The Taoist buildings and gardens and their relationship to natural elements, history and legends provide a rare insight into the ethereal world of Taoism. Taoist buildings have basically evolved from the traditional square Chinese courtyards. The main halls built on the central axis serve as places of enshrinement and worship for statues of Taoist gods, as well as for conducting ritual ceremonies. Many Taoist temples have a small garden. In hilly areas, these gardens have been built to gracefully echo the surrounding landscape. These temples abound with sculpture, calligraphy, and stone inscriptions.
Photographs: Northeastern China; Northern China; Central China.- Text: The Beginnings of Taoism in China and its Essence - Pursuit of Immortality, the World of Deities and Taoists: Origins and Evolution of Taoism; Faith and Theology of Taoism; System of Deities and Immortals in Taoism; Taoist Functional Potency and Miraculous Arts.- Outline of Taoist Architecture - Characteristics of Design and Norms, from Zhi, Jing to the Palatial Monastery: Architectural Design and Norms; Site Selection and Deployment; Architectural Layout; Structure and Construction; Architecture.- The Grotto Haven, Blessed Sanctuary and Taoist Monastery - Places for Offering Sacrifice, Practicing Asceticism, Preaching and Ceremonial Prayer: Fifth Grotto Haven on the Mount of Verdant Land; Eighth Grotto Haven on Mount Mao; Celestial Masters' Residence on the Mount of the Dragon & Tiger; Dai Temple; Memorial Shrine of Azure Glow on Mount Tai; The Abbey of Jade Spring on Mount Hua; Gazebo Terrace, the Prime Blessed Sanctuary; Palaces and Temples on Mount Wudang; Palace of Everlasting Bliss; Palace of Absolute Purity on Mount Lao; Palace of the Blue Goat in Chengdu; Monastery of White Clouds in Beijing.- Appendices.- Notes on the Photographs.- Maps and Chronology