A Rock Garden sculpture made of broken bangles by Nek Chand

Landscape of the Soul Summary

 In this chapter, the writer contrasts two forms of art – Chinese art and European art by using two different stories. In China during the eighth century, the Tang emperor Xuanzong commissioned a painter Wu Daozi to decorate a wall in the palace. Upon seeing the wall painting, the Emperor started noticing the outer appearance of the painting but the painter drew his attention to a cave at the foot of the mountain. The painter told the Emperor that he would take him inside. The painter entered the cave and the entrance closed behind him. As soon as the painter clapped his hand, the painting on the wall was gone and so was the painter.

In another story, a painter wouldn’t draw an eye of a dragon as he feared that the dragon would fly out of the painting. In another story to represent a European art form, a master Blacksmith falls in love with a painter’s daughter. The father didn’t approve of him because of his profession. The blacksmith sneaked into his painting studio and painted a fly on the painter’s latest panel. The fly seemed so real that the painter tried to hit it first before realizing it was in the painting. The painter accepted him as a trainee in his studio. The blacksmith married the painter’s daughter and later became one of the famous painters of his time.

These stories revealed as to how art form is believed to be followed in two different regions in the world. In Europe, an artist wants the viewer to see a real viewpoint by borrowing his eyes. The art must be perfect and must be illusion likeness. Whereas, in China, the artist doesn’t paint a real one but uses his inner and spiritual voice to create an abstract piece. The viewer can enter the painting from any point and can travel according to his own imagination. The artist wants the viewer to enter his mind and create a path of its own.

This concept is called ‘Shanshui’ which means ‘mountain water’. When they are used together, they make the word ‘landscape’.

Notice these expressions in the text.

Infer their meaning from the context.

􀂕 anecdote

Answer: From the text, the meaning of anecdote can be inferred as a short account of a particular incident or event, especially one of interesting nature.

􀂕 delicate realism

Answer: It refers to the alluring quality of the art which makes it seem real. It focuses on real in contrast to abstract idea.

􀂕 illusionistic likeness

Answer: It refers to an adjective of the technique of using pictorial method in order to deceive the eye.

􀂕 conceptual space

Answer: It refes to the relation with the abstract than the factual epresentation.

􀂕 figurative painting

Answer: A figurative painting refers to the metamorphic representation of a piece of art, through the eyes of the creator’s imagination.

Understanding the text

1. (i) Contrast the Chinese view of art with the European view

with examples.

 Answer:The Chinese form of art is based on imagination and shows inner and spiritual approach of the artist. Whereas, the European art form is real and reproduces an actual view of the object from the landscape.

(ii) Explain the concept of shanshui.

Answer: Shanshui is a Chinese concept of art which means ‘mountain water’. It is used together to represent the word ‘landscape’. The two complementary poles (yin and yang) of an image reflect the Daoist view.

2. (i) What do you understand by the terms ‘outsider art’ and

‘art brut’ or ‘raw art’?

Answer: ‘Outsider Art’ is the art made by untrained artists, for example children or mentally ill person. ‘Art Brut’ or ‘Raw Art’ is a type of art made by people who are not professionals but they create an art piece with their own depth and understanding and not from the stereotypical form of classical or fashionable art.

(ii) Who was the “untutored genius who created a paradise”

and what is the nature of his contribution to art?

Answer: “Untutored genius who created a paradise” was Nek Chand. He was an eighty year old creator – director who made the world famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh. He used everything from a tin to sink or anything which he felt as an art form. One of his famous creations are ‘Women by the Waterfall’.

Talking about the text

Discuss the following statements in groups of four.

1. “The Emperor may rule over the territory he has conquered, but

only the artist knows the way within.”

Answer: This sentence explains the fact that even though an emperor might rule an entire kingdom and have power over his conquered territory , only an artist would be able to go beyond any material appearance. He knows both the path and the method of the mysterious work of the universe. True meaning of his work can be seen only by means known to him ,irrespective of how powerful an emperor is.

2. “The landscape is an inner one, a spiritual and conceptual space.”

Answer: This phrase explains the Chinese art from where the painter wants you to enter his mind rather than borrow his eyes . This is physical as well as mental participation. It is a landscape created by the artist to travel up and down, and back again, through the viewer’s eyes. The landscape is not ‘real’ and can be reached from any point.

Thinking about language

1. Find out the correlates of Yin and Yang in other cultures.

Answer: The Indian culture lay stress on God and Nature. Nature is the Yen or female part and God is the creator(male part ). This concept is called ‘Maya’ or ‘Bhrama’, its creates the whole world its objects and all its inhabitants.

2. What is the language spoken in Flanders?

Answer: French language is spoken in Flanders which is a region in Belgium.

Working with words
I. The following common words are used in more than one sense.
panel studio brush
essence material
Examine the following sets of sentences to find out what the
words, ‘panel’ and ‘essence’ mean in different contexts.

