From the Publisher:
The practitioners of western magic frequently believe they work an ancient art, with tools and techniques passed on from the gods themselves. What few realize is that magic evolved with societies in the far east while western culture was still scrambling together simple spells in huts made of mud and straw.
These mysterious arcanists have learned refined, complicated rites and spells that seem esoteric and strange to those not familiar with their ways. Through the manipulation of earth, fire, metal, water and wood, these wu-jen wield arcane power that rivals the strength of the greatest magical traditions in the west.
The heart of the wu-jen tradition is difficult to describe outside the context of the culture that produces it. These spellcasters hone their art through practices and small rituals that seem inconsequential to observers, but each motion and position subtly channels arcane energies through the wu-jen. Even subtle differences in wordings of casual conversations can hold significance to a wujen adept enough at his art to utilize them.
While most western arcanists believe the base elements of creation are earth, fire, air and water, a wu-jen views the list as being slightly different. Metal is considered a pure enough force to be an element, as is wood. Air, however, is
seen as a byproduct of other forces, and not considered an element.
Wu-jen come from all walks of life, but most are educated in multiple artistic fields such as calligraphy and music. While more rustic practitioners of the esoteric arts exist, they are few and far between.