Large Taoist Grimoire ( or ‘Fang Shu’) made up entirely of large Fu Talismans and drawing of a black demon, entirely unique in style and content, Vietnam late 19th / Early 20th C
Written in red and black ink on handmade paper made of straw or mulberry paper bound together with cord.
11″ x 10″: 15 pages.
Condition: Both covers present and attached. Binding strong. Appears 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. A practitioner would typically have many of these manuscripts in his library. This particular manuscript appears to the catalog of effective talismans with descriptions of their uses.
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.
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)