Sanskrit Poetics in China (1949 – 2021)

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Ma Jintao


The past seventy years have been witnessed a significant transformation in the study of Sanskrit poetics in China. A few reviews of the trends and achievements of Sanskrit poetics studies were made years ago. However, there has been some new changes in recent years. Then it would be proper to make a modest attempt to present the details of the latest developments in the study of Sanskrit poetics in China especially between 1949 and 2021. The study of Sanskrit poetics was initiated by Jin Kemu’s introductions and translations. And it was nourished by his student Huang Baosheng, whose Compilations of Sanskrit Poetic Works and Classical Poetics of India have been on the top of reading lists for Chinese scholars of Sanskrit poetics. Then it was Cao Shunqing who brought Sanskrit poetics forward into the study of Oriental literary theories as a whole in his work, An anthology of Oriental Literary Theories, and argued that it was of the same importance for scholars to study the Oriental literary theories and the western. In recent years, one of the major innovations in this field was Yin Xinan’s translations of some Sanskrit theoretical works on music, dance and paintings besides the traditional literary theory. In terms of the study of Sanskrit poetics, the major contributors are Jin Kemu, Huang Baosheng, Yu Longyu, Cao Shunqing, Hou Chuanwen, etc. Particularly, Qiu Zihua studied Sanskrit poetics from the perspective of Indian aesthetics, while Ni Peigeng mainly studied the theory of rasa. Another achievement has been made was explorations into Sanskrit poetics from a comparative analysis, such as Yu Longyu’s Comparative Studies in Chinese – Indian Poetics, Yin Xinan’s Comparative Studies of Sanskrit Poetics and Western Poetics and so forth. Furthermore, there has been some studies on Sanskrit poetics’ influence on the poetics of Tibet, Mongolia, etc. And Sanskrit poetics were employed to interpret literary works by some scholars like Huang Baosheng.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Comparative Literature and Oriental Literary Theory