Sunday, January 07, 2007

Nature and Culture 2

Looking at a photograph of the sunset in china, I was utterly struck by how Chinese it was, stylistically, the simplicity of shape and color. I realized that much of the 'Chinese' style in architecture, art and culture in general comes from the style and feel of shape and arrangement of the mountains,tress, fruit -in a word nature- in which the Chinese people as a people and culture were born.

This makes biblical sense because:

Adam, the (first) man whose name means man, was made in the image of God out of the ground, the dust, the earth.
And we share certain characteristics and qualities of that dust/earth. (The number of us will be like the number of grains of sand. From dust man came, to dust he will return, We share the color of dirt, etc.) "And shares man's smudge and wears man's smell: the soil" (Hopkins).

So much of what we think of as cultural is natural... because:

Nature is cultural.
Culture is natural.

Nature is the artistic creation of Person(s) (the Trinity) and has was made in their uniquely unique style, ie it is cultural.
Culture is the God-ordained completion and fulfillment of the creation (nature) by man who is part of creation, ie it is natural.

It thus makes sense that people made and born onto and into different parts and types of (the) earth, out of different dust should "still make according to the law in which they're made" (Tolkien)

In a sense, Chinese architects design Chinese architecture (man-made natures/environments) because they are made from the dust, the earth, the ground of God-made Chinese architecture (which we call China).

Related posts:
Nature and Culture
Dust Colored People
Trees and Cathedrals

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