文献来源：俞孔坚. 美丽的大脚—走向新美学[J]. 景观设计学, 2010(5):20-23.
在将近一千年的时间里，中国的少女们被迫裹脚，以求能够嫁入豪门，成为城市贵族，因为天生的“大脚”是乡下 人、粗野生活的代名词。起初，裹脚只是上层人士的特权。直至1911年清朝灭亡，民间仍然流传这种习俗。著名的文人墨客曾吟诗作画，用尽美艳辞藻以赞誉人造的小脚，这在今日看来是荒谬和施虐。士大夫画家们用三寸金莲、平扁胸 脯、柳叶蜂腰、苍白霜肤勾勒出中国古典美人的形象，与健康的农村姑娘彻底相反。换言之，很长时间以来，在中国文 化中，美丽等同于不事生产、刻意雕琢、病态而丧失机能，而非自然原生、健康而有用。在某种意义上说，中国文化语 境里的城市化源于妇女之裹脚和男子的离开土地不事生产。这继而演化为中国文化中对成功与社会地位的衡量标准和审美标准。
这种关于高贵和美的定义并不仅仅存在于中国传统文化中。西班牙殖民之前的中南美洲，玛雅祭司和城市贵族们 以身体畸形为代价，来维护其权力和社会地位，不惜压扁其头颅，致残其身体，这种手术往往在孩子出生刚几个月就进 行。他们“美丽”的特征是突出而扁平的额头、杏眼大鼻，下唇低垂，这在今日和裹脚一样被视作荒谬和丑陋。
千百年来，作为一种优越性和权力的宣言，全世界的城市贵族维持着定义美丽和高尚品味的权利。裹脚以及畸形 的额头只是追捧城市风雅、贬低乡野村夫的千百种文化习俗中的两种。这些文化的共同特征是：以背叛天赋之健康、生 存、多产为标准，以区别凡人大众为目标。
美国作家，诺贝尔文学奖获得者赛珍珠（Pearl Buck）在她的小说《大地（The Good Earth）》（1931）中生动地刻画了中国乡村生活“城市化”和品位“高雅化”的过程。故事开始，主人公，老实巴交的王龙，从当地贵族豪门娶了 一个仆人阿兰为妻。阿兰勤劳、健康且丰产，为王龙生了三儿两女。她并不美艳，但吃苦耐劳，里里外外，持家有方， 敢当街乞讨以维持家庭生计。最终帮助王龙晟田卖地，变得非常富有。富起来的王龙开始当起老爷，租下当年东家的豪 宅，迁居镇上。即便如此，青楼王婆仍称他为“乡巴佬”。于是，从嫌弃阿兰的大脚丫开始，王龙“讲品味”了。他迷 恋并娶了青楼中最“美丽”的风流女士荷花，她小脚蜂腰、弱不禁风；她不事稼墙、不操家务，更不育子女。王龙完成 了他的城市化和高雅化，他的不事生产、以“小脚”和据“无用”为美，正是他“成功”的衡量标准。这也正是漫长的 封建中国所培育出的中国人内心深处的价值观，我把这叫做小脚美学。
在中国，与小脚主义美学一同演进的是城市、建筑和景观的所谓“高雅品味”。几千年来，农民凭借祖祖辈辈流 传下来的生存艺术，通过不断的试验和失败，管理和营造着具有生命的大地。一代又一代的人们在享受造田、灌溉、种 植艺术的成果的同时，也在不断适应着自然灾害的威胁和后果—洪水、干旱、地震、滑坡，以及水土流失。 “桃花源”，一个失落的天堂，一片肥沃而和谐的盆地便因此而诞生。生存需求正是这些能够赋予大地景观生产性和经久不衰 的生存艺术的产生原因。这片土地因为人类的改造和创造与自然过程相适应而和谐、而有秩序，并因此而美丽无限。
但当中国变的越来越城市化和“文明”的时候，这千百年生存实验的成果—美丽的乡土大地已经逐渐被剥夺了其 生产力、自我调节能力、对生命的承载能力以及它纯然的美丽。就像农村的女孩被迫裹脚后变得残疾一样，它正迅速地 在“美化”、“高雅化”和“现代化”的名义下，被摧残、被施虐。无用的化妆、对大地机能的致残已经给城市和乡村 的建设留下遍地的丑陋与畸形。
两千多年来，皇帝和贵族们为了追求闲情逸致不惜挖湖堆山，竭尽奇花异木之能事，在城市中创造了一个个虚假的 桃花源。丰产而美丽的“桃花源”被帝王和贵族们阉割的只剩下美艳的空壳，如同他们阉割太监和残害少女一样。有用 的灌渠和丰产的水塘变成园林里装饰水景；水池里放养的是畸形的金鱼；良田转眼变成了无用的观赏草坪；绿色的丰产 作物和乡土植物被金色或黄色叶子的园艺品种和奇异花坛代替；妖艳的牡丹和玫瑰淘汰了蔬菜和草药。为了制作盆景， 健康的树被致残、肢解、扭曲；“精致”的太湖石被点缀在大街上；就连桃树也只让开花不让结果。像小脚女人一样，这些风雅的城市装饰不再生产，却耗尽物力和财力以维护其生存。它们被浇水、修剪、除草，以及无尽的人工再造。随着主人的日薄西山，大多数历史上的“大花园”都很快地消逝了。少数勉强留存至今的，则有赖于耗费巨大的养护为代价。
