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The Body of Laozi and the Course of a Taoist Journey through the Heavens

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image of Asian Medicine

At the border of Hunan and Jiangxi, where Taoist rituals and the Nuo tradition of masked theatre have undergone a large scale revival in recent decades, a Taoist master of the Orthodox Zhengyi sect, Master Yi Songyao , has preserved a number of rare ancient paintings and manuscripts that have been transmitted to him as the liturgical texts of his lineage; these include a map of the body of Laozi and a chart of the course of a Taoist journey through the Heavens. The following brief introduction to these two documents serves mainly as an example of how an intimate knowledge of Taoist ritual can provide a key to the performative nature of the charts and indicates the rich scope for future research.


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