  1. (i) The masks from Bawa village in Mali look like long
    panels of decorated wood.
    (ii) Judge H. Hobart Grooms told the jury panel he had
    heard the reports.
    (iii) The panel is laying the groundwork for an international
    (iv) The glass panels of the window were broken.
    (v) Through the many round tables, workshops and panel
    discussions, a consensus was reached.
    (vi) The sink in the hinged panel above the bunk drains
    into the head.
  2. (i) Their repetitive structure must have taught the people
    around the great composer the essence of music.
    (ii) Part of the answer is in the proposition; but the essence
    is in the meaning.
    (iii) The implications of these schools of thought are of
    practical essence for the teacher.
    (iv) They had added vanilla essence to the pudding.
    II. Now find five sentences each for the rest of the words to show
    the different senses in which each of them is used.

Answer:1.(i) Boards of decorated wood

(ii) Group of men selected to give unanimous verdict on a legal case

(iii) Group of experts

(iv) Window panes

(v) Group discussions

(vi) A flat board fixed with a hinge

2.(i) the most important quality of something that makes it what it is

(ii)main part

(iii) Practical importance

(iv) liquid taken from vanilla that contains its smell and tastes in very strong form.

Noticing form

􀁺 A classical Chinese landscape is not meant to reproduce an actual

view, as would a Western figurative painting.

􀁺 Whereas the European painter wants you to borrow his eyes and

look at a particular landscape exactly as he saw it, from a specific

angle, the Chinese painter does not choose a single viewpoint.

The above two examples are ways in which contrast may be expressed.

Combine the following sets of ideas to show the contrast between them.

1. (i) European art tries to achieve a perfect, illusionistic likeness.

(ii) Asian art tries to capture the essence of inner life and spirit.

Answer: While European art tries to achieve a perfect, illusionistic likeness, Asian art, on the other hand, tries to capture the essence of inner life and spirit.

2. (i) The Emperor commissions a painting and appreciates its

outer appearance.

(ii) The artist reveals to him the true meaning of his work.

Answer: Even though the Emperor commissions a painting and appreciates its outer appearance, it is the artist who reveals to him the true meaning of his work.

3. (i) The Emperor may rule over the territory he has conquered.

(ii) The artist knows the way within.

Answer: Despite the Emperor ruling over the territory he has conquered, the artist knows the way within.

Things to do

1. Find out about as many Indian schools of painting as you can.

Write a short note on the distinctive features of each school.

Answer:The rich cultural diversity of India is well reflected in the vivid, distinct and enchanting folk art and crafts. Various painting styles are prevalent across various regions, each representing tradition, customs, and ideologies passed on from one generation to other. Traditionally, most of the Indian painting styles existed as wall paintings or murals. In due course of time, urbanisation brought these painting forms on paper, canvas, and cloth etc. Indian painting styles are not just a reflection of the indigenous lifestyle but a perfect example of artistic expression through simple yet distinct compositions.
Here are some of the popular Indian folk painting styles –

Madhubani Painting

One of the most celebrated styles of folk painting in India is, Madhubani which originated in the Mithila region of Bihar as a form of wall art.This spectacular art style was unknown to the outside world until discovered by the British colonial William G. Archer in 1934 while inspecting the damage after the massive Bihar earthquake. Archer was amazed by the beautiful illustrations on the exposed interior walls of the houses…The beauty of Madhubani  lies in its simple and evocative portrayal of culture and traditions.

Warli Paintings

The 2500-year-old tradition of Warli paintings of the Thane and Nasik areas of Maharashtra are closely linked with nature and social rituals of the tribe. Warli paintings showcase daily activities of the local people of that community like farming, dancing, hunting, praying etc. Traditionally, women used twigs to draw lively designs with rice paste on mud walls of tribal houses to mark celebrations of harvests or weddings. Simple geographical patterns in white against a red or yellow surface are used to depict everyday life scenes.

Kalighat Painting

The Kalighat painting  style was developed around Mid-19th century in the neighbourhood of Kali Temple in Calcutta. These drawings on paper were done by a group known as “patuas” hence the name Kalighata Pata. They depicted scenes of everyday life and mythological deities in a simple yet captivating manner and developed into the popular kalighat style of painting

2. Find out about experiments in recycling that help in

environmental conservation.


Experiments in recycling that help in environmental conservation are given below.

  • The uranium left over from processing it into nuclear weapons and fuel for nuclear reactors is called depleted uranium and it is used by all branches of the U.S. military use for armor-piercing shells and shielding
  • Paper bags, chocolate boxes, gift boxes and corporate gifting are recycled handmade paper products
  • Building on its reputation for sustainable, high performance fabric solutions, Glen Raven custom fabrics has introduced
  • Heritage–a Sunbrella furniture fabric featuring 50 percent recycled content

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