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Rolston, Holmes, 1932-, author

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You are today out of place, as far as the East is from the West. Although having visited China a half dozen times, I found myself out of place, too much a Westerner to be competent to give an intelligent contribution to Chinese environmental aesthetics. But I felt I could ask you some probing questions. Can Chinese landscapes be seen as works of art in terms of art and nature? Are Chinese three dimensional persons in terms of urban, rural and wild? Is China like no place else on earth in terms of residence in place? What on Chinese landscapes is ugly? How to comment on such slogans as "beautiful China", "eco-systemic China"? How to understand the environmental aesthetics and the environmental policy in China? After giving my answers to the questions, I conclude that Chinese are skilled by their long heritage at seeking harmony, at getting the whole picture and fitting parts into a more beautiful whole. I hope that would be the future of Chinese environmental aesthetics. Then, and only then, will Chinese flourish, and can Westerners learn from our dialogue with the East.


From a lecture given to a group of visiting Chinese scholars at Colorado State University, on May 1, 2018, Zhihe Wang, co-ordinator, Scripps College, Claremont, CA and Director of the Institute for Postmodern Development of China. A similar lecture given at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China at the Environmental Aesthetics and Beautiful China International Conference, May 20-23, 2015, is online, streaming video, at
Includes bibliographical references in English.

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art and nature
agricultural landscapes
humanized nature
wilderness in China
ecosystem aesthetics
environmental policy
aesthetics and conservation
aesthetics East and West


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