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Title: The aesthetic of the absent: The Chinese conception of space
Authors: Xiaodong, L. 
Issue Date: 2002
Citation: Xiaodong, L. (2002). The aesthetic of the absent: The Chinese conception of space. Journal of Architecture 7 (1) : 87-101. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The Chinese understanding of space can be traced back to Lao Zi's (also spelled as Lao Tzu) idea that 'carving out a void to create a room, only where there is emptiness does the room acquire utility.' The 'utility of a room' is a function of its space, or 'nothingness'. According to Lao Zi, the concept of nothingness is equivalent to the Dao (the way, also known as Tao): 'You', the general term for 'Being', i.e. all entities in the phenomenal world have been produced from an original state called 'Non-being' ('Wu'). This idea of indefinable, 'unnameable' Non-being that lies at the origin of all existence was to persist in later development of Chinese cosmology and the concept of space and time. The Chinese definition of space as explained in the term 'Yu' (space): extension, what fills different locations; 'the four directions and the above and the below are called "Yu"'(Liu An, 179-122 B.C.); 'Reality without anything in it is "Yu"'(Zhuang Zi, first century). So, according to the Chinese, space is clearly defined not only by itself but also by its referential relationship to the context. © 2002 The Journal of Architetture.
Source Title: Journal of Architecture
ISSN: 13602365
DOI: 10.1080/13602360110114740
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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