Composition is like military Formation : LUSENET : MINOX FAQ : One Thread

Layout of Troops and Deployment of Forces

The whole of chapter 5 of Sun Tzu is a desertation of "Shi" or force "Shi" or force/energy is manifestion of "chi"

Fast moving water moves stones, because of Shi (force )(, a stretched bow is full of Shi

Sun Tzu said " An able combatant relies on force"

Great painter Gu Kai Zhi (344-402 ) of East Zing period, in his essay " On the Painting titled "Sun Wu"" wrote

" This painting was from the hands of Shun, the posture of the people in this painting is very interesting. The two palace ladies are lovely and beautiful, they wear expression of horror on their faces. However, with some good arrangement and composition, better layout of troops and forces, then we could transform the picture better"

Gu Kai Zhi used the sentence "Zhi Zen bu Shi" arrangement of troops and deployment of forces. Most interestingly "Zhi Zen Bu Shi" was used dirrectluy refering to a painting about the story of Sun Tzu's of two favourite concubines in fromt of the king.

For then on, artists--- painters and calligraphers--- used the concept of "Zhi Zen bu Shi" in their persuit.

In other works, artists envision the piece of paper in front of them as a large battle field, ink well, ink ingot, brush strokes as the combatants, brush, as weapon. In painting a landscape, he must absorb the chi ( energy ) into his being, forms image in his mind, then "yun chi" ( mobilize his energy) into his hand to the tip of his brush such that the brush strokes are full of Shi,( energy, force ) "Li tuo zi bay " ( the force of the brush penetrates the paper ) and complete the pictures.

So the concept of chi, shi, energy, force is utomst important in oriental art

To simply apply force is not enough, just like a good commander must know how to use formation to arrange the troups, so the artists must know how to arrange his objects in his battle field --- canvas.

Wang Xi Zhi-- reputed to be the greatest calligrapher in anncient China wrote " The paper is the battle field, the brush is the sword, the ingot is the armory, the ink well is the castle, the mind is the general, the arrangement is the strategy of commander......."

In other words, ancient artists consider the composition has similarity to the deployment of forces, the formation, of military commander.

From the higher level, from the height of Unity of Cosmos with ego, the universe is one, the painting and the mind is one; troups in battle field and ink on canvas is one.

Painter Zhou Zuo of Ming Dynasty wrote: " To paint large San Sui ( mountain and water ) the most important thing is to get the Shi" ie, get the force.

The concept of Chi, shi was lay out in many classics, but Chapter 5 of Sun Tzu is one of the most vivid and easy to understand than other more metaphysical tomes.

-- martin tai (, August 01, 2001

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