GGraphic from Ming Chinese longevity text, woodcut
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About this work
Wanshou xianshu (The Immortals' Book of Longevity), by Wu Weizhen (Ming period, 1368-1644), aims to bring together the cream of longevity techniques from various schools. It juxtaposes text and illustration, and provides information on drugs to be used in conjunction with gymnastic practices.
Bagua zhoutian tu (Universal chart of the Eight Trigrams) appears in the latter juan (volume), 'Zhu shen daoyin tu' (Daoyin [therapeutic movement] images of various immortals). It illustrates the relations of the Eight Trigrams (qian [Heaven), kun [Earth), zhen [Thunder], xun [Mild Wind], kan [Water], li [Fire], gen [Mountain] and dui [Lake]) with the Five Agents (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water). Each of these elements has its own place, and yet all are engaged in a ceaseless process of movement and transformation. If the practitioner attains knowledge of this truth, he or she can achieve immortality.