Top Image : Tao priestess Sun Bu’er (in the middle of the top row) with the other Seven Masters of Quanzhen and their teacher, Wang Chongyang
Chinese Thought conceived the idea of a universe governed by the interaction and cyclical alternation of two opposing, but complementary principles called Yin and Yang. Before becoming cosmological entities, they were elementary principles of classification, first of all sexual groupings and two genders: one female and the other male. This conception originated from the agricultural character of the ancient Chinese civilization.
Taoist Immortal Painting of Queen Mother of the West Riding Foo Dog
The Seasons Of Yin And Yang
In the distant past, the work of men and women took place according to different times and methods in relation to the seasons. Men worked in the fields until winter arrived; during this season they rested, like the earth. For women, on the contrary, winter was the season of the most intense work, which they spent at home spinning and weaving clothes. In spring and autumn collective festivals, which ended with a sacred hierogamy, were held in consecrated places in valleys where the river marked a sacred border. During those festivals, the opposing choirs of young people of both sexes faced each other, like shadow and light, launching challenges in verse.
Chinese painting illustrating a mother and a son plucking tea sprouts (ca.1800–1899) from the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs
The names of Yin and Yang are a reminder of the dark and sunny slopes where the young people respectively used to gather. Yin is related to the shade, to closed places, to the feminine; its activity is of an interior order. Yang is related to sunlight, heat, masculine; its activity is of an external
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