Hexagram 8, line 1

有孚比之.無咎.有孚盈缶.終來有它.吉.

About you fu 有孚 see here.

Bi 比: ‘assist, support’, ‘join (to support)’, to form a bond to reach a common goal, if necessary in a secondary position, to put yourself 2nd place:

王令吳伯曰乃師左毛父
王令呂伯曰乃師右毛父
(…) the King charged the Elder of Wu saying, “Lead your troops on the left in support of Father Mao.” The King ordered the Elder of Lü saying, “Lead your troops on the right in support of Father Mao.”
Ban gui 班簋 (殷周金文集成 4341; translation from R. Eno, Inscriptional Records of the Western Zhou, p. 30)

Roderick B. Campbell writes in his dissertation Blood, Flesh and Bones: Kinship and Violence in the Social Economy of the Late Shang (p. 117-118):

(…) the Shang king could (…) draw upon the coercive resources of allies, “meeting/joining” (bi 比) them for joint endeavours (Lin Yun 林沄, 《甲骨文中的方国联盟》, in 《古文字研究》第六辑, 1982):

51) 乙卯卜,殼 貞:王比望乘伐下危,受㞢  㞢 . (32)
Cracked on Yimao day, Ke tested: The King (should) join with Wang Cheng (to) attack Xia Wei, (for if he does) he will receive divine aid.

52)貞:叀   象令比倉𥎦. (3291)
Tested: It is Xiang (who the King should) order to join with the lord of Cang.

Campbell adds in a footnote,

There is some controversy over whether in inscriptions like the example above the graph I have transcribed should be read 比 (to join) or 从 (to follow/to cause to follow). The Jiaguwen Heji Shiwen, for instance, transcribes 比 as 从 in examples like (32). I, however, find Lin’s (1982) argument persuasive. Based on my own tabulations of oracle-bone political geography, there does indeed seem to be a real statistical difference between place/actors that the king “orders” as opposed to “joining with” or ordering subordinates to “join with” for military action. As Lin (1982: 78) notes, bi 比 “to join with” is never used for close subordinates of the king like Fu Hao 婦好, Que 雀, Zi Shang 子商 and so on.

About wujiu 無咎 see the third line of hexagram 1.

Ying 盈: to fill to the brim. There are not many texts in which ying is used as a verb, but the grammar that is dictated by the pattern 有孚X之(…)有孚X缶 says that X is a verb (just as bi 比 is a verb). In Daodejing 道德經 chapter 9 we read

持而之,不如其已…
To hold it while filling it to the brim is not as good as stopping (in time while filling it)…

Often the character before zhi 之 is a verb.

女-in-Zhanguo-textsThe Shanghai Museum Manuscript has an unknown character: 盈-SM-variant. Pu Maozuo 濮茅左, the editor of 《上海博物馆藏战国楚竹书(三)》, transcribed this character as hai 海, ‘ocean’, but this reading is disputed by several scholars who have proposed numerous alternatives for this obscure character that appears in no other text (see for a summary Chen Huiling 陳惠玲, 《上海博物館藏戰國楚竹書(三)•周易》研究, p. 130-132; Zheng Yushan 鄭玉姍, 出土與今本《周易》六十四卦經文考釋, p. 174-176). The lower component of the right part is the Chu way of writing 女, as is shown by He Linyi 何琳儀 (see image on the right, click to enlarge. From He Linyi 何琳儀, 戰國古文字典, p. 557-558). The left part is shui 氵(水). The top part of the right part is read as 日. The complete character would therefore be 盈-SM-variant-transcript(see also He Linyi, p. 969-). The right part 妟 is a known variant of 嬰, so the Shanghai Museum character could be read as 瀴. Shaughnessy follows this reading and translates the character as ‘roiling’ (Edward L. Shaughnessy, Unearthing the Changes, p. 80).

The character ying 盈 knows many variants, one of them being ying 嬴 and personally I suspect that the Shanghai Museum character is a simplified version of 瀛: this character also has the 女 component below another component (吂). The Shanghai character 盈-SM-variant could be 瀛/溋 which are known variants of 盈. Interestingly the Hanyu Da Zidian 漢語大字典 gives hai 海, ‘ocean’ as one of the meanings of this character. Hou Naifeng 侯乃峰 also reads the Shanghai Museum character as 溋 but follows a different route (Hou Naifeng 侯乃峰, 《楚竹書<周易楚竹書《周易》釋溋之字申說>釋“溋”之字申說》,《周易研究》2009年第1期, p. 22-26)

Fou 缶: a jar for holding and pouring water or wine, often made of earthenware but also made of bronze. The Cai Hou Zhu fou 蔡侯朱缶 and Peng fou 倗缶 are good examples of the latter – the inscriptions on these bronzes describe them as a fou. Another interesting example is the Luan Shu fou 欒書缶.

