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Aesthetic Pursuit of Simplicity and Popularity in the Mid-Tang Dynasty

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DOI: 10.23977/artpl.2023.041211 | Downloads: 11 | Views: 277


Yuxin Zhang 1


1 College of Music, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

Corresponding Author

Yuxin Zhang


On both the material and spiritual fronts, the concepts of elegance and vulgarity often emerge as contrasting concepts. Traditionally, culture meticulously crafted with exquisite beauty, involving the nobility and rulers, is termed as "Ya (elegant)" culture, while that which aligns with the basic life of common people is referred to as "Su (popular)" culture. In the realm of literature and art, what is known as popular or vernacular art aligns with secular values, catering to public aesthetic preferences, and enjoys widespread popularity due to its ease of comprehension. The Mid-Tang Dynasty in Chinese literary and artistic history marked a crucial period of transition from refined to folk culture. It also represented a turning point in aesthetic trends from the elegance to the commonplace. However, it's essential to note that while "elegance" and "vulgarity" exhibit differences in aesthetic styles, they do not imply a hierarchical distinction in aesthetic taste. "Ya (Elegance)" is not necessarily lofty and divine, and "Su (popularity)" is not inherently crude or base. Whether in the literary domain with movements like the "Gu Wen Yun Dong (Sport of Ancient Chinese Prose)" and the "Xin Yuefu Yun Dong (New Yuefu Movement)," or in the realm of music with the pop music, these aspects reflect the societal shift in aesthetic preferences from "Ya (elegance)" to "Su (popular)" during the Mid-Tang era.


The Aesthetic Taste of the Middle Tang Dynasty, "Gu Wen Yun Dong (Sport of Ancient Chinese Prose)", "New Yuefu Movement, (Xin Yuefu)", the pop music, Bai Juyi


Yuxin Zhang, Aesthetic Pursuit of Simplicity and Popularity in the Mid-Tang Dynasty. Art and Performance Letters (2023) Vol. 4: 60-64. DOI:


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[2] [Qing] Liu Xizai: "Yi Gai Jian Shi", Yuan Jinhu Jian Shi, Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company, 2019, p. 332.

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