輸出中國古文明

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1989 / 8月

文‧王家鳳 圖‧鄭元慶萊登漢學院提供


十七世紀,荷蘭商人滿張風帆,向東方航行,然後把中國的絲綢、瓷器及茶葉,帶給歐洲人。

 

商業的鼎盛,殖民地的擴張,也使荷蘭的漢學發展極早。而今,萊登大學漢學院又張帆待發,要「輸出中國古文明」。這是怎麼回事?


銀幕。幻燈片淡入。

只見蔚藍色的地中海,蜿蜿蜒蜒地被義大利、希臘、土耳其、西班牙……環抱著。地圖的其他部分,則是一片茫茫然的黑影。

——這個地方,你或許知之甚詳。

黑影散開些。匈牙利、南斯拉夫、近東、埃及……,都露了臉。

——這些地方,你可能不那麼有把握。

蔚藍色不見了。銀幕上綿延著一片土黃。是中國。

——至於這個地方,你恐怕是渾然無所知了。

從「蔚藍色」到「土黃色」

啟蒙時代,歐洲學者第一次將他們的目光焦點,放在烏拉山和博斯普魯斯海峽之外的地方。一個遙遠、奇異的東方世界,於是出現在歐洲人面前。

畢竟山海相隔。早年馬可波羅大加渲染的東方遊記,仍然不能滿足人們的好奇。中古以來,不斷有人為之加繪插圖(圖一),盡情發揮他們對東方世界的想像力。

馬可波羅說:「中國的皇宮之大,簡直像個城市!」較諸紫禁城的態勢,此說庶幾近之。然而,到了插畫家的筆下,「城市般的中國皇宮」,成了歐洲中古城堡的翻版。(圖二)。至於所謂的「中國公主」,分明是位不折不扣的西方貴婦。(圖三)

十七世紀以後,殖民官和商人親自到了中國。百聞不如一見,可也到底仍有疏漏。這位荷蘭駐華公使筆下充滿南洋風味的「中國宴會」,龍柱林立、百官屈膝,行禮如儀,只是皇宮的天花板……,肯定是忘了抬頭觀察,只好畫個西式天廷湊和(圖四)。

再看縣太爺審犯人,手鐐、腳銬、枷鎖,要皆傳神;聽差的神色慌張,誠屬上作,不過,仔細看看那縣太爺批硃執筆的方式,未免稍稍離了譜(圖五)。

老「東」老「西」,孿生兄弟?

當然,歐洲人的想像力也有與東方人心有靈犀的時候。

希臘人所設想的東方世界,有大腳先生(圖六)、長耳朵紳士(圖七),還有位老兄的五官四平八穩地生在胸前(圖八)。這真是異想天開?!再看「山海經」堙A聶耳國這位手捧長耳的公子(圖九),河岸邊腰生鬍鬚的形天神(圖十),豈不活像一對孿生兄弟?

遙遠的東方,神秘的中國,究竟孕育著什麼樣的文明?想知道更多吧?荷蘭萊登大學漢學院擁有兩萬張幻燈片,以成組成套的專題,深入淺出地訴說中國古文明的故事。

這是一套針對西方漢學入門者的「視覺教材」計畫。

計畫的主持人,萊登大學漢學院院長許理和教授形容他自己當年進中文系學漢語的情形,是不折不扣的鐵杵磨成繡花針——跟著古書經典一字一句來學的。當時最摩登的教具,是一台木製唱頭的留聲機,「林格風」中文教材咿咿啞啞地「講著難聽的故事」。

師徒相承,踽踽東行

老一輩漢學家早年學習的情況和條件都相去不遠。他們不像第一代「中國通」,以外交官或殖民官的經驗,成為漢學講座;而多半是基於對人文理想的絕大熱情,踽踽於這條清寂的冷門學問上。

瑞典研究院(Swedish Academy)院士馬悅然教授(Prof. N. G. D. Malmqvist),年輕時讀完老子道德經,決定放棄主修拉丁文與希臘文,轉入斯德哥爾摩大學習中文。由於不敢讓家中父母知道,加上斯市一屋難求,他足足在火車站和公園長椅上睡了兩個月。

許理和教授初進漢學系時,許多好同學為之憂心忡忡:「你瘋啦?念那個做什麼?」「你將來能找到工作嗎?」

而今他們都已成為漢學界大師級的教授,德望兼備之餘,門下的漢學生,也從當年師徒相承、寥寥可數的景況,變成每年有數以百計的新生入門求教。

乘興而來,半數求去

對東方古國的文化憧憬,和偌大市場的經濟誘因,都是漢學系新生逐漸增加的原因,可惜這些乘興而來的初生之犢,到了第二年總有半數求去。

「剛進來的新生多半非常興奮」,許理和教授分析,可是到了他們真正入門之後,會發現其實學習另一種語言文化,必須經過一段極其枯躁的歷程。何況中文畢竟與西方學生較熟悉的德文、英文、法文截然不同。

萊登漢學院文學教授伊維德(Prof. Wilt L. Idema)也表示,第一次學十個中文字,老師一一解釋它們的字形轉化,簡直神妙之至;再學一百個字也仍然興味十足;到了九千九百字,任誰也要大呼無趣了!

