I found this book by chance, and am so glad that I did. It made me smile, and I couldn't wait to share it as soon as I finished reading it.
The book is comprised of a three-and-a-half page introduction by the author herself and seventy-nine pages of sayings and watercolor paintings of cats, as well as a brief explanation of the Chinese seals used in the paintings and a biographical paragraph about the author. The quotations used in the book are from well-known Chinese figures such as Confucius, Sun Tzu, and Feng Menglong, and the paintings were done by the author herself. There is one quotation per page, with a painting of a cat on the page opposite each one. The book is brief enough to read in one sitting, yet enough to instill casual pondering as you attempt to apply each quote's message to the painting of the cat opposite it. One complaint that I do have is that not every painting reflects the meaning of the quote it is paired with, and some of the paintings are very sloppy.
While each of the quotations are thought-provoking, these two especially struck me:
"Ancient scholars studied for self-fulfillment; Today's scholars study for fame." - Confucius
"I beg you do not love your golden dress, Rather value your youth. Collect sweet blossoms while you can, Do not wait till the branches are bare." - Chinese poem
While many of the passages within this book deal with respect, honor, and knowledge, there are some that are touching as well, such as one that reads, "A friend who truly knows you is always with you" and is coupled with an adorable painting titled "Two Brothers" that shows two young black cats admiring a flowering plant. I suppose you would have to see it to know what I mean, but it is really sweet. The story behind this book is just as touching as many of the paintings and passages within it, as Kwong Kuen Shan describes how a stray cat helped her to overcome her phobia of cats and inspired her to create The Cat And The Tao.
Overall, I would say that if you love and adore cats, as I do, then you will probably love and adore this book, especially if you are interested in art, watercolors, and/or eastern philosophy. It is a lovely little book that can be shared with others or that you can enjoy on your own time and again. In short, it is beautiful, and would make a perfect little coffee-table book.
This is a cute coffee table book. The artwork is cool to look at and the sentiment is perfect for a cat lover like myself. It makes me smile at the end of a rough and reminds me to be more patient with my crazy cat.
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The Cat And The Tao is a timeless treasure that artfully fuses the elegant and playful beauty of cats with the quiet power of ancient Chinese wisdom in a book sure to touch lovers of cats, art, and eastern philosophy.