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骷髏幻戲:中國文學與圖象中的生命意識

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1 月 26, 2009

本文以相傳為南宋李嵩(約活動於1190-1230)所繪的「骷髏幻戲圖」為例,嘗試析論畫家如何透過模寫「骷髏」與「傀儡」,表達對自我存在價值的反思與認識。
作者藉用圖象學(iconology)的觀點,以及「互文性」(intertextuality)或是「跨文性」(transtextuality)的理論,以「傀儡」和「骷髏」為具有關鍵作用的基本圖象元素,追溯二者在文學、文化以及圖象上呈現的樣貌,援引為理解「骷髏幻戲圖」的參照指標。
研究結果發現:傀儡及傀儡戲本身便兼俱「悲」與「歡」的雙重矛盾特性:傀儡像人形,作為祭祀的芻靈,也是兒童的玩具;傀儡戲既是喪禮祭儀,用來消災除煞,也是喜慶節令時的娛樂表演,這悲與歡的聚合,已經是人生的縮影。文學與宗教中書寫的傀儡,思索的是人的自主性,不能被操控的問題。《莊子.至樂》裡莊子與髑髏的問答,塑造了中國文學裡藉髑髏論死生哀樂的典範,影響深遠。佛教與道教「嘆骷髏」的科儀、「骷髏(白骨)觀」的修行法、畫骷髏以點化人心,在在都顯示「置於死地而後生」的義理。
人生倘若像一齣傀儡戲,我們在「觀者」、「藝人」和「傀儡」三者之間轉換身份,逢場作戲。「骷髏幻戲圖」則是死亦作戲,一場永無止盡的演出。

《中國文哲研究集刊》第26期(2005年3月) ,頁73-125。

Skeleton Puppet Show: The Consciousness of Life in Chinese Literature and Iconography

Using the painting “Skeleton Puppet Show” (attributed to Li Song [fl.1190-1230]) as an example, this article analyzes how artists conveyed their reflections on and understanding of the significance of life.

In terms of iconology and theories of intertextuality or transtextuality, “puppet” and “skeleton” embody distinct iconographic features. I trace these in literary, cultural and iconographical representations to establish the contexts in which I interpret the “Skeleton Puppet Show.”
Puppets and puppet shows embody two contradictory ideas: the “tragic” and the “joyous.” Puppets resemble human beings in appearance, enabling them to serve as effigies for sacrificial rituals, and also as children’s toys. Puppet shows are, on the one hand, funeral rituals to remove impending ill fortune, and, on the other hand, entertaining performances on joyous occasions. This synthesis of the tragic and the joyous represents human life in miniature. Furthermore, the puppet, as depicted in literature and religion, presents the issue of one’s independence and ways to avoid control by others.
The conversation between Zhuang Zhou and the skull in the chapter “Ultimate Joy” in the Zhuangzi presents a model for using the skull and skeleton to comment on life and death, joy and sorrow – a model that had lasting influence on Chinese literature. In Buddhist and Daoist traditions, the rituals of “skeleton laments,” the practices of “skull meditation,” and the depiction of skeletons and skulls in paintings, as ways to reach spiritual enlightenment, all express the idea of “regaining a new life after begin exposed to death.”
If life is like a puppet show, we are constantly switching our roles among “audience,” “performers” and “puppets,” in keeping with the spirit of the occasion. The skeletons in “Skeleton Puppet Show” go on playing even in death, a performance that never ends.
Bulletin of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, No.26 (March 2005), pp. 73-125.

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