请不要误解我的意思：某种意义上，所有的艺术、音乐和舞蹈都是“不事生产的”—但物种的繁衍却需要生产。 我不是说以上的艺术形式都会灭绝，我也无意贬低生活中审美和享乐的价值，我想说的是，我们居住的环境和生态遭受 了巨大的破坏，人造的自然环境必须、也将一定要有一种新的美学观，这一美学观要求我们学会欣赏具有生产能力、能够维持生态的事物。当今世界里，人类的生存正面临着威胁。浪费，不说它违背道德，至少也令人憎恶。事实上有很多 具有实用价值的东西可供我们审美。
人们大批地从乡村涌入城市是人类历史中近期才发生的一种现象。今天城市中生活的人很快将比乡村要多。在过去 的一个世纪里，世界范围内城市人口的比例从1900年的13%上升到1950年的29.1%，再到2005年的48.6%；并且预计 到2030年将达到60%（49亿）。到2050年，超过60亿，即三分之二的人类将生活在城市。
现在大多数涌入城市的移民的祖祖辈辈都是农民，曾经为了能到城市定居而苦苦挣扎过。现在他们正急迫地寻求20 世纪以前由少数城市优越人群所定义的美的景观和生活方式。像农村的大脚姑娘一样，大量的人口正迫切地要裹起自己 的双脚，在身体上和精神上使自己看起来更像贵族。当代的中国建筑、景观以及城市设计生动地折射了我们想要变得高 雅的渴望，而结果却恰好相反。
以往，欧洲巴洛克景观设计和修剪园艺反映了城市特权阶级的意志和所谓品味。这些“高雅”的“小脚景观”而今 泛滥于新开发的居住区和城市公共空间。城市贵族所遗留下来得关于风雅的价值不仅仅改变了城市，也正在改变整个中 国大地的景观：原生态和野趣的河流渠化并装饰上大理石或汉白玉；乡村湿地被喷泉和抛光的、大理石装饰的人工池塘 所代替；“蓬乱”的原生灌木被连根拔起，代之以外来的园艺植物品种；乡土的野草被由光鲜的、进口的草坪所代替， 这样的草坪在北京和中国大部分地区每平方米一年需耗水1m3。
从2002年到2010年，中国每年都消耗世界总产量一半的水泥和超过三分之一的钢材。是否一定要将一个农业国家 用这样的方式城市化呢？未必，因为这些不可再生的资源大量地被用在破坏和控制丰产而健康的自然过程、创造美艳却 无用的形象工程了。例如，美丽的鸟巢耗费了4.2万吨钢（几乎每平方米500kg），新的央视大楼则耗费将近每平方米300kg的钢材，都成为世界上在用钢方面最昂贵的建筑。在2008年奥运会期间，单是装饰性的花坛就花费了数以千万 的美元，使用了4 000万到1亿盆花。想象一下，如果是4 000万颗树，我们城市的空气污染将会得到多大的改善。在上海，几乎所有的地标建筑都有华丽的装饰性顶戴：有的像莲花、有的像百合花、有的像是螺丝起子、还有的是UFO。这 个城市因为这些艳俗的装饰而变得肤浅了。
正是小脚美学在主导当代中国的“城市美化运动（城市化妆运动）”，在所谓的传统风格或者毫无意义的形式以及 宏伟的异国情调之间迷失了自己。他们以巨大的浪费为代价，加速了环境和生态的恶化。中国拥有全世界21%的人口， 但只有全世界7%的淡水和9%的耕地。660多个城市中有三分之二是缺水的；75%的河流和湖泊遭到污染。在北方，沙 漠化日益严峻。在过去的50年中，中国有50%的湿地消失。包括北京在内的许多地区，地下水水位每年以1米的速度下 降，我们的城市将何以可持续地发展？作为建筑、景观和城市的设计师，我们的价值观是什么？全球性和中国的环境现 实都迫使我们探讨生存的艺术，关于土地监护的艺术和伦理。我们需要一种新的美学—大脚的美学。
全世界的人们最终承认：人类造成的气候变化已经带来更多的洪水、暴雨、干旱、疾病、动植物的灭绝。一项新 的研究表明从化石能源燃烧和工业过程中排放的CO2量正以高于早前预测三倍的速度在增长：北极冰盖融化的速度也加 快了三倍，海平面上升的速度则提高了两倍。在每个大洲都有大量的河流在干枯，造成水源短缺。我们正面临着自恐龙 消失以来最大的物种灭绝威胁：每小时就有三种物种在消失。引用阿尔伯特•爱因斯坦的一句话，很明显：“人类必需 有一种全新思维改变，才能解决继续生存的问题。”这将导致我们关于愉悦和美丽的价值观的转变，尤其是在景观设计 学——这个为了可持续环境而奋斗的关键性职业中，这样的转变更为迫切。（李云圣 译）
