The ‘sheng’ sacrifice at Qi Shan

(If you see tiny squares where Chinese characters should be you are probably using Internet Explorer. Switch to Firefox, it does a much better job.)

Most Yijing translations translate sheng 升, the name of hexagram 46, as ‘pushing upwards’, ‘advancing’ or ‘ascending’. ‘Pushing upwards’ and ‘advancing’ are not good translations to my taste, but ‘ascending’ is perfectly alright. But there is more to this character (as always), if we look at the etymology and the first uses of this character, we can get a picture of what is ascended and why. The text of the Yijing also helps getting this clear. Continue reading

A Mulan in the Yijing

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Through several channels the character of hexagram 44, gou 姤, has been brought to my attention. On Hilary’s forum there has been some discussion about it, mainly stirred by the view of Margaret J. Pearson as expounded in her article Towards a new reading of hexagram 44 in The Oracle Vol. 2, no. 11 (September 2000). In this article she says,

“I suggest that this character be read as ‘queen’ , as did Karlgren (GSR 112) or, more precisely, ‘the bride of the ruler’ (king or duke) 王后, as in the Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals)”.
(p. 25) Continue reading

The banner of ‘qian’

There are a lot of things you have to keep in mind when you investigate the character qian 乾 from hexagram 1. First, there is the problem of finding the right components which form the character. Your first impression would probably be that the character consists of the component on the left side, and 乞 on the right side. This idea would probably be strengthened by the fact that there are more characters with as a component, like 朝 or . Continue reading