You never know what you'll find on the clearance shelves in bookstores, and how much they'll be discounted. I found this for $5: Spirit of China: A Photographic Journey of the People, Culture and History, text by Gill Davies. It's packed with full-sized photos of beautiful scenery and cultural icons, like statues of the Buddha. The book itself is divided into five chapters, based on the Wu Xing, the Theory of Five Elements.
1) Earth 土 (tu): the contrasting landscapes of China
2) Water: 水 (shui): lakes, rivers and waterfalls
3) Fire: 火 (huo): art, calligraphy, cuisine and everything creative, including the kiln fires that bake the blue/white Chinese porcelain
4) Wood: 木 (mu): trees, bamboo forests, and how the Chinese use wood for their temples, pagodas, instruments, and paper.
5) Metal: 金 (jin): engineering, construction, and tools to build things.
The Wu Xing shows how all these elements are interdependent of each other. Wood is fuel for Fire, Fire burns Earth for new life, Earth produces metal, Metal carries water (like in a pail), and Water nourishes Wood in the form of rain for trees. Just like creation, the elements can also destroy each other. Wood prevents Earth from eroding, Earth muddies water as silt in rivers, water puts out Fire, Fire melts metal in smelting, and metal chops Wood with axes.
This describes China: its people can use the land and nature to be great, or destroy itself.
My latest work-in-progress involves an ancient land similar to China and similar motifs have shown up in my drawings and paintings. When I found this book, I took it as a sign that I've found my current creative path and to continue on it. It's part of my heritage and family...and important to the future.