Taoism and the Arts of China Review

Taoism and the Arts of China
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Taoism and the Arts of China ReviewThe book Taoism and the Arts of China was compiled to accompany the first major exhibit of Taoist art, which I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago. These centuries-old works are astonishing. I couldn't get enough of the exhibit, and now I can't get enough of the book. Considerable scholarship went into both.
The curators begin with the sage Laozi and his cognition of an unmanifest source of creation, which is called the Tao, or "way." As the collection progresses, the viewer sees the universal principle of the Tao enter the weave of Chinese culture. The teaching becomes visibly more elaborate and eventually the Way becomes a religion, acquiring deities, priests, rituals, and magic elixirs. Like an alchemist in reverse, the cycle of time takes a transcendent reality and turns it into the denser element of doctrine, right before our very eyes.
Some say the artists that served Taoism mixed potent elixirs into the paints they used. Whether or not this is true, I couldn't stop looking at their work. I wish the printed page could capture the exquisite detail, color and charisma of the originals. Still, Taoism and the Arts of China achieves its purpose. I showed the book to friends at a dinner party. They huddled over it a while, then resolved to drive off that very night to reach Chicago by morning, the last day of the exhibit. It was the right idea. This art should not be missed.Taoism and the Arts of China Overview

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