My keywords: Decoration, Traditional culture, Beauty.
My project is to research traditional culture from an objective and critical view. Now people give white and blue porcelain too much praise and even give the corrupt things in traditional culture too much praise. I appreciate traditional culture, but I prefer to have a critical thinking about it. So decoration is a good point in traditional culture. Some of the porcelain handicrafts of the Qing Dynasty were made of complicated and over-layered patterns at the huge expense, to cater to taste of upper class at that time.
Handicrafts from Qing Dynasty
In my opinion, too much emphasis on techniques and decoration may have a bad influence on aesthetics of objects. However, whether people can appreciate the beauty of these handicrafts or not is a subject thing. It depends on people’s geographic (eastern or western) and historical (premodern or modern) background. I am still confusing about the objective and subjective view of aesthetics.
So these are three important things in my project, I explore other words and think they are not accurate descriptors. I want to change “traditional culture” to “traditional handicrafts”. Because the area of traditional culture is too wide. My focus of the study is white and blue porcelains in Qing dynasty. And I will change “beauty” to “aesthetics“. Because aesthetics is a word more about people’s view and emotion towards an object than beauty. Beauty is not very accurate and clear to explain my project.
The meaning of “aesthetics” in Oxford Dictionary is “the branch of philosophy which deals with questions of beauty and artistic taste”. It means a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty. “traditional handicrafts” means “The long-established activity involving the making of decorative domestic or other objects by hand”. And “Decoration” means “The process or art of decorating something.”
Zangwill (2008) defines “Aesthetic” in Aesthetic Judgment as the study of subjective and sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste. Scholar in the field Kelly (1998, p. ix) defines aesthetics as “critical reflection on art, culture and nature”.
Emek explains “traditional handicrafts” in the article Traditional Arts and Crafts that “Handicrafts have been around since man’s earliest days in accordance with the prevailing environmental conditions. The first examples were necessities such as protection or coverings. Handicrafts were later improved and adapted according to environmental conditions, eventually becoming “traditional” and accepted as an art that reflects the artistic sense, feelings and cultural characteristics of a society.”
Philosopher Meiert(2007) considers the terms “Decoration” in his article Principles ofArt, Design and Decoration that “Anything else that doesn’t have meaning is just decoration, at most. Ask an artist what he wants to achieve with his art piece—if he can’t (well, maybe he won’t) tell, he’s a decorator, not an artist. Ask a designer why her design works—if she can’t tell, she’s probably a (lucky) decorator, not a designer. Decoration’s sometimes appealing, but it doesn’t transport anything.”
A tentative research question :
Is Aesthetic value objective or subjective?
How to balance the value of technique in ceramic art？
How to think traditional handicrafts from critical and objective view？