IMG: Title - Neijing Tu

The Inner Meridian Landscape (Neijing Tu)

Translated by Akrishi

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IMG: Neijing Tu (small)
Original Baiyunguan version

Baiyunguan version with text collated by Kamlan Koon

Coloured version from Manchurian Imperial Art Gallery

Coloured version redrawn

Mt. Wudang version (not very clear)



The Inner Meridian Landscape or Neijing Tu is a pictorial description of the theory and practice of the cultivation of the inner elixir.

The exact author is unknown but some Taoist believe it was either hand drawn by Qiu Chuji , the founder of the Longmen School or Wang Chongyang, the founder of the Quanzhen School, while scholars believe it should be first drawn during the Ming or Qing dynasty when such literature and art form combining picture, poems and enigma become popular in metaphysical writings in China.

There are currently 3 slightly different versions of the Inner Meridian Landscape. The most popular version is originated from the Baiyunguan (The White Cloud Taoist Temple) of Beijing, being publicized after sent to press in 1886 A.D. by the Taoist Suyun.

Besides this, there is another coloured version originally kept by the Manchurian Qing dynasty Imperial Art Gallery. This version is probably articles of tribute to the early Qing emperors who honoured Taoism as a mean to pacify the Chinese after their first taking over of China.

Finally, there is another version titled "Inner Scenery Landscape" kept in Mt. Wudang, another important Taoist school.

The different versions have some words on it with similiar pronunciation but different meaning, while the painting is almost identical.   This shows that it must have been passed on initially by word of mouth - painting only with no words on it.   This somehow indicates the landscape has a much longer tradition than what we can determine nowadays from known historical record.

The Inner Meridian Landscape symbolizes the human torso with landscape, laying out important parts and paths of the body to cultivate the elixir: On the right is the spine and the Governor Vessel; the top is the head and corresponding celestial realm. And there are poems pointing out key points.

Please note that this landscape marks the "main elixir" in the abdomen area which is typical for the inner elixir practice. However, the poems refers to cultivating the golden elixir in the upper field of elixir.

Revised 2008/12/25

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