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T'ai-chi (Chin., ‘ridge-beam’). The supreme ultimate in Chinese philosophy and religion. It is the source of order and appearance in the I-Ching: ‘In the changes, t'ai-chi produces the two energies [yin-yang], which produce the four images [ssu-hsiang, the four possible combinations of Heaven and Earth, which give rise to the four seasons], from which arise the eight trigrams.’ In neo-Confucianism, t'ai-chi combines li (structure) and ch'i (primordial materiality), in an alternation of rest (yin) and activity (yang): from these arise the five elements (wu-hsing) which constitute all existence.