Taoist Grimoire ( or ‘Fang Shu’) also know as a Magical Register or Book of Methods with Fu Talismans, ~ late 19th C
Written in red and black ink with red ink seals / stamps on handmade paper made of handmade with straw or mulberry paper bound together with cord.
10″ x 5″: 36 fols. (72 pages). Han Chinese/Vietnamese nôm chữ characters.
Condition: Very Good condition with both covers present and attached. Binding strong. Additional leaf (?) folded and placed inside front cover, Appears to be COMPLETE
A ‘Fang Shu’, also know as a Magical Register or Book of Methods is a personal log and journal of an esoteric Taoist Practitioner knowledge which can be likened to Western Practioner’s grimoire. It contains the drawings of the Fu sigils that the practitioner uses, ritual scripts, charging methods, explanations of how the sigils are crafted, and the Lu, a registry of the spirits and demons that the practitioner could summon and the summoning methods.
The writs are exceptionally strange and cannot be recognized by ordinary people. At the same time, they assure a man has become a Daoist and symbolizes his right to practice the magical arts and control the divine officers on the talismans.
Similar to the talismans and pentacles of the Western world, A Fu talisman or Sigil is an ideograph that represents an intention. Through ceremonial rituals, called Craft, a practitioner accumulates the surrounding energy and channels it in concentrated form into the Fu talisman.
Amongst other ritual procedures while reciting the invocations, the practitioner walks in a set formation around the alter space. The most common formation of this practice is called Pacing the Big Dipper although the practicers use many pacing formations, some of them designed over a magic squares in the same way spirit sigils are created in the West. The present manuscript appears to have three pages dedicated to pacing notation.
Traditionally, Fu Sigils are stamped with the practitioners seal, typically in a contrasting ink color; if the sigil is crafted with black ink than the practitioner seal is red, as is seen in present manuscript. One of the last steps of creating a Fu, after it has been designed, consecrated, charged, and divined to be effective, is for the practitioner who has created it to seal it.
According to Taoist scriptures, a talisman is a condensation of the clouds in the sky. It is written that, the talisman is originally condensed in the sky. The Supreme Perfection faced upward, wrote the heavenly writings, differentiated the directions, and distinguished pictures and drawings from the writings of the talismans.” Later, the Supreme Venerable Sovereign ( 太上老君 Taishang Laojun ) and other immortals imparted them to this world. (Sources: Bevin Donahue & Benebell Wen)