接下來,讓一個十八、九歲的年輕人成天像五歲的孩子般覆誦:「我要買兩張十分錢的郵票;不,我們只賣廿分錢的郵票。」這樣的東西,也不能滿足他們剛進大學所期待的「學術」氣味。

「變成」一個中國人?

「事實上,並不是每個學生都有能力去接納另一個思維方式、文法結構全然不同的文化。」尹教授指出,他們不可能要求學生「變成」一個中國人,但至少要設法持續維持很高的興趣和動機,才能一步步掌握語言、歷史、文化的內涵。

然而,要想理解文化內涵,語文當然是關鍵。但學習語文沒有捷徑,老教授們當年那一個不是端起左傳、春秋,就一字一句地硬啃出來的?

十五、廿年前,教授們已經開始儘量用畫片、照片、幻燈片來當作輔助教材,讓學生上課時比較有趣,不只成天盡啃方塊字。不過,許理和教授後來又得到了其他的靈感。

靈感從看電視得來。倒不是電視節目,而是——廣告。

從廣告得來靈感

「廣告通常很無聊可笑,可是你也不得不承認,某些廣告在短短的幾秒鐘內,就能讓你像是被洗了腦似得忘不掉它!」許教授表示,「它所傳達的訊息不見得有深度,但是影像組合的力量強極了。」

另一個經驗來自「短片」。許院長身兼教育部諮詢委員,經常受邀去參觀建教合作的大公司,公司的研發部門在接待這些教授、官員們時,往往會放映一個十分鐘短片。這種影片通常由專業廣告公司設計製作。「製作費很貴,但是品質很精緻」,許院長強調「十分鐘堙A能表達的效果可以超過一小時的演講!」

既然如此,為什麼不用在教學上,把豐富多樣的中國文化,以影像的組合,直接打在學生的腦海堙C一方面跨越文字、書本的鴻溝;一面也像一個動人的誘餌,吸引學生提高進一步探究的興趣和動機。

這個構想不見得是萊登漢學院的創見,但許理和教授卻是第一個將之付諸實現的人。

我欲無言,且看圖片

這個稱作「中國古代歷史視覺教材」的計畫,在許理和教授的主持下,已經進行了六年。六年來,以吳艾蘭博士(Drs. Ellen Uitzinger)為主的製作小組,設計訂定專題,並向世界各地博物館和學術單位調借、拍攝幻燈片,至今已經完成「書寫的世界」、「中與外」、「中國與歐洲」、「帝國中心」等四個大題,其下各有子題。另有十二小時的「中國歷史概覽」,進行中的還有「宮廷生活」和「佛教在中國」二組。至於他們的「影像銀行」已經有兩萬個畫面了。

許教授指出,孔夫子的「我欲無言」,是這套視覺教材的最高境界——透過極其專業精密的課程設計;以密集影像(平均每四十五分鐘三百個畫面),達到使學生直接激盪思考,並留下深刻印象的效果。這也是它與傳統幻燈片教學,「輔助說明」的角色完全不同的地方。

這套教材目前在萊登漢學院使用,學生的興致很高。許教授更帶著它們周遊列國,尋找合作對象,以便擴大和推廣。

下一個目標,則是要如何繼續貯存和運用的問題。目前荷蘭菲力浦公司已經開發出一套新式影碟,每張碗口大的碟片可以貯存五萬個影像。

結合漢學專家和電腦專家,我們可以期待的遠景是——當你想知道與中國人的「腳」有關的資料,走進圖書館、按下鍵鈕,出自全世界各博物館中有關書、畫、文學……中提到有關腳、鞋子……的部分,就會全部一一出現在終端機上。

「東方熱」與「中國通」之後

這的確是一個美麗的夢。

在歐洲,漢學從來不是「顯學」。啟蒙時代,哲學家們用模糊的「東方熱」來支持他們對歐洲文化的批判;殖民時代,帝國主義則又用「中國通」來維持對殖民地的管理和運用;百年下來,漢學院終於由「殖民官搖籃」,成為真正的學術中心。但對大多數歐洲人而言,要解下東方神秘的面紗,路途仍然遙遠。

儘管史學家如湯恩比,也早早呼籲「廿一世紀是東亞人的世紀!」但放眼人文學科堙A所謂的世界史、文學史、哲學史……,又何曾正視東方?又何曾認真尋找文化的另一半?

