The 3,000-year-old Yi’Jing – Book of Changes, the oldest and most influential of the Chinese classics, is unquestionably one of the most important books in world literature. The central concept of the Yi’Jing is “Heaven and Humanity as One”. It delineates the principles behind how man can live in harmony with nature by emulating the precepts of heaven and earth. This idea became the cornerstone of China’s traditional culture, the root source of all branches of knowledge and the most unique feature of Chinese civilization. From its original text of about 4,900 characters emerged the two main pillars of Chinese philosophy – Confucianism and Taoism.
Although it began life as a book of oracles, and still remains a remarkable tool for divination, the Yi’Jing has evolved over the long years of Chinese history into primarily a book of wisdom. For more than 25 centuries Chinese emperors, statesmen and scholars have consulted the book as a standard resource on matters ranging from statecraft, warfare, business, to culture, religion and personal relationships.
Basil Pao began his photographic career in 1980 upon his return to Hong Kong after ten years in the United States, where he was art director for Atlantic Records and Album Graphics Inc. in New York, and Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles. His work during that time included designing the book and graphics for the Monty Python film Life of Brian, where he first worked with Michael Palin. They have since collaborated on 11 illustrated books based on the BBC travel series Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe and Brazil. He is also the author of Hands, China Revealed and The Universal Scream, which was launched on 12 December 2013 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch’s birthday. His exhibition catalogues include Yi’Jing-Book of Changes, which accompanied The Great Walls of China Series exhibition; Travels with Michael Palin for his exhibitions at the Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire and the Royal Geographical Society in London; and Around the World in 8000 Days for the exhibition at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. His corporate work includes the limited-edition books A Tale of Two Ventures for Wah Kwong Maritime Transport; AMAN, Bhutan and AMAN2 for Amanresorts; OM-Ordinary Moments, CMYK-China, Shan Shui-Mountain-Water, Blazing Shadows-A World of Black & Light for Printer Trento and his latest OM 2 -Ordinary Moments+. Basil’s travel essays and other assignments, including his photography for Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and Little Buddha, have appeared in publications and exhibitions all around the world.