Beautiful Big Feet
Toward a New Landscape Aesthetic
Little Feet/Big Feet: Sustainability and Aesthetics in China
For almost a thousand years, young Chinese girls were forced to bind their feet so they could marry citified elites, since their natural “big” feet were associated with provincial people and rustic life. At first, foot binding was the sole privilege of the upper class. The practice flourished until the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Respected intellectuals had written poems and created paintings to praise artificial tiny feet that today would be considered grotesque and abused. Painters portrayed classic Chinese beauties with small feet, flat breasts, tiny waists, and pale skin, in complete contrast to strong and healthy peasant girls. For a long time, in other words, the beautiful has been seen as necessarily unproductive, above the “crude” survival-oriented processes of nature.
This definition of beauty and its connection with high-status urbanites are not unique to Chinese culture. Pre-Hispanic Mayan priests and nobles deformed their children’s bodies in a quest for social status. Their “beautiful” features—sloping foreheads, almond-shaped eyes, large noses, and drooping lower lips — today seem as grotesque as bound feet.
For thousands of years, the urban elite worldwide has maintained the right to define beauty and good taste as part of its assertion of superiority and power. Bound feet and deformed heads are among thousands of cultural practices that, in trying to elevate city sophisticates above rural bumpkins, have rejected nature’s inherent goals of health, survival, and productivity.