「我認為漢學家的責任,是為我們的社會做一個通向東方的橋樑」,瑞典漢學家羅多弼誠懇地說。

伊維德教授著作極多,但除了少數較艱深的學術論文使用英文發表,其餘大部分譯著都是荷蘭文——這意味著他主動「限制」了書本的銷售量——「我的國民付稅讓我有機會鑽研中國文學,我有義務讓他們能分享我由其中得到的樂趣和成果」,他說。

技術誠可貴,心意價更高

萊登漢學院在四年前,和荷蘭電視台合作「你好!」和「中國菜」兩個節目。推出之後,據說收視率直逼足球。中國菜播出後一星期,荷蘭中國店的炒菜鍋被搶購一空。

「我們還必須多作些展覽和節目,介紹更多的中國文化」,許理和院長說:「這是必要的,這也是我們花了一生心血研究漢學的目的。」

再過幾年許院長就要從他耕耘一生的漢學院退休了。他形容「視覺教材」計畫是他的「小貝比」;把小貝比拉拔長大,則是他目前最大的心願。

這個心願或許並不難實現,因為歐美主要的漢學系,在看過這套教材後,多表示待其發展完成,願意使用、甚至購買這套教材;歐洲漢學會(European Association of Chinese Studies)也決定將之納入下年度主要專題之一。萊登漢學院語言學教授梁兆兵形容這是「輸出中國古文明」。

輸出中國古文明的工作絕不容易。許教授指著一格格成帙成疊的幻燈片說:「瞧,我們一點一滴地餵養學生。」(We feed them drop by drop)。

人類文化是一點一滴孕育而成的;東方與西方之間的瞭解,也得靠一點一滴的心意累積。

〔圖片說明〕

P.32

許理和教授和吳艾蘭博士,是「視覺教材」計畫的主要負責人。

P.33

老一輩漢學家中,不乏身兼外交官或殖民官的「中國通」。圖為荷蘭外交官,也是知名的傳奇人物——高羅佩。

P.34

這是萊登大學漢學院圖書館。學生正在閱讀有關天安門血腥鎮壓的新聞。

P.35

萊登大學漢學院藏書豐富,高羅佩生前藏書,在此闢有專室保存。

P.35

這是中國人眼裡的「老外」。

P.36

塔、轎子、五綹鬚,常是西方人畫中國時不可或缺的元素。

P.37

找找看,東方市場裡有那些有趣的東西?

P.37

漢學院與電視台合作的「你好」節目,在荷蘭大受歡迎。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Exporting Ancient Chinese Culture

Wang Jia-fong /photos courtesy of Arthur Cheng/Sinology Institute, Leiden University /tr. by Peter Eberly

Dutch merchants began voyaging to the Orient in the seventeenth century, bringing back tea and porcelain from China to the shops of Europe.

Flourishing trade and expanding colonies gave the Dutch a head start in Chinese studies. And now the Institute of Sinology at the University of Leiden has its sails set on a project of another kind: the exportation of ancient Chinese culture.


Images come into focus on a screen.

At first you see only the clear blue Mediterranean, ringed by the peninsulas of Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Spain. The rest of the map is enveloped in shadow.

This region may well be familiar.

The shadows withdraw a bit, and parts of Hungary, Yugoslavia, the Near East, and Egypt come into view.

These places may not be so well known to you.

The clear blue sea has vanished. On the screen is a vast stretch of brown and yellow: the land of China.

Here you may be totally in the dark.

It was during the Enlightenment that European scholars first directed their attention to lands beyond the Urals and the Bosporus, and it was then that Europeans began to acquaint themselves with the distant, exotic world of the Orient, which had been cut off from them for so long by barriers of land and sea.

Before then, Marco Polo's account of his travels to the East, exaggerated already, had been embellished since with fantastic illustrations that gave free rein to the imagination of a curious public (See picture 1).

Marco Polo had described the Chinese imperial palace as being as large as a city, which was actually almost true. But in the hands of illustrators, the "City-Sized Imperial Palace of China" was practically a copy of a medieval castle in Europe (picture 2).

A so-called "Chinese princess" is clearly modeled on an aristocratic lady of the West (picture 3).

