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Autobiography of an Alternative Life in China

If I had an opportunity to be reborn as a person who lived in East Asia, I would choose China of the Qing Dynasty as the place of birth. Since boys have always been valued in traditional China, I would also choose the male sex for birth. This will allow you to live an easy and almost carefree life since there were much more opportunities for men at that time. This period was not chosen by chance. The arrival of a foreign dynasty in China naturally caused grumbling and rejection among noblemen, officials since, according to Confucian teaching, one should not serve different dynasties. However, it was again a foreign dynasty, not a Chinese, not a Han dynasty, which led to bloodshed and active and passive resistance. Many left the capital, leaving the active, court, or official life and preferring a career as a hermit or an independent aesthete and artist to a successful official career.

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In addition, during this period of time, active transformations in art continued. In China, during the Qing Dynasty, there were interactions with foreign countries, which certainly reflected the transformations in culture. However, the tradition of honoring the values of Antiquity also continued. Therefore, in order to master any creative profession, it was necessary to study the samples of ancient writers, artists, and other artists. In my opinion, this period opened up many opportunities for becoming an artist. It was enough just to be born into a family that would have access to various benefits that would allow you to engage in this activity. Thus, for my rebirth, I would prefer to be born in a family of artists. This does not necessarily mean that they should have already had any merit. However, the availability of materials and tools for mastering this craft will be essential.

At the beginning of my career as an artist, I would have focused all my energy on mastering the dynamic composition and manner of calligraphic writing of a select group of scientists-artists of the 14th century, whose expressive interpretations of paintings of the 10th and 11th centuries once revolutionized traditional Chinese painting. Based on the aesthetic concept of the Song era and using the possibilities of calligraphic abstraction, I would turn to forms of expressive self-reflection, creating a simplified but simultaneously unique style. Like much Chinese art of that period, my landscape art was not based on a live observation of nature. Instead, I would strive to achieve spiritual harmony with the ancient line of masters’ succession while simultaneously carrying out creative transformations of their style.

In fact, all the pictorial art of China is built on copying the masterpieces of the old masters. Often, an artist’s whole life consists only in the fact that they copy paintings throughout their career. This is not considered shameful and plagiarism, but outstanding masters have always enlivened interpretations with their own writing style. For this reason, copies are sometimes valued almost as highly as the originals. Therefore, living the life of an artist in China of the 17th century, it was necessary to combine these two features to develop the career successfully.

Thus, developing as an artist, simultaneously learning to copy ancient masters, and creating my own unique style, I could achieve significant success, which would allow me to live a happy life filled with many opportunities. Having achieved some success, there would also be an opportunity to become a court artist of the emperor closer to the end of my life. This allowed me to open up many opportunities to live out my old age by traveling around the country and drawing pictures. Also, the era of the Qing Dynasty can be represented as a relatively quiet period in which there were many opportunities for the development of art. Consequently, becoming one of the representatives of art, it was possible to live a reasonably comfortable life. Having lived the life of an artist, it was possible to create many opportunities for future generations who will have a chance to work for the emperor. Thus, such a life is quite interesting and filled with events.

Works Cited

Holcombe, Charles. A History of East Asia: From the Origins of Civilization to the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Oh, Ingyu, and Wonho Jang. “From Globalization to Glocalization: Configuring Korean Pop Culture to Meet Glocal Demands.” Culture and Empathy: International Journal of Sociology, Psychology, and Cultural Studies, vol. 23, 2020, pp. 23-42. Web.

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Rankin-Brown, Maria. “From Samurai to Manga: The Function of Manga to Shape and Reflect Japanese Identity.” Japanese Studies Review, vol. 16, 2017, pp. 75-92. Web.

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