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Lao Tzu - Tao Te Ching - ( Item 123231 )

Published in London by Folio Society. 2010. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Fine slipcase. Introduced by Frances Wood. Translated and edited by Arthur Waley. Three-quarter bound in cloth with paper sides. Printed with 'The Old Man of the Southern (Celestial) Pole', by L Chi, c. 1490. A famous legend tells of Lao Tzu, who left the royal court some time during the Chou dynasty in the 6th century BC. Stopped by the guardian of the pass who begged the scholar to leave a record of his wisdom, Lao Tzu recited the Tao T Ching, which translates as 'The Way and Its Power', went on his way and was never seen again. The Tao T Ching is one of the foundation stones of Chinese ethics, culture and philosophy, ranking alongside the great religious works. The oldest extant text, written on slips of bamboo, dates from around 300 BC. No one knows whether one author or several lie behind the legendary figure of Lao Tzu, but beyond question is the lyrical intensity of the 81 short chapters of mystical poetry, which describe the limitless creative force of the Tao - or the Way - and how it may be harnessed. Itself built on Confucianism, the Tao in turn heavily influenced the development of Chinese Buddhism. At its centre lies the system of opposites and paradoxes amongst which the sage, the ruler and the enlightened must find their path of perfect balance. This celebrated translation by Arthur Waley was first published in 1934. Waley, a scholar and sinologist, was a member of the Bloomsbury set with an ear for poetry and language which has rarely been matched. Tao T Ching: The Way and Its Power and Its Place in Chinese Thought includes Waley's copious notes, glosses and extensive introductory essay, making it an accessible and authoritative version of one of the world's most important religious and philosophical doctrines. This edition is illustrated with scroll paintings inspired by the Tao T Ching, and includes fold-out sections which allow the reproduction of two especially beautiful landscape scrolls.

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