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The Tao Te Ching or ‘Canon of the Way of Virtue' is a classical Chinese text generally dated to the 6th century BCE. It has traditionally been attributed to Laozi (or Lao Tzu), the ‘Old Master', said to have been a scribe at the court of the Zhou Dynasty.

The Tao Te Ching, is central to both religious and philosophical Taoism, and represents a central tenet of the san jiao or ‘Three Teachings' of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism that combine to form the main religious tradition not just of China, but also of Korea, Japan and Vietnam.

Representing a philosophical standpoint rich in naturalism and closely associated with anti-authoritarianism down the millennia, it has also been a major influence on the artistic world in China and beyond, inspiring generations of calligraphers, poets, painters, musicians and classical landscape gardeners.

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