Taoism is one of the foundations of traditional Chinese culture and views “Dao” (principles) as the source of everything that exists. Its ultimate tenet is to become immortal. It diverges from Buddhism in its acceptance of human desires, and from Confucianism in its emphasis on personal happiness. Under its influence, throughout history, the populace of China believed in sorcerers and ghosts, and sought longevity and immortality. Many doctrines and methods of the Taoists for immortality became an integral part of Chinese culture and still influence many Chinese today.
In the pre-Qin period, primordial Taoism emerged in Chu (present-day Hubei) and laid the foundation for the later form of Taoism. Throughout the Qin and Han dynasties, it absorbed many doctrines from Confucianist and Legalist thought and developed into the dominant ideology of the times—the Yellow Emperor-Laozi Doctrines. At the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, the Tianshi School, with many elements fused together, including the Yellow Emperor-Laozi ideology, divination, Fangxian Tao, and folk sorcery, established Taoism. They respected Laozi as the founder and Tao Te Ching as their fundamental text.
Throughout the Western and Eastern Jin and Song Dynasties, Taoism perfected its tenets and organization and developed into polytheism, worshipping the Taoist Sanqing as the three highest Taoist deities. The popularity of metaphysics and alchemy also contributed to the advance of Taoist theories and technologies. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, two major schools of Taoism developed: Quanzhen Tao, which incorporated some Buddhist and Confucianist thought and gained imperial recognition, and Zhengyi Tao, which combined many Taoist schools, including Tianshi Tao. The Yongle Emperor of Ming claimed that he himself was the embodiment of the Taoist God Zhen Wu, and vigorously supported the Quanzhen School of Wudang. Wudang Mountain was the holy place for emperors to worship, preserving China’s highest concentration of ancient Taoist architecture, and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“Tao Bears the World” mainly exhibits Taoist antiques excavated from Hubei Province and Wudang Taoist antiques. It acquaints visitors with the progress of primordial Taoism in Chu and the impact of Taoism on Chinese culture.
Graded Objects: 160 Pieces(Set)
Availability: 01 May 2016--01 May 2017