Abstract: The Taoist Canon (Daozang) contains a remarkable illustration entitled Renniaoshan tu, or Chart of the Man-Bird Mountain, found in a text originally dating from themid-fifth century. Other Taoist works describe this mountain as the ultimate originof revealed scriptures and even of the entire Canon. In this article, I examine threemain themes related to the Chart. The first is the role of birds in traditional accountsof the origins of Chinese writing. The second theme concerns the function of birds inthe revelation of prophetic charts and texts, described in Han-dynasty “weft texts.” Thethird theme is the early narratives focused on the so-called “winged men” (yuren). Thisis followed by an analysis of the Chart, including its inscriptions, and of the text thatcontains it. An appendix provides translations of the inscriptions and of similar passagesfound in other Taoist sources.
This is the first book to examine extensively the religious aspects of Chinese alchemy. Its main focus is the relation of alchemy to the Daoist traditions of the early medieval period (third to sixth centuries). It shows how alchemy contributed to and was tightly integrated into the elaborate body of doctrines and practices that Daoists built at that time, from which Daoism as we know it today evolved. The book also clarifies the origins of Chinese alchemy and the respective roles of alchemy and meditation in self-cultivation practices. It contains full translations of three important medieval texts, all of them accompanied by running commentaries, making available for the first time in English the gist of the early Chinese alchemical corpus. (blurb on Stanford University Press)