In the seventeenth century Western officials and merchants began traveling to China in person. One look may be worth a thousand words, but the pictures they brought back with them were still riddled with oversights. See, for instance, the "Chinese banquet" (picture 4) depicted by a Dutch consular officer. The dragon-wound pillars towering on either side, the scores of officials kneeling on the floor, and the pervading atmosphere of ceremony and ritual are accurately conveyed . . . but having forgotten to look up, he had to make do with a Western-style substitute for a ceiling.

Then consider the etching of a county magistrate judging criminals (picture 5). The terrified expressions of the prisoners, their handcuffs, leg irons, and cangues are all convincingly portrayed. But look at the magistrate's right hand: he's holding the brush in an impossibly awkward manner.

The Europeans were not alone in their fanciful ideas of distant lands. During ancient and medieval times, Westerners peopled the Orient with a host of fabulous creatures, including the single-footed sciapodes (picture 6), people with ears as large as winnowing fans (picture 7), and "men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders" (picture 8). Bizarre, aren't they? But just look at the long-eared gentleman (picture 9) and the headless immortal (picture 10) pictured in the Shan-hai ching, or Classic of Mountains and Seas--don't they look like identical twins of their Western counterparts?

Mysterious, distant China: Just what kind of culture did it produce? Curious to know more? The Institute of Sinology at the University of Leiden has put together a series of some 20,000 color slides that vividly bring to life the culture of ancient China.

The project, aimed at Westerners who have had no previous training in Chinese studies, is called the "Visual Presentation of Chinese Culture." Dr. Erik Zucher, head of the Sinology Institute and director of the project, says that his initiation into Chinese studies as an undergraduate was a matter of plodding his way through ancient texts word by word. The most modern pedagogical tool they had at the time was a gramophone with a wooden needle that played sound disks telling "very bad stories in an unclear voice."

The teaching methodologies of his generation were a far cry from today's. Nor did they enjoy the firsthand experience of the previous generation of "China hands," many of whom had served in the country for years as diplomats or officials and whose enthusiasm for the humanist ideals they had encountered motivated them to pursue an otherwise neglected and esoteric field.

When he first read a translation of Lao-tzu as a student, Professor N.G.D. Margvist of Stockholm University decided to give up Latin and Greek and transfer to Stockholm University to study Chinese. Because he was afraid to tell his parents of what he had done and housing was hard to find, he slept in parks and train stations his first two months there.

When Professor Zucher decided to study Chinese, his classmates exclaimed, "Are you crazy? What do you want to study that for? What kind of a job can you find?"

Now both men have become world-renowned figures in their field, and the number of new students enrolling in their departments has increased over the years from a handful to hundreds.

An attraction to the culture of ancient China combined with the pull of the market-place are two prime reasons for the steady increase in new students signing up for China studies. Unfortunately about half of them always seem to drop out by the second year.

"Most of the new students are highly enthusiastic," Professor Zucher says, but once they get started they find out that learning another language and culture is an arduous process. And Chinese, after all, is very different from the German, English, and French that most Western students are familiar with.

Wilt Idema, another professor in the Sinology Institute at Leiden, explains that students are thrilled at learning their first ten Chinese characters and are still excited after learning a hundred, but when it comes to the 9,900 or so left, it's hard for anyone not to find it a bit tedious!

Also, eighteen- or nineteen-year-olds find repeating sentences like "I want to buy two ten-cent stamps. I'm sorry, we only sell twenty-cent stamps" less than adequate to satisfy the intellectual ambitions they harbor just after entering college.

"Actually, not every student has the ability to accept a culture with a completely different language system and way of thinking," Professor Idema says. Students don't have to "become" Chinese, he feels, but at least they have to figure out a way to maintain their interest and motivation so they can acquire the necessary grasp of the language, history, and culture.

Language, of course, is the key to understanding a culture, but there are no shortcuts to learning Chinese. Who among an earlier generation of scholars did not pore away over hoary classics like the Tso chuan or the Spring and Autumn Annals?

As early as fifteen or twenty years ago teachers began using graphics, slides, and illustrations as supplementary materials to liven up the classes. But Professor Zucher also received inspiration from another source.

It came from television--not the programs but the commercials. "Commercials are often boring and ridiculous, but you have to admit that some of them manage in a few seconds to stick in your head as though you had been brainwashed," he says. "The message they transmit may not be profound, but they have a powerful effect."

Another stimulation came from short introductory films. As a consultant to the ministry of education, Professor Zucher has frequently been invited to visit large corporations, which often show a ten-minute introductory film produced by an advertising firm. "The films cost a lot to produce, but the quality is very high," he says. They are more effective in ten minutes than a one-hour lecture.

