The Four Great Beauties of China, 四大美女
The ancient Greeks send a thousand ships to rescue the most beautiful woman in the world. The ancient Chinese tell stories of Four Beauties whose stunning images could cause fish to sink and birds to fall from the sky.
Kant would say these are examples of sensual pleasure, 快感. We want to possess the objects like a beautiful woman or a cold drink on a hot day. However, aesthetic beauty, 美感, requires us to be disinterested viewers. If you see a stunning flower set beneath a majestic landscape, do you want to pluck it and take it home?
Are there objects/experiences that everyone agrees are beautiful? Is beauty subjective and merely a matter of one’s taste? Can beauty lift us upward toward some higher moral good? What are the differences between the aesthetics of East and West?
To get an overview of this topic, see 圖解美學.
This book is available at local libraries as well as at Cao Ji Book Inn.