One is straight away struck by the paucity of words availed to expound this chanced-upon poiesis born in the crevasses of cultural hybridity and nourished in the no man's lands of ascetic transmutation...

Rene Laubies: tracing the non-figurative

We came across Pan Da'an (潘大安) and his valuable essay "Tracing the traceless antelope: Toward an interartistic semiotics of the Chinese sister arts" (College Literature, Feb 1996) while researching the theoretical underpinnings of the colonial French non-figurative painter Rene Laubies. This project requires an historical grasp of the Dhyana/Chan/Taoist contribution as stems from ancient Chinese players, with particular attention to Guo Xi (郭熙, ca. 1020-1090). We have tentatively applied Professor Pan's art-historical analysis of the fabled Chinese Chan/Zen narrative in a way that would hopefully bring into relief and support our own developing take on the "underpinnings of Zen philosophy" being largely retrofittings constrained by the neo-Buddhist fondness for the fabulous. We would also like to lay bare the following point: to effectively decode the neo-Buddhist Zen-myth one needs simultaneously to perceive the persona of Bodhidharma as essentially a Hindu theatrical device and to infer the heritage of Chan itself as of basically healthy Taoist stock.

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