it.

    (This article was published in the issue of March 16, 1999 of Ming Pao in Hong Kong)

擁抱歷史

金東方

    先是法國 駐港總領事館主辦 "金東方畫展",后來又移去深水灣鄉村俱樂部續展,現在已經結束。兩次展出都不是以往的戲曲人物了,而是源於我國古代文字甲骨文和金文創作出來的。線條有粗獷有纖細,色彩或絢爛或古朴。不明就里的還以為風格屬于西方形式的抽象畫;法國總領事巴斯基耶先生在畫展開幕禮的致辭中則稱之謂 "半抽象畫"

   不奇怪,我本是畫油畫的,只因為家居淺窄,二十多年前用的一個有輪子的巨型油畫架,新居放不下,早就送了給學生。直到家境允許,我恢復了畫畫了,家裡地方小,得想法子變通一下。仗著有些國畫底子,就用宣紙和水墨吧,一張原本用來寫作的桌子,不寫作時就在上面畫畫,一物二用,省地方。

    最初以戲曲人物入畫,國內外每年開一次畫展,獲得了肯定。到如今的古文字畫,似乎比戲曲人物更受歡迎。卻也產生了:"你怎么會想到從甲骨文、金文汲取靈感?" 的問題。

    漢字是方塊字,由筆划產生部件,由部件組成字。部件多寡不等,越多越复雜,卻是繁簡各有趣味。我們的祖先采用象形、指示、形聲、會意 ......... 等多种方式表達概念,和語音沒有直接的聯系。

    比如 """""" 用了很普通的 "" 字邊旁作 "" 字,這個 "" 居然變成一雙笑眯眯的眼睛;"" 兩個口當然是眼睛,一雙沒有太多表情的眼睛,旁邊那一個點才妙,竟起了淚珠的作用,這個字就恰恰地在哭著似的。這是視其圖。

    讀其音呢?與 """哭" 同音的還有孝、嘯、肖和枯、骷、窟。那麼,視與听相比,無疑,視更重要,能充分發揮文字的圖畫性,具有直接引發視覺印象的功能。新加玻調查了七千多名五至十二歲的孩童,發現了學習具象形功能的漢字的孩童,包括新加坡、香港和南韓,他們的智商比英國、德國和澳大利亞的孩童為高。說明文字的象形特性,确能訓練儿童之思維更靈活、更富創造性。

    有趣的是,對漢字略有研究的外國人,比如 Ezra Pound 是怎么理解漢字的呢?一個 "" 字,他說是 "太陽低伏在茁壯的草木和枝干之下。" 一個 "東" 成為 "太陽藏匿于樹木枝椏之間。"一個 "男" 使他看見 "耕耘于田間的有力者。"

外國人見字如看畫,從中領略漢字的真諦。

    然而人們讀Spring EastMan 時,是用耳朵聽的,倘若視之,不過是從二十六個字母摘取所需作不同的排列而已。唯中國人閱讀,最先的印象是由目視所傳達。"閱" 正是看的意思;"讀" 才是口念耳听。置 "" "" 之前,說明閱讀中文 "" 先于 "聽";是一种既屬空間性又含時間性的雙重操作,雙重功能。

    四千多年前古人生活簡單,文字需求有限,創造文字以象形為本,已經足夠。所以象形文是符號,也是圖畫。幾千年來人們生活內容越來越复雜,隨著時代的前進,文字也在同步變化,我們經歷了甲骨文、鐘鼎文、大篆、小篆、隸書、楷書、行書,一脈相承變化至今,又產生了簡体字。可是万變不离其宗,我們閱讀仍然先閱后讀,因為我們的文字具有圖畫的功能,我們的文字具有視覺上的美感。

    古代更甚。夏、商之人凡大事必先占卜,得悉凶吉之后以文字刻于龜殼或牛骨之上以作記載,便是甲骨文。到商、周能制造青銅器了,文字的載體大部分轉向鐘、鼎類的青銅器皿,便是金文。你逐個字端詳便覺趣味盎然。比如畫    "", 簡單幾筆,頭顱、軀干、四肢歷歷在目而且威武。將其顛倒成 ,    便成 "" ;又如    "" ,人坐的蓆子還有織紋呢(古人皆蓆地而坐);      "";       "果"  就不必解釋了。這些古文字是符號更是圖畫。

    古今學者研究甲骨文、金文不曾中斷,現在已經能夠認得二千多字了。這二千多古文字,可以視為二千多幅圖畫,每一個字都包含著天趣和規矩,各有体態、別具含意,神態或生動或安祥,無字不美。

    其實不僅古文字美,連同古文字的載体甲、骨、鐘、鼎、劍、鏡 ......... 等物無一不美,隨著歲月的洗禮,更美。因為數千年前那些鮮明光亮的物件,有其本身的造型美、結构美、質感美、色彩美 ......... 經過歲月的悲歡离合、民族的榮辱成敗,猶如浪濤般年年月月為物件抹上一層又一層的痕跡,直到不堪負荷,漸漸退色、剝落,成為文物。那樣的美凄楚、悲涼、蒼白;有的因為銅綠鐵鏽氧化而呈現斑斕,充滿著神秘的魅力,極美;美在飽含歷史,美在歷史的內涵,美在歷史的厚度,美在歷史的沉重,美在歷史的悲壯,美在歷史的冷。其實此等美,并非藝術家一雙巧手所能臨摩得來,卻又不能無動于中,袖手旁觀。

    是的,不能袖手旁觀,看見美便描畫美是畫家的本能和追求。古文字美,畫家對古文字進行研究、思考、解釋和表現那個美。其間不免猶豫、彷徨、困頓 ......... 久之,古文字在畫家心靈之中漸漸的活了過本,覺得一個字包含一個生命,一個字包含一個故事,觀之賞之心動之,眼前出現了一幅幅繽紛的古字化出來的國畫,依之憑之發揮之,并賦以意境、氣韻和格趣。

    《擁抱未來》(微軟比爾蓋茨之著作)是進取。但別忘了我們有兩只手,讓我們一手擁抱未來之余,騰出另一隻手來 "擁抱歷史"。前事不忘,後事之師。我願擁抱歷史。

    歷史之美是永琲滿A越久越醇。所以,我寫作,偏愛歷史小說;我畫畫,偏愛戲曲和古文字畫;總之離不開歷史,離不開過去。總嫌 "現在" 我太近,方向莫辯,使我迷惑。觀察或欣賞事物,我需要距

    幾年來創作了許多古文字畫,那些畫,可以看作是從遠距迷戀歷史、擁抱歷史之後的落腳點。