For me, the hardest part of this read was the following phrase, which seems to make sense on its own, but makes little sense in the context of the sentence: 不用于往日视觉经验的. By itself, this says “no use (不用) in looking to days past (于往日) for this visual experience (视觉经验的)”. Okay, fair enough. But the full sentence is: 显然这种全然不用于往日视觉经验的作品深深的吸引了他. We’ve got the beginning of the sentence (显然这种全然) – this means “Obviously this type of completely…”. And we’ve got the end of the sentence (作品深深的吸引了他), which means “works of art deeply attracted him.” But when we add the middle bit, the sentence no longer seems clear: “Obviously this type of completely [no use in looking to days past for this visual experience] work of art deeply attracted him.
I’m told by my Chinese friend that this language is pretty rare, but turns out, the middle phrase is just a way of describing just how different from other things this Ukiyo-e actually was. There’s “no use consulting the past” to re-live this experience, because the experience (seeing the work of art) has never been had before (by the person viewing). (Anyone with input, please feel free to add to this in the comments).
If I were to write that sentence in English, I’d replace that phrase with “revolutionary” – “Obviously this type of completely revolutionary artwork deeply attracted him” – but the word “revolutionary” in Chinese tends to call up a lot of other associations that aren’t relevant in this context.
I’ve only translated the first paragraph here. Here’s the original post, if you care to finish it on your own. The original post has the best pictures.
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荷兰 – hé lán – Holland
瓷器 – cí qì – Porcelain
包装纸 – bāo zhuāng zhǐ – Wrapping paper
肖像 – xiào xiàng – Portrait
姿态 – zī tài – Pose
各异 – gè yì – All different
版画 – bǎn huà – woodblock painting
震撼 – zhèn hàn – To shock, mind-blowing
以至于 – yǐ zhì yú – To the extent that…
色情 – sè qíng – Erotic
梵高 – fàn gāo – Van Gogh
印象派 – yìn xiàng pài – Impressionism