Chinese painting tends to emphasize “spirit conveyed” and “meaning transmitted” yet deemphasize the “similar appearance” of an object in painting. Neither the “spirit” nor the “meaning” of a painting is considered from the perspective of “beauty,” however inseparable from the concept of truth. Chinese painting, while revealing truth, at the same time achieves its beauty.
This paper begins by expounding the meaning of truth through imitating an object’s appearance and through conveying its “spirit” in Chinese painting. We then deepen our understanding of truth conveying “spirit” through the theories of Heidegger and other phenomenologists in order to illustrate the fact that the union of subject and object is key to the revelation of truth in painting. And at the end of this paper, we demonstrate a dimension of “sincerity” with regard to the truth to elucidate the unique feature of truth, which bears within itself the depth of humanity in Chinese painting.