The end of the passage from Huan 2.2 quoted above summarizes the link between 'inner power' (de) and virtues of 'frugality' (jian) and 'measure' (du) by stating that they are externally manifested/expressed in 'patterned accoutrements' (wen wu [phrase omitted]).
Though wen begins to be interpreted ethically, it still retains the aesthetic connotations of its basic meaning of '(externally visible) decorative pattern'.
The Lunyu discusses the moral interpretation of wen more explicitly than the Zuozhuan.
In Lunyu 5.15, Kongzi and his followers explicitly discuss the motivation for the use of wen in posthumous titles in moral terms.
[phrase omitted] (52) Zigong asked, "What is the reason Kong Wenzi is [posthumously] called Wen? The Master replied, "He was diligent and fond of learning.
In the Zhanguo period being wen in the moral sense began to be considered an acquired property.
Is what you just said not an example of what is expressed in this line?" The main purpose of Lunyu 1.15 is to describe the 'moral refinement' of the '(morally) noble man' (Junzi) as consisting in having acquired certain moral traits such as being "observant of the rites" and "delighting in the Way" rather than "obsequious" and "arrogant." The fact that Lunyu 1.15 quotes from Mao 55 provides us with an opportunity to compare the semantic shift of wen, from 'awe-inspiringly beautiful' in pre-Zhanguo times, as illustrated by Mao 55 discussed in section 1, to 'morally refined' in the Zhanguo period as illustrated in Lunyu 1.15.
Further support for the analysis of wen as an acquired attribute is found in Lunyu 14.12, where wen is used as a transitive verb meaning 'to pattern' or 'to decorate': "If someone who possesses Zang Wuzhong's wisdom, Gongchuo's freedom from desire ...
By opening up the possibility that 'moral refinement' (wen) can be acquired, Lunyu 1.15 and 14.12 imply that it is possible for persons of non-noble background to become 'morally refined' (wen) through the proper edification process.
The reinterpretation of adjectival uses of wen from 'displaying awe-inspiring external marks of social status and authority' to 'displaying the external appearance and charisma of moral perfection' was an important step in the development of metacultural uses of wen as a noun referring to 'ideal patterns of conventionalized behavior' (as in Lunyu 9.5).
Recently discovered manuscript texts confirm that metacultural uses of wen date back to the fourth century BCE, as suggested by the above analysis of wen in received texts such as the Lunyu and the Zuozhuan.
The graph wen <[phrase omitted]> occurs several times in the Guodian manuscripts, but always in names, such as King Wen.