The Chinese Taoism, was founded in the Eastern Han dynasty, and is the major religion throughout China, and became widespread during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Taoism is a theoretic, ethical, and religious tradition of the Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony. The term Tao means "way," "path" or "principle," and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions. For centuries, Taoism has had a profound influence on Chinese culture.
FU ZHOU, the Chinese graphic spell, is known as Taoism Exorcism Talisman. It is the most important part of The Ming Canon of 1445, also known as the Zhengtong daozang (Taoist Canon of the Zhengtong Reign Period.) Fu Zhou is based on the world of ghosts and gods and is the bridge of communication between humans and the ghosts and gods. People can use FU ZHOU to ask for help from the world of ghosts and gods.
The Divine Talismans of the Three Grottoes, states that "the talisman originally appeared in the sky.” ( 《三洞神符记》San Dong Shen Fu Ji ). The Supreme Perfection ( 太真 Tai Zhen ) looked upward, creating heavenly writings, pictures, and drawings gathered from the Talismans. The Talisman was then passed on by the Supreme Venerable Sovereign (太上老君 Taishang Laojun -Lao Zi(老子)) with other immortals to the Chinese on Earth.
FU is a visual graphic spell of Chinese Taoism, which consists of particular symbols and Chinese characters designed and drawn on a piece of yellow paper. Zhou is a verbal spell of Chinese Taoism, which is exactly the same idea as the western spell of witches.
At the beginning of the Chinese culture, FU ZHOU was used as a punishment from the Chinese God, but it later served as a form of loyalty to the God.
The verbal spell of Taoism, which is ZHOU, was originally evolved from the greeting of ancient witches. ZHOU was popular among the Eastern Han Dynasty ( AD 25- AD 220 ), and have an endless association to the FU: you need to speak out the ZHOU when you draw the FU, you also need to speak out the ZHOU when you use the FU. Basically, FU ZHOU was used for different purposes.
From the view of Taoism monk, FU ( the visual graphics spell) was the secret bridge between the human and God, to paint an FU, you need to follow some particular rules. There are thousands of ways to design an FU, someone just made their strokes go randomly on the paper when they are thinking the God, someone needs to do some particular religion steps before they design it, as well as some of the others need to cast some spells while they were drawing the FU. These may involve various spells, rituals, and invocation to empower and bless the FU. The complexities of the process to design an FU was to keep a lot of Taoism followers away from getting closer to this mysterious area.
The talisman is the core cog of Taoism culture. The reason why this is related to graphic design is the masters who drew the talisman used a lot of figures, traditional patterns, and even some symbolic geometry shapes, which put in another way, the masters are designing the Talisman.
Celestial Master Zhang Tianshi founded Taoist religion during the 2nd century CE. It was an ignored truth that Master Zhang who invented Taoism Talisman should be considered as the first graphic designer of China. It was he who designed the certain shapes, figures and strokes that can be used to draw certain kinds of talisman. I want to raise the awareness of his foundation and contribution to Chinese graphic design. I think this is a very important history we should all look at as Chinese graphic designers. It is the history which formed us and the entire society. It has built the bridge for us to communicate with our audience.
Fuzhou includes shapes, strokes or figures written by Taoists on paper, cloth, wooden chip or buildings. Most of the characters look like Chinese words, but they are not the real ones. The figures have many types and are always hard to recognize and cannot be identified in general. Many Fuzhou was specially recorded in the canons of Taoism. Taoism widely uses them in practical life. They attach much importance to Fuzhou and believe that the characters and figures should be used as a tool. Fuzhou is also one of the important contents that Taoist disciples have to study. In general, Fuzhou contents are forbidden to be revealed to others and can only be taught to Taoist followers by their masters. According to Taoism, learning Fuzhou is a key to the magic arts of Taoism.
The robes worn by Taoist masters are one of the most visually and technically spectacular works to Taoist. Talisman on the clothes was not an innovation, the Taoism masters from old times used to wear specially customized robes for their religious ritual events. These extravagant garments, like most other pieces of Taoist art, were made for ritual use.
I would like to bring talismans into everyday life and make them more intimate with the human body. Clothes are the secondary skin of every person, to be underneath a cover is to reveal the true self inside. The goal of Taoism Talisman Apparel is to let people wear “what they want”. Here people’s will of wearing refers to the functions of real Taoism talisman, which is to gain luck, recover from illness and grant wishes. In a word, this is a brand bring you spiritual power, it is not about to be religion, it is about to have faith, to have a different view of life, and to be confident. Because we believe, the most valuable thing we can offer you by wearing our clothes in the hope that you can hold on to whatever you are going through.
I start this brand as I developing my graduation thesis design, I found this an interesting idea to put on the spiritual power on ourselves and will be fun to share with the world. It was the essence of Chinese Culture, many parts of this topic still remain mysterious nowadays. It was also necessary to bring FUZHOU to the world as a designer who was raised up under the Chinese tradition, My mom was one of the true Taoism followers, she was my inspiration. No matter there is dark side or good side of this Taoism talisman, just like other religion around the world, it was built upon human’s imagination, people have needed that from the beginning. To wear my clothes is to wear your wish.
It is really interesting to find out that people 2000 years ago were thinking the same things as us today. Love and Money have always mattered in people’s lives the most. Through research, I found that talisman concerned with those two issues were the most popular throughout time, I developed my garments design under the subject of love attraction and fortune attraction, which is supposed to bring people luck on human relationship and chances to gain fortune while they wear my garments. I hope through the concept of Fuzhou brand, people can enjoy the positive attitude to the future, even be able to actually achieve their dreams. That can be real!
I am making the connection spanning the past and the present, sharing the same beliefs of humanity through my design. I believe people are people, and we need to be free to have what we want. Being true to ourselves is the only thing we need and can pass down from generation to generation. Through the designing of shapes and prints, I hope to bring audiences spiritual power- it is not about religion, it is about having faith, to have a different view of life, and to be confident.