Listening to Fragrance – Part 2

An excerpt from Homage to Zhang Yu

by Ninghui Xiong and Patricia Lynne Duffy

Here, we present “Part 2” of the previous post, “Listening to Fragrance” (the Q&A with 14th century Chinese poet, Zhang Yu, whose poem beautifully expressed his synesthetic perception) — as an “Homage to Zhang Yu”:

Homage to poet, Zhang Yu

Some reflections from Patricia Lynne Duffy:

“It is interesting to trace a path from Ming Dynasty poet Zhang Yu’s poem, The “Pavilion for Listening to Fragrance” to the work of contemporary synesthete-artists like Ninghui Xiong.  Ninghui Xiong’spainting, “Homage to Zhang Yu” is a visual manifestation of the poem, showing its synesthetic gradation of colors and subtle shapes.  Ninguhui Xiong, Zhang Yu, and other synesthete-artists sprang from an ancient culture that extolled and delighted in the beauty of synesthetic correspondences. Such delight is evident in traditional Chinese gardens where one can find poems hanging as if “sprouting” amidst the trees and shrubbery, whose branches “paint” the white stone walls of the garden pavilions.  Each garden pavilion was named for its distinct, unique purpose: to allow the garden visitor to enjoy an exquisite detail of nature in its many sensory manifestations—as does the “Pavilion for listening to Fragrance”.And so we can trace the path that led to the work of synesthetic-artist Ninghui Xiong, inspired by the profound aesthetics of China’s art history as well as the artist’s own synesthetic perceptions. The artist was further moved to create his “fishbone” guide to synesthetic correspondences: another treasure from a culture that has long delighted in synesthesia.”– Patricia Lynne Duffy

Read the entire article, Homage to Zhang Yu

Read more about Olfactory-visual synesthesia on The Synesthesia Tree

Variation on the original painting, “Homage to Zhang Yu” by the artist, Ninghui Xiong (who noticed the colors of the plum blossom’s scents varied with the time of day and surroundings)

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