Newsletter No. 387

10 No. 387, 19.11.2011 …… 如是说 Thus Spake… 屈志仁教授 Prof. James Watt 你的主要工作范畴是什么? 这是一个兼事中国文化研究所和艺术系的新讲座席位。我将 主力研究和为研究生主持研讨会。合适的话,也会给文物馆的 策展事务提供意见。我会先会见学生,确切了解他们的研究兴 趣,然后构思课程,务与他们的学习相辅相成。众所周知,研究 生所选的研习范围往往失诸过专,因而忽略了与其专科有关的 历史和文化背景等常识,以及当时的学术氛围。为补不足,我计 划引入全面涵盖中国历史个别时期的艺术与文化史课程。 有什么实际的方法可帮助学生培养欣赏中国传统艺术的基 本修养? 我们一向不遗余力去唤起学生这方面的意识。不过,要促进中 国艺术在学生之间普及程度并非易事,因为对艺术形式的兴 趣是需要时间培养的。要引导他们对赏心悦目美的事物心存向 慕,乐于亲近,也需下功夫陶冶性情。我倒认为艺术教育应在 中学阶段开始,在大学的通识教育课程也应占一席位。现时文 物馆人手比较短缺,外展工作必须靠受训义工帮忙。 你为文物馆收藏擘画刍模,功不可没。在世界芸芸大学的 博物馆中,文物馆如何奠定其独特之处? 文物馆1971年啓用之初,谈不上什么馆藏。现在所见琳琅满 目、多姿多彩的展品,是多年由各方仁人君子、旧雨新知慷慨惠 赠,以及由员工努力不懈搜集而成的。彼时大学羽翼未丰,采购 预算自然也小,所以必须订立策略原则,审慎积累馆藏。当时 的主导原则是「策略收藏,成就他人之不能成;人所少采或未 采,苟不偏离使命,即采之」。 根据这原则,文物馆从太平天国史研究权威简又文教授 (1896 – 1978)的私人珍藏里收集了大量广东文物和艺术品。 当时广东的绘画、书法和装饰艺术,普遍未如今日般受到收 藏家欣赏和追捧,所以文物馆才有能力添购这批珍品,充实阵 容。文物馆另一令人艳羡的收藏是为数不少的碑拓。虽然世代 以来这些拓本都价值不菲,但由于当时还未得到西方大型博物 馆的青睐,文物馆才可在几位善长慷慨出力下,有幸集得「兰亭 序」和「西岳华山庙碑」等宋代拓本;后者更是现在传世的四个 宋拓本之一。文物馆所藏的大量古代印玺也值得一提,一如前 述,在文物馆草创初年,收藏家对这些艺术品还未如当今般趋 之若鹜。 回香港之前,你在纽约大都会艺术博物馆工作多年,担任 亚洲艺术部主任,今夏才退休,现为其荣休馆长。在该博物 馆工作有何值得怀记之事,可否透露一二? 我在大都会博物馆四分之一个世纪了。我的工作是建设亚洲艺 术部,时至今日,该部门的规模在西方已属数一数二。 谈到我在大都会博物馆的成绩,我会说是蒙元时代丝织品的 收藏。这些在中国和中亚生产的奢侈织物,是历史上最精美细 致的。大都会博物馆和克利夫兰艺术博物馆在1980年代开始 搜集这些十三至十四世纪的织物,并在1997至1998年一同展 出其收藏。之前,这方面的系统研究非常缺乏。当时有一份名为 《锦如金贵的时代》的展览目录,内载了好几篇关于蒙元时代 织锦、刺绣和缂丝的论文。 你怎样看艺术在中国文化上的地位? 要界定艺术在某一文化上的地位是不可能的。不过,没有甚麽 比艺术更能代表一个文化,而且艺术是传递文化面貌和精神最 有力的媒介。就以一件宋瓷为例—它的形态、纹理和色泽,蕴 含了多少宋代文人的价值观、理想和美学。而由宋瓷的单色釉, 慢慢发展为元明两代的青花瓷,也内含不少社会、经济、政治 和学术演变的底蕴。 What do you see as your major areas of work? This is a new chair and is jointly held by the Institute of Chinese Studies and the Fine Arts Department. I shall be mainly engaged in research and conduct seminars for postgraduate students. Where appropriate, I shall also advise on curatorial matters in the Art Museum. My first steps will be to meet students to ascertain their research interests, and to devise courses that complement their studies. It is generally known that research students tend to become over-specialized in their chosen fields of study, often at the expense of general knowledge about the historical and cultural backgrounds of their subjects, and the intellectual milieu prevalent at the time. As a remedy to this, I am planning to introduce courses that would cover the full gamut of arts and cultural history of specified eras in Chinese history. In what practical ways may students be helped to develop the basic know-how in the appreciation of traditional Chinese art? There are always efforts to create awareness among students. However, enhancing the popularity of Chinese art among students is not an easy task, for an interest in art forms takes time to cultivate, and the development of a willingness to experience the aesthetically pleasing requires effort. I am rather inclined to think that arts education should start at school, and that it should also have its place in the General Education programme at university level. We are rather short-handed at our Art Museum here and, for extension work to be seriously contemplated, the help of trained volunteers will be essential. You were instrumental in laying the foundation of the Art Museum. In what way has its holding earned its place of uniqueness among campus collections in the world? When the Museum first opened in 1971, there was no collection to speak of, and the rich and varied exhibits we now see are the results of years of efforts sustained by the 十九世纪英国外交大臣巴麦尊形容香港是「荒烟蔓草,栋宇全 无」。一个多世纪之后,中文大学获香港政府拨予沙田校址,巴 麦尊的名言恰好可以用来形容当时的中大校园。后来陆续落成 的美观实用的建筑物,在其时还付诸阙如,然而,一众博古通今 的逸群之才云集中大,令校园滋长出闲雅隆崇的文化气氛。这 些卓尔出群的学界中坚,不少已相继从前台退下,但我们很庆 幸文物馆创馆馆长屈志仁教授在纽约大都会艺术博物馆成就 了一番骄人事业后,重回中大担任利荣森中国文化讲座教授。 Lord Palmerston, a British Foreign Minister of the 19th century, described Hong Kong as ‘a barren rock with hardly a house upon it.’ A little more than a century later, when the Government handed over the Shatin site to the University, his famous dictum was an apt description of the campus. However, while the University at the time lacked the many pleasant and highly utilitarian buildings that gradually came to be built, the serene and august air of cultural refinement had already begun to gather, thanks to an exceptionally fine team of experts, deeply immersed in the classics and the human letters, that were assembled at the University at the time. Many of these arbiters of good taste have since retired from active academic service, but we are very glad to observe that Professor James Watt, the founding director of the Art Museum (known as the Art Gallery until 1995), having developed an illustrious curatorial career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, has now returned to the Chinese University as the first J.S. Lee Professor of Chinese Culture. munificence of donors and friends, and the hard work of the staff. Since the Art Museum did not have much to start with, and the acquisition budget of the art gallery of a fledgling university would necessarily be small, strategic principles had to be laid down as the museum cautiously sought to build up its holdings. At that time the guiding principle was ‘to perform what others cannot through strategic acquisition, by collecting what others seldom do and yet not deviating from the mission of the museum.’ Working on the basis of this principle, the Art Gallery acquired a large quantity of valuable artifacts and objets d’art of Guangdong origin from the vast private collection of Prof. Jian Youwen (1896–1978), a well-known authority on the history of the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-19th century. It was a time when Guangdong paintings, calligraphy and decorative arts in general did not enjoy the same level of esteem and pursuit by collectors as they do today, and the Art Gallery was thus able to add this valuable hoard of great merit to its core collection. Another aspect of the Museum’s holdings that comes to be greatly admired is the considerable number of early rubbings of inscriptions on stone steles. Stone rubbings, though prized items for centuries, had not yet captured the fancy of large museums in the West at the time, and the Art Gallery was thus in a position to acquire, with the generous assistance of certain benefactors, Song Dynasty rubbings of the Lanting xu and the Xiyue Huashan miao bei , the latter being one of the four Song copies from the same stele currently extant in the world. Also worth special mention is the sizeable collection of ancient seals kept at the Art Museum. These were acquired during the Art Gallery’s very early days, when their collection, once again, had not yet earned the vogue that they would later enjoy. Prior to returning to Hong Kong, you were with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for many years, retiring only last summer as chairman of the Department of Asian Art and now its Curator Emeritus. Can you tell us one or two most memorable aspects of your career with that Museum? I was with the Metropolitan Museum for a quarter of a century, with work involved in the setting up of the Department of Asian Art which is now one of the largest of its kind in the West. I think I would mention the acquisition of Yuan Dynasty silk textiles as one of the highlights of what I did at the Metropolitan Museum. The luxury silks produced in China and Central Asia during the time of the Mongol-Yuan empire are among the finest in world history. There had been little systematic study of them until the Metropolitan Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art started to collect textiles of the 13th to 14th centuries in the 1980s and exhibited their collections together in 1997–98. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue entitled When Silk was Gold , in which there are essays on tapestry, embroidery and the ‘cloth of gold’ of the Mongol-Yuan period. What is your view regarding the place of art in Chinese culture? It is impossible to define the place of art within a culture. However, there is nothing more representative of a culture than its art, and art is the most powerful medium through which the outlook and the spirit of a culture may be transmitted. Take a ceramic piece made in the Song Dynasty as an example—its form, texture and colour will tell you so much about the values, the ideals, and the aesthetics of the Song literati. The gradual transition from monochrome ceramics of the Song Dynasty to the blue and white wares of Yuan and Ming Dynasties also tell a lot about the social, economic, political and intellectual changes that took place in those eras. 校园发展处处长林泗维先生 Mr. Lim See-wai David, Director of Campus Development 下期预告 Coming

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy NDE2NjYz