014188There is an oracle bone inscription (Heji 合集 14188; see image on the right, click to enlarge) in which fou is used as a (phonetic) loan for bao 保, ‘to protect’: 帝弗缶于王 – ‘will the High God bless and protect the king?’ The fragment Heji 合集 14189 contains the same phrase but uses bao instead of fou. In the Qinghua manuscript titled 《繫年》 from the Warring States period there is a character written as image010 (image009) which is a loan for bao 保 (see this article). In bronze inscriptions fou is sometimes used as a loan for bao 寶, ‘(to) treasure’. In turn bao 寶 is read as a loan for bao 保 in Warring States manuscript 《曹誅之陳》 (see 上海博物館藏 – 戰國楚竹書(4), p. 280), and likewise bao 保 is seen as a loan for bao 寶 in Qinghua Warring States manuscript 《保訓》 (see this article and this article). The link ‘to protect’ <–> ‘(to) treasure’ is easily made: what is valuable has to be protected. In the phrase 永寶用(享), ‘eternally treasure and use it (for sacrifices)’ that is found on many bronzes (see 殷周金文集成引得), bao 寶  can also be read as ‘(to) protect’, or ‘receive protection’: ‘eternally receive protection (when used during sacrifices)’.

Maybe fou 缶 in the ritual setting that is described in the first line of hexagram 8 also has the connotation of ‘(receive) protection’. This line might refer to the ceremony that is held to ask the ancestors for their blessing of the bond with the new allies. The ritual fou is filled to the brim, signifying trust and assured protection from the forefathers.

Zhong 終: to the end, at the end, finally, at last. Also a loan for zhong 衆 ‘everyone’ and chong 充, ‘to fill’ (古代漢語通假字大字典, p. 665). The latter is interesting considering the usage of ying 盈, ‘to fill (to the brim)’ earlier in the sentence.

The 漢語大詞典 gives another interesting meaning of zhong: 古代月在壬稱終 – ‘in ancient times when the month was (at Heavenly Stem) ren 壬 (the month was) called zhong.’ It quotes the Erya 爾雅 for this, where is said,

月在甲曰畢,在乙曰橘,在丙曰修,在丁曰圉,在戊曰厲,在己曰則,在庚曰窒,在辛曰塞,在壬曰終,在癸曰極: 月陽.
When the month is jia 甲 is is called bi 畢, when yi 乙 it is called ju 橘, when bing 丙 it is called xiu 修, when ding 丁 it is called yu 圉, when wu 戊 it is called li 厲, when ji 己 it is called ze 則, when geng 庚 it is called zhi 窒, when xin 辛 it is called sai 塞, when ren 壬 it is called zhong, when gui 癸 it is called ji 極.

The Hanyu da Cidian 漢語大詞典 describes yueyang 月陽  as 舊曆以十天干紀月的別名。天屬陽,故名。亦稱“月雄” – ‘a name for an old calendar that used the Ten Heavenly Stems (tiangan 天干) to record the months. Heaven is yang, hence the name. Also called yuexiong 月雄’. The 中国历史大辞典 explains: “在甲”、”在乙” 指月干支名中有甲、有乙等. – ‘”At jia“, “at yi” means that the ganzhi designation of the month has jia, yi etc. in it.’ (p. 532). The Erya mentions a similar naming system called suiyang 歲陽 for years (中国历史大辞典, p. 1040).

I wondered if this could be a reference to a 10-month calendar. Although there are no records of actual usage of a 10-month calendar there are scholars who believe that such a calendar is implied by certain bronze inscriptions and ancient texts. One such ancient text is the Xia Xiao Zheng 夏小正, which is said to have circulated as an independent text before it was incorporated in the Dadai Liji 大戴禮記:

