Art / Aesthetics in Wuxia


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In discussing the art and aesthetics of any thing, the question of “what are art and aestheticse really ?” comes before. This is actually a very deep question that almost as old as the birth of philosophy. And today, their definitions are still in the controversial phenomenon. Therefore, before enter the the main issue, I must make a brief description of art and aesthetics, which are handled in this article. Art is the creativity and imagination which attract the people’s attention shockingly and gain their high admiration enchantingly (So, every creativity and imagination may not be art if it’ can’t amaze the peope way it’s). Also, Aesthetics is the appreciation of judgment in any art or phenomenon; it is kind of the value of beauty. If we try to be as objective as possible, art and aesthetic are actually very subjective matters. It means, the things, which are very artistic and aesthetics for some people, may not mean anything to others, or even perceived very ugly. But sometimes (even rarely),  there are some common stuff that everbody agrees; and these stuff are usually in museum, and, or considered to be among in the classics …

So, after making a short and concise introduction to art and aesthetics in this way, we now dive the point of art and aesthetics in wuxia genre (Actually I can’t dive so much because of the time constraint and try to be brief but intensive again ^_^’). Even beginners can easily notice that any wuxia type film, tv series, novel … etc  are hosting quite artistic and aesthetic works and modes. From characters dressing to background sceneries, almost in every details, there are a kind of creativity and imagination which are weaved meticulously and so impress people. Even the battles and fights in there are in artistic and aesthetics modes, and that’s sort of why they are defined and called as “martial arts”. So in the wuxia genre, there is an artistic and aesthetic expression style, particularly highlighted and used in every field of action, and almost every details.

So why is it needed for something like this ? Simply, why don’t heros wear very plain dress and fight “ordinary or uninteresting” ? :P. Why do they emphasize the aesthetics and art stuff in their field as possible as they can. According to one interpretation (that’s mine ^_^), this is a kind of effort which carries the action or phenomenon to the next level, or even an attempt to bring the highest level of idealism. Those, who are somewhat familiar with the Far East philosophy, may know that everything in the nature is in a kind of motion and precession. This may be a motion in the form of loops or perhaps the cycle which still unclosed. And the progress would be with a kind of development, and such a leveling up. Such as, take a craftsman; the craftsman, who makes his job skillfully after making it for a long time and gaining some experiment, becomes an expert, so he can level up !. But in our far-east philosophy, nothing is stationary, so the craftsman must still keep going in his jop to reach futher level. I mean, there is a beyond level of making someting just good or skillfully. It is to add the creativity and invention into the work, and become a master, then grand master. Now, person is not only do his job just good, he also convert it artistic aesthetic style, and carry it to a perfection level. Here this level is a kind of ideal. And because Wuxia genre pursue a kind of epical ideals as I mentioned in my earlier articles, it must use art and aesthetics to this way.

Therefore, the hero, warior, martial artist converts his martial styles to martial arts, with adding the creativity, so he brings it a new upper level. But of course, this artistic and aesthetic style is not only used in martial arts heros mastering. They are applied clothing, speech, environment, etc. .. in almost every area. According to an interpretation (or comment), art and aesthetics in other fields than martial arts may be for an attempt to bring a composition compatible with skill style of hero, who is the main element in story. Or, according to another interpretation, it may be for feeding the idealism into the story to catch a perfection and convert the story itself to the art. Regardless, aesthetic and artistic style in Wuxia genre often reach the purpose, and manages to have the admiration of the audience, I think. ^_^



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