Hexagram 10, Judgment


履: to step on (something); to walk; to proceed. The Mawangdui text has li 禮, ‘rules of conduct’, which reminds of the Xugua 序卦 line about H10: 物畜然後有禮故受之以履: “When beings thus have 禮, 履 will be accepted and practiced.” In the Image text of hexagram 34 履 is also paired with li 禮: 君子以非禮弗履: “without li 禮 the junzi will not 履.” On bronze inscriptions the character mei 眉 is sometimes read as 履, for instance by Li Feng in his translation of the Sanshi pan 散氏盤 inscription (集成10176) , where he reads 眉/履 as ‘surveying’:

Because Ze attacked the settlements of San, [the officials of Ze] then arrived in San to use land [as compensation]. Surveying: Cross the Xian River to the south and arrive at the Great Pond…
-Li Feng, ‘Literacy and the Social Contexts of Writing in the Western Zhou’, in Li Feng and David Prager (eds.), Writing & literacy in early China: studies from the Columbia early China seminar, p. 289

Continue reading

Hexagram 09, line 6


Ji 既: on oracle bone and bronze inscriptions used with the meaning of ‘finished, complete, the end, to stop, the final stage’ (Liu Xinglong 劉興隆,《新編甲骨文字典》, p. 299; Ma Rusen 馬如森, 《殷墟甲骨學》, entry 387; Chen Chusheng 陳初生, 《金文常用字典》, p. 559.)  However, it depends a lot on the context and the character that follows it how you should read it. For instance, in the case of a solar eclipse it refers to a full eclipse (J.M. Steele, ‘A comparison of astronomical terminology, methods and concepts in China and Mesopotamia, with some comments on the claims for the transmission of Mesopotamian astronomy to China’, in Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage , Vol. 16, No. 3 (2013), p. 254;  Han Y B, Qiao Q Y., ‘Records of solar eclipse observations in ancient China’ , Sci China Ser G, 2009, 52(11), p. 1642) even though you might expect that it refers to the end or final stage of an eclipse. Continue reading

Hexagram 09, line 5


有孚攣如: this sentence also occurs at H61.5.

You fu 有孚: see here.

Luan 攣: to join, to connect. There are a few dictionaries (like 《新甲骨文編》) who link this character to an oracle bone character (see image). This  OBI character has the same components as 攣: silk threads 絲 with a hand 爫. But in 攣 this hand 手 is below. Most dictionaries regard the OBI form as the precursor of 𦃟 ‘to tie (up)’, following the Shuowen 說文 which says 𦃟 籀文系從爪絲: 𦃟 is the Large Seal form of 系. From 爪 ‘hand’ and 絲 ‘two threads of silk.’ Continue reading

Hexagram 09, line 4

有孚血去. 惕出. 无咎.

It has been more than a year since I wrote my last Translation Note. This has mainly to do with one word: punctuation. The original Chinese text does not have any punctuation and for months I did not know how to parse the sentence. A very similar sentence is found at hexagram 59, line 6: 渙其血去逖出无咎. I figured that knowing how to punctuate this line would also help me punctuate H9.4. I thought I was the first to struggle with this punctuation problem but at H59 Jack Kuo gives three possible options: Continue reading

Hexagram 09, line 3

輿說輻. 夫妻反目.

Yu 輿: a chariot, but also the box of the chariot:

Shuo 說: loan for tuo 脫, ‘fall off’ or ‘remove’. It also is a loan for shui 税, ‘to stop, to halt’:

[This] umbrageous sweet pear-tree; –
Clip it not, bend not a twig of it.
Under it the chief of Shao halted.
Shijing (tr. Legge) Continue reading