The Xia Xiao Zheng as a Confucian canon, has prompted much scholarly research, but no one has noticed that it incorporates a solar calendar in which the year is divided into ten months, and the month into thirty-six days. In recent years Chen Jiujin and his colleagues have carried out a survey of astronomical knowledge in the Liangshan region of Sichuan province. After learning that the Yi people there used a ten-month solar calendar and tracing it back, they believe that the Xia people, the ruling house of the state of Qi, and the Yi people are all descended from the Western Qiang people. The division of the year into thirty-six jieqi in the “Youguan” chapter of the Qi book Guanzi is a clear indication of a ten-month calendar. The Xia Xiao Zheng speaks of “the handle of the Dipper hanging downward in the first month,” “the handle of the Dipper upright in the sixth month,” “the longest day in the fifth month,” and “the longest night in the tenth month.” The interval between opposed phenomena is five rather than six months, which proves that the calendar included ten months. Later scholars, unaware of this, mistakenly distributed the book’s celestial and other natural phenomena among the twelve months of the conventional calendar. As a result, when this book is compared with the “Yueling” chapter of the Li ji there is a systematic error. This explains Kong Guangsen’s (1752-1786) prior discovery that “in the Xia Xiao Zheng the apparent position of the sun differs from that in the ‘Yueling’ by a constant factor of one qi,” that is, one-twenty-fourth of a tropical year. Kong was speaking of the average; actually at the beginning of the year there is no divergence, and it increases as the end of the year approaches. Chen also argues that in the 154th song of the Book of Songs the phrases “the first day” “the second day,” and so on, explicitly referring to days shortly before the new year, are also traces of a ten-month calendar. Ten months amount to 360 days. In a year of 365 or 366 days there is a surplus, treated as intercalary or epagomenic days at the end of the year after the tenth month. “The first day,” and so on, refer to these days. For further references see the review essay by Zhuang Wei-feng.
– Xi Zezong, Chinese Researches in the History of Science and Technology; Chinese Science (1983, issue 6), p. 65-66

Xi refers to an article published in 1982 by Zhuang Weifeng 庄威风: 中国天文学史研究近貌 in the journal 自然科学年鉴 of the year 1982, 1:51-58. This article has been added as a supplement to the book 《中国古代天象记录的研究与应用》 (published 2009) which has been edited by Zhuang. I have an electronic copy of this book and have read the article but could not find anything in it that refers to a 10-month calendar or the research of Chen Jiujin 陈久金. The research by Chen is published in his article 论《夏小正》是十月太阳历 that was published in 《自然科学史研究》第1 卷 第4 期 (1982), p. 305-319. Chen considers that the Xia Xiao Zheng calendar dates back to the time of Fu Xi 伏羲, whenever that might be (p. 319). It would not surprise me if Chen lost some credibility because of this.

The 10-month calendar (十月太陽曆) of the Yi 彝 minority has interesting features. The main characteristics of this calendar are (from Tian Helu 田合禄, 《中国古代历法解谜 – 周易真原》, p. 4-5; see this link for a detailed description of the calendar):

  1. A year consists of 10 months of 36 days each.
  2. Five extra days are added which are not considered part of the regular months. The three days after the Summer Solstice are called a ‘great year'(danian 大年), the two days after the Winter Solstice are called a ‘small year’ (xiaonian 小年). Every four years there is an intercalary ‘year’ (runnian 閏年) of three days.
  3. Twelve days form a jieqi 節氣, the days are named according to the animals of the Chinese zodiac. A month has three jieqi, in a year there are thirty jieqi, each with their own name.
  4. A year is divided in five seasons of 72 days each. The seasons are linked to the wuxing 五行 (木, 火, 土, 銅 copper instead of 金 metal, 水). ‘Earth season’ is the first season.

Such a calendar could easily be linked to the Stems & Branches (ganzhi 干支) system of the Chinese calendar: the Ten Stems could be used as names for the months, and the Twelve Branches can be used to name the twelve days of a jieqi. We know that the the days of the xun 旬, the 10-day week that already is mentioned in oracle bone inscriptions, are named by the Ten Stems:

Just as there were ten days to the gan cycle, which ran from jia to gui, there were ten days to the xun week, which started on a jia day and ended on a gui day. It is probable that all levels of society apprehended time in terms of the unending round of one ten-day xun sequence after another, generally naming the days by the easily remembered sequence of gan alone. There is little doubt, in any event, that the gan “stems” were more fundamental than the zhi “branches”.
David Keightley, The Ancestral Landscape, p. 39-40

The link between the ninth Stem ren 壬 and zhong 終 is made more clear on this site:

In The Inner Canon of Huangdi and other ancient books, a year always divided into five seasons, spring of jiǎ and  (Chinese: 春,其日甲乙), summer of bǐng and dīng (Chinese: 夏,其日丙丁), growing of and (traditional Chinese: 長夏,其日戊己; simplified Chinese: 长夏,其日戊己),autumn of gēng and xīn (Chinese: 秋,其日庚辛), and winter of rèn and guì (Chinese: 冬,其日壬癸).

Here ren 壬 is linked with dong 冬, ‘winter’. Zhong 終 and dong 冬 are related by sound, and in many early texts dong is a loan for (or the early form of) zhong. The link dong <—> zhong would only make sense with a ten-month calendar, because with a 12-month calendar the month ren would change every year.

Back to the text of the first line of hexagram 8. We have the sentence 終來有它. We can split it in two: zhonglai 終來 and youta 有它. Some translators divide the sentence as 終 / 來有它,  meaning that ‘有它 is coming’ but in my opinion this