"Chinese Convicts"

 

David Normal:

 

The original illustration fudges the Chinese writing. I took pains to correct this, and engaged the help of Taiwanese friends, and a Chinese language translator to render Aleister Crowley's famous "Motto of Thelema", "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" into classical Chinese.

Of course that is an ironic statement considering that these pilloried convicts did not find that the exercise of their free will turned out to be the whole of the law, but rather the worst portion of it. And now they are seated before the prophetess's empty book as though preparing for an ESL lesson from hell.

 

Image taken from page 271 of 'Along River and Road in Fuh-Kien, China ... With a map and illustrations ... by the author' Collection of the British Library.

View illustration on British Library's Flickr Photostream

 

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