That was how he came up with the idea of using visual images to present the rich heritage of Chinese culture to students in class. It would serve to supplement and transcend the written word at the same time as it stimulated students' interest and motivation.

The concept may not have originated at Leiden's Sinology Institute, but Professor Zucher was the first to put it in practice.

The Visual Presentation of Chinese Culture project, under Professor Zucher's direction, has been going on for six years now. The production team has mobilized the resources of museums and academic institutions around the world and has already completed four six-hour presentations on "The Written Word," "China and the Outer World," "China and Europe," and "The Imperial Center" as well as a twelve-hour "Survey of Chinese History," two programs on "Buddhism in China," and features on various subtopics. A presentation on "Court Life" is in progress. "We've got 20,000 images in our resource bank," Professor Zucher points out.

Confucius' "I want no words" is the ideal aimed at in the project, Professor Zucher indicates. Expert arrangement and concentrated exposure (an average of 300 images are shown every 45 minutes, the longest for no more than 12 seconds) are designed to stimulate and impress viewers directly, unlike conventional teaching by slides, which requires lengthy explanations.

The series is currently used at the Leiden Sinology Institute, where it has been well received by students, and it has been shown at various other institutions around the world. The immediate goal is determining how the programs can best be stored and utilized. The Philips Corporation is said to have developed a new technology that can store 50,000 images on a CD-sized disk. When sinological and computer expertise are combined, we may someday be able to walk into a library, push a few buttons, and call up on a terminal all the images related to a certain subject--shoes, for instance--as they appear in Chinese materials kept in museums and libraries around the world.

That is a lovely dream. Sinology has never been a "graphic" subject in the West. The philosophes of the Enlightenment made use of a vague enthusiasm for things oriental to support their critique of contemporary society, and the imperialist powers later relied on "old China hands" to maintain a grip on their concessions and interests. It has only been during the present century that sinological institutes have finally trans-formed themselves from cradles for turning out colonial officials to true centers of academic research. But for most Westerners the Orient still remains shrouded in mystery. Arnold Toynbee may have declared long ago that the 21st century will be the Asian century, but how many humanities departments give Asia more than a passing glance in their so-called world history, literature, and philosophy courses? How many really seek to explore Western culture's other half?

"The responsibility of a sinologist, I believe, is to serve our societies as a bridge to the East," a Swedish scholar has said.

Professor Idema has written many books, but except for a few scholarly treatises in English, the rest are translations into Dutch. "The taxes paid by my fellow citizens give me a chance to study Chinese literature, so I have a duty to let them share in the enjoyment I have found in it," he explains.

Two years ago the Leiden Sinology Institute cooperated with a television station in producing a pair of programs on Chinese cooking and the Chinese language. The ratings were comparable to those for soccer matches, and a week after the show on Chinese cooking, woks were sold out in stores around the country. "We have to put on more programs and exhibitions and introduce more Chinese culture to the public," Professor Zucher says. "That is a must, and it is also a goal of the research we have worked so hard at."

In a few more years Professor Zucher will have retired from the institute he has devoted his professional life to. But before he does, his most cherished ambition is to expand and promote the Visual Presentation of Chinese Culture project. He calls it his baby, and his greatest wish is to see it grow up. His wish may not be so hard to realize. Major sinology centers in Europe and North America all plan to buy the materials, and the European Association of Chinese Studies has designated the project its number-one priority for next year. A professor of linguistics has described it as "exporting Chinese culture."

The work involved is not easy. Professor Zucher points to a pile of slides in front of him and says, "We feed them to students drop by drop."

Culture is formed drop by drop, and understanding between East and West must be built up the same way.

[Picture Caption]

Dr. Zucher and Drs. Ellen Uitzinyter are the two main people in charge of the Visual Presentation of Chinese Culture project.

Quite a few of the older generation of sinologists were diplomats or colonial officials. The picture shows the legendary Dutch diplomat R. H. van Gulik.

The Leiden Sinology Institute has a rich collection of books. This room stores those acquired by van Gulik, an avid collector.

A foreigner--as seen through Chinese eyes.

This is the library of the Sinology Institute at Leiden University. Students are reading news about the Tienanmen massacre.

A pagoda, a palanquin, and a five-pointed beard are frequent elements in paintings of China by Westerners.

The Sinology Institute cooperated with a TV station in the Netherlands in producing a program on the Chinese language that proved quite popular.

How many interesting things can you find in this Oriental market?

 

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