Cover: Picturing the True Form: Daoist Visual Culture in Traditional China, from Harvard University PressCover: Picturing the True Form in PAPERBACK

Harvard East Asian Monographs 342

Picturing the True Form

Daoist Visual Culture in Traditional China

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674504288

Publication Date: 02/23/2015


526 pages

8 x 10 inches

80 color illustrations, 46 halftones, 242 line illustrations

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs


  • Acknowledgments
  • List of Figures
  • Chronology
    • Introduction
      • Visual Dimensions
      • Conceptual Framework
      • Aniconic, Immaterial, and Ephemeral
      • Facets of Daoism
      • Primary Sources
      • Daoist Tu in the Daozang
      • Overview of the Book
  • Inner Chapters: Esoteric Underpinnings
    • 1. Imagery of Body and Cosmos
      • Body Gods
        • Early Divinities
        • Planets and Bureaucrats
        • Ritual Activation
      • Visualizations of Stars
        • Journeys to the Northern Dipper
        • Imaginary Star Maps
        • Stars in the Body
        • Iconic Forms
      • Souls and Worms
        • The Seven Material Souls and Three Deathbringers
        • Physical Parasites
        • Control and Elimination
      • Illustrating Internal Alchemy
        • The Inner Realm
        • The Medical Body
        • Body Landscapes
        • Interior Journeys
    • 2. Mapping the World
      • Daoist Creation
      • Sacred Charts
      • Heavens and Upper Worlds
        • Vertical Heavens
        • Lateral Expansion
      • Earthly Paradises
        • The Ten Continents and Three Isles
        • The Five Sacred Peaks
        • Grotto Heavens
      • Hells and the Underworld
        • Mount Fengdu
        • Women in Hell
    • 3. True Form Charts
      • Metamorphoses of the Man-Bird Mountain
      • Man-Bird Writings
      • Birds in Heavenly Scripts
      • The Five Sacred Peaks
        • The Mystical Cosmos
        • The Fengshui Connection
      • Mountain Treasures
        • Minerals and Herbs
        • Magical Mushrooms
  • Outer Chapters: Art in Action
    • 4. Materiality of Daoist Sacred Space
      • Forms of Daochang
        • The Oratory
        • The Public Altar
        • Multiple Layers
        • Multiple Stages
        • Cultural and Religious Sources
        • Soul Places
      • Ritual Objects
        • Flags and Banners
        • Mirrors
        • Writing Utensils
        • Documents
        • Spirit Money
    • 5. Performing the Salvation Ritual
      • The Yellow Register Purgation
        • Calling Out the Body Gods
        • Ascent and Summons
      • Attack on Hell
        • Opening the Hells
        • The Master’s Staff
        • Artistic Depictions
      • Rescuing Souls
        • Bathing and Feeding
        • The Water Land Ritual
      • Salvation through Refinement
        • Internal Visualizations
        • The External Rite
        • Concluding Ceremonies
    • 6. Paintings of Mobile Deities
      • Daoist Painters at Work
        • Preparation
        • Sketchbooks
        • Teamwork
        • Priests as Painters
      • Three Officials of Heaven, Earth, and Water
        • Pictorial Formulas
        • Annual Festivals
      • Pictorial Conventions
        • The Heavenly Descent
          • Daoist Deities in Procession
          • Visualization in Practice
        • Earthly Excursions
          • Tours of Inspection
          • The Subjugation of Demons
          • The Tree Goblin and the Ape Monster
        • Ocean Crossings
          • Crossing Over to Salvation
          • Thunder Troops
          • The Female Soul
      • The Ritual Context
        • Mobile Deities
        • Yellow Register Painting
    • Epilogue
  • Reference Matter
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Illustration Credits
    • Index

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