Parallel Earth: 341653
Designation: Permanent Collection
Parallel Historians: Gabriel Lee and Ben Tumbling.
The Hands of Nu Li
Unknown Tibetan Artist, circa 1600 CE
Pigment on clay
Traditional devotional pose accomplished by Rev. Mkr. Li Ling Huay.
The Cult of Nu Li is the largest organized religion in the Solar Empire, with an estimated three billion adherents on Earth alone, and the Hands are its most ubiquitous symbol. This sculpture is approximately four hundred years old. It was created around the time the popular meaning of the Hands coalesced from competing but similar ideas. In the end, the eyes came to represent intelligence and wisdom, qualities that can only be earned through action, while the soiled fingers represent toil.
The Hands derive their symbolism from the book the Journey of Nu Li, source of the cult’s main tenets. These are explicitly stated in the book’s concluding chapter, the Five Fingers. The chapter is named after the digits of the “one free hand, as opposed to the other hand which labors.” The tenets are as follows:
- Life is lived among people.
- Action is character.
- Kindness is the noblest of actions.
- Progress is the measure of nobility.
- Yet people are people.
Historians believe the cult started as a reaction to the asceticism and non-materialism rampant in many religions that flourished approximately four thousand years ago. As such, most cult members, called “makers”, are non-theistic. They believe that a good life consists of honest and fulfilling work, deep relationships with other people, and wonder.
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