Pearl Buck vividly depicted this process of urbanizing and denaturalizing taste in her novel about Chinese village life, The Good Earth. Early on we meet Wang Lung, a poor man who could marry only a slave from the local aristocrat’s Great House. But the slave was very productive, giving birth to three sons and two daughters. She was not beautiful, but she was hard working, cooked and kept house well, and begged in the streets to relieve her family’s poverty. Wang Lung eventually became so wealthy that he did not need to labor himself but instead hired farmers. He could even afford to leave his land unfruitful, buy from others, and build rooms to accommodate a slender beautiful woman as his concubine. She was prevented from working or having children. As Wang Lung’s property increased, he was able to rent the Great House as his family’s residence and live in town. His unproductivity was the measure of his social “success”.
Mixed into in the evolution of the Chinese idea of beauty are people’s changing ideas of urbanity and good taste in landscape design. For thousands of years, farmers had managed living landscapes using the survival skills passed on by their ancestors through countless trials and errors. Generations had adapted to both the threat and the results of natural disasters—floods, droughts, earthquakes, landslides, and soil erosion—while honing their abilities in field grading, irrigation, and food production. A popular story arose: Our ancestors created and maintained “the Land of Peach Blossoms”, a lost paradise, a productive and harmonious basin discovered by a fisherman. Efforts to survive were what engendered the skills and artistry of rendering the landscape productive and durable. People found this land beautiful because it had the order and integration with natural processes that resulted from working with the given.
But as China has become more urbanized and “civilized”, this vernacular landscape has gradually been deprived from its productivity, its support to and of life, and its natural beauty. Like the peasant girls whose foot-binding crippled themselves, it has gradually been adapted by the minority urban upper class and transformed into artificial decorative gardens. The aesthetic of uselessness, leisure, and adornment has taken over as part of a larger overwhelming urge to appear “modern” and sophisticated.
Using ornamental plants and artificial rocks for two thousand years, emperors and nobles had created a fake Lands of Peach Blossoms for the pursuit of indolent pleasures. Irrigation ditches and ponds were turned into ornamental water features. Fish farms were stocked with mutant ornamental goldfish. Green plants were replaced with golden- or yellow-leafed plants; vegetables and herbs were ousted by ostentatious peonies and roses. Healthy trees were pruned, twisted, dwarfed and damaged to make bonsai. Only “delicate” Small Foot rocks were arrayed. Peach trees unable to bear fruit were planted. Like tiny-footed women, these urbane ornaments produced little and survived only with constant human maintenance. They were watered, pruned, weeded and artificially reproduced. Most of the “great gardens” in history decayed soon after their owners passed on. What survives or has been revived today requires endless maintenance.
Please do not misunderstand me: In one sense all art, music and dance is “unproductive” — it is useless for sustaining biological life. I am not arguing for the end of all this or for any demeaning of the value of beauty and pleasure in our lives. What I am arguing is that in our resource-depleted and ecologically damaged and threatened era, the built environment must and will adapt a new aesthetic grounded in appreciation of the beauty of productive, ecology-supporting things. Our desire for beauty detached from utility is weakening, and should be. In our new world survival is at stake. Wastefulness becomes viscerally unattractive, if not immoral. But there is plenty of opportunity for joyful pleasure in useful things.
From Rusticitas to Urbanitas and the Challenge of Survival
The massive movement of population from rural to urban areas is a recent phenomenon. Today there are more people living in cities than in the countryside. In the past century, the proportion of urban population worldwide rose from 13% in 1900, to 29.1% in 1950, to 48.6% in 2005; it is expected to rise to 60% (4.9 billion) by 2030. By 2050 over six billion people, two thirds of humanity, will be living in towns and cities.
For two thousand years prior to 1950, China’s urbanization was enabled by agriculture surpluses, and its urbanization rate barely reached 10% (13% in 1950). By the end of 2007, around 43% of the 1.3 billion Chinese were urbanites. Each year some eighteen million people migrate to China’s cities. The UN has forecast an even number of urban and rural people in China by 2015.
