Hexagram 5, line 5 & 6

line 5

需于酒食.貞吉.

Waiting with wine and food. The divination is auspicious.


line 6

入于穴. 有不速之客三人來敬之. 終吉.

Ru 入: in old texts often used with the meaning of ‘to accept’ (taxes, tribute or a gift; 古文字通假字典, p. 766-767). This meaning of ru is used in several bronze inscriptions, like the Song 頌 bronzes:

又膳夫山鼎、頌鼎、頌壺、頌毀有 “反入堇章” 語,即受冊命者 “返納瑾璋” 於王。
The shanfu 膳夫 Shan Ding, Song Ding, Song Hu and Song Gui have the phrase “he returned and accepted a jade tablet”, that is he who received the emperor’s order to confer titles of nobility on his relatives “returned and accepted a jade tablet” from the king.
(古文字通假字典, p. 767)

A shanfu served the king personally, “taking out and bringing in” royal commands for administrative or military purposes.
(Maria Khayutina, Studying the Private Sphere of the Ancient Chinese Nobility through the Inscriptions on Bronze Ritual Vessels, in Chinese Concepts of Privacy, p. 87)

The term for the jade scepter (…) refers not to just any jade ornament, but to one that symbolized the delegation of authority in the archaic period.
(David W. Pankenier, Caveat lector: comments on Douglas j. Keenan, ‘astro-historiographic chronologies of early china are unfounded’ in Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 10(2), 137-141 (2007) )

Edward Shaughnessy translates 反入堇章 as “he returned and brought in a jade tablet” (The Cambridge History of Ancient China, p. 299), but to my knowledge a jade scepter was given by a superior to its subject and not the other way around.

Bu su 不速: uninvited; unexpected.

Ke 客: distinguished guests .

Jing 敬: use gifts to show appreciation or pay respect (以禮物表示謝意或敬意).

Acceptance (of gifts) at the hole. There are three uninvited visitors coming to pay respect with this. In the end auspicious.

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7 Responses to Hexagram 5, line 5 & 6

  1. Sparhawk says:

    Just a thought. Since you are moving away from “pit”, on 穴, the whole line would sound like a story out of the A Thousand and One Nights and Ali Baba and his bandits if you replace “hole” for “den”. That is, it keeps with one of the meanings for 穴 which is “cave”.

    DEN: 2a (1) : a hollow or cavern used especially as a hideout (2) : a center of secret activity

    I believe the context allows for it much better than hole.

    • I agree that translating xue as ‘den’ would make more sense in the context that is given with this line, but at the fourth line I translate it as ‘a small hole through which a stream of water flows’. I chose this meaning because a) it is a legitimate meaning of xue (xue refers to a spot through which something flows, it is also the Chinese name for acupuncture points), and b) it matches the theme that is pictured by the line texts which move from a field situation at line 1 to a river situation at lines 2-3 and probably at line 4 as well. Maybe I am too rigid when I try to force xue to have just one meaning, I’m not yet sure. It is a continuous work in progress…

      • Markku Kotiranta says:

        I’m also translating Zhouyi and I have found, that the only thing that is meant to remain the same throughout the hexagram, is the title, unless it is intentionally used polysemously as I have found the case to be in this hexagram. The lines do not share a narrative, but the same idea considered from many sides. These are sometimes set in stories, as in 53. I have translated the beginning of line 6 as “Entry in the den”, the rest is about the same as you have.

        • When you assume that ‘the only thing that is meant to remain the same throughout the hexagram is the title’ that assumption will colour your translation. Anyway, I believe ru 入 should be translated different.

          • Markku Kotiranta says:

            Just to complement my earlier post, here is whole of the translation.

            Entry in the den:
            Having become regarded as uninvited guests
            many people come with respect,
            eventually fortunate.

            The lines describe different cases for the same wider meaning that I believe is “expectation”. Although line six has 入 (ru) instead, it tells also about an expectation.

            That title thing is not a rule for me, just an observation. There must be though some rules, else it would be quite impossible to find the right translation, when there are a myriad linguistically correct possibilities.

  2. Sparhawk says:

    I neglected to comment on the previous line. I hope you don’t mind the feedback. I’m never sure when it begins to be annoying… 😀

    >> ‘a small hole through which a stream of water flows’<<

    No idea what the Dutch word for it would be but, there are some nice words for what is described above. For example, in Spanish we have "manantial" or "fuente". In English it is "spring" or "font". In the case of 5.4, if you wish to keep to the water theme, then "font" would do well. I mean, if in 5.4, and elsewhere, you are willing to contemplate the meaning of loan words which are, a priori, semantically different, even when they use the same signific, such as the case of 血 vs 洫, then, some plasticity should be allowed in your target language to make it narratively compelling.

    BTW, Ed Shaughnessy uses a similar reasoning when discussing the received 井 vs 汬 (Shanghai manuscript) vs 阱 (Unearthing…, pg. 61 forward) and decides to depart from "well" and favor "trap" for 48. That is a huge departure in meaning from the accepted understanding of received text. Not saying I don't like it; it opens some interesting interpretive doors.

    Most characters in Chinese being polysemous, there should be no need to be rigid at the time of time of rendering characters in another language if the context allows for a better way of saying something.

    • I neglected to comment on the previous line. I hope you don’t mind the feedback. I’m never sure when it begins to be annoying… 😀

      Luis, it will never be annoying. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

      if you wish to keep to the water theme, then “font” would do well.

      Thanks for the suggestion. I am not very familiar with the word but isn’t a font more like a receptacle?

      I mean, if in 5.4, and elsewhere, you are willing to contemplate the meaning of loan words which are, a priori, semantically different, even when they use the same signific, such as the case of 血 vs 洫, then, some plasticity should be allowed in your target language to make it narratively compelling.

      True. However, plasticity has the tendency to run wild if you don’t define some boundaries. How and where to put those boundaries, well, I’m still working on that.

      BTW, Ed Shaughnessy uses a similar reasoning when discussing the received 井 vs 汬 (Shanghai manuscript) vs 阱 (Unearthing…, pg. 61 forward) and decides to depart from “well” and favor “trap” for 48. That is a huge departure in meaning from the accepted understanding of received text. Not saying I don’t like it; it opens some interesting interpretive doors.

      Yes, it does. I don’t agree with him, I think the water shui 水 component still hints at an aquatic meaning. On the other hand, the Shanghai MS has some very interesting characters which might redefine our view of the Yi. I try to use these when I consider them useful and meaningful.

      Most characters in Chinese being polysemous, there should be no need to be rigid at the time of rendering characters in another language if the context allows for a better way of saying something.

      Ah yes, but I always wonder if the best way is the original way… 😀

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