The aestheticized landscapes defined by the privileged urban minority prior to the 20th century are now eagerly sought by the mass population, whose peasant ancestors had struggled for generations to become city dwellers. These migrants, just like the Big-Foot peasant girls, are eager to bind their feet, to gentrify themselves physically and mentally. Contemporary Chinese landscape, architecture and urban design simply reflect the aspirations of ordinary people to become sophisticates.
Before the recent swarming to cities, ornamental landscape and civic design in China projected the aspirational identity of the privileged urban class typically through European baroque landscape designs and ornamental gardening. These elite spaces have now turned into newly developed urban settlements and public spaces. Post-vernacular inherited values about urbanity changed not only the city, but also the whole landscape of China. Rough and wild Chinese rivers have been channelized and lined with marble. Rustic wetlands have been replaced with fountains and immaculate artificial ponds. “Messy” native shrubs are uprooted and replaced by exotic horticultural ornaments; native grasses are replaced by tidy exotic lawns that consume more than one cubic meter of water per square meter each year in Beijing and most of China.
From 2002 to 2010, China will have consumed about half of the world’s total production of cement and more than 30% of its total production of steel. Is this necessary to urbanize a rural country? Not all, since some of these unrenewable resources are being wasted in the destruction and controlling of “messy” nature and the creation of ornamental landscapes and visually “iconic” buildings. Examples include the new Olympic park, the steel-wasteful “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium, the exorbitant and “spectacular” CCTV Tower, and the energy-gorging National Center of Performance Arts. The beautiful Bird’s Nest consumed 42,000 metric tons of steel (roughly 500 kilograms per square meter). The CCTV Tower consumed nearly 300 kilograms per square meter and is the most expensive building in the world in terms of steel using. Millions of dollars were spent on decorative flowerbeds during the 2008 Olympic Games: 40 to 100 million flowerpots were used. Imagine how much better Beijing’s air pollution would be had those been forty million trees. In Shanghai almost all landmark buildings are crowned with ornamental hats. One hat represents a lotus flower, another a lily, another a screwdriver, and a fourth a UFO. The city is trivialized by this frippery.
In the current Chinese “City Beautiful Movement” (or rather “City Cosmetic Movement”), the arts of urban design, landscape and architecture guided by the Small-Foot aesthetic, have lost their ways in a search of mind-numbing conventional styles or meaninglessly wild forms and exotic grandeur. Work in these modes accelerates the degradation of the environment. China has 21% of the world’s population but only 7% of its land and fresh water. Two thirds of its 662 cities lack sufficient water; 75% of its rivers and lakes are polluted. In the north, desertification has created a crisis. In the past fifty years, 50% of China’s wetlands have disappeared. The underground water level drops one meter each year in many sites. These conditions and trends are desperately unsustainable. What values do we hold as designers? Both global and local conditions compel us to embrace an art enmeshed with fostering survival, promoting land and species stewardship, and making ornament subservient to those goals. We need a new aesthetic of big feet — beautiful big feet.
The Big-Foot Aesthetic: Recovering Landscape Architecture as the Art of Survival
As the world has finally admitted, anthropogenic climate change has brought and will bring additional floods, storms, droughts, diseases, extinction of lots of animals and plants, and other threats to survival. A new study shows that CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel burning and industrial processes are increasing three times faster than speeds in earlier worst predictions: the Arctic ice cap is melting three times faster; the seas are rising twice as rapidly. Some rivers on every continent are drying out, threatening severe water shortages. We are experiencing the greatest wave of extinctions since the disappearance of the dinosaurs: Every hour, three species disappear. To quote Albert Einstein: it is obvious that “we shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive”. This will entail a shift in what seems pleasurable and beautiful to us, especially in landscape architecture, a crucial profession in the struggle for sustainable ecology. (Translated by Yunsheng LI)
This text is extracted from the article "Beautiful Big Feet — Toward A New Landscape Aesthetic", Harvard Design Magazine, 31, Fall/Winter, 2009/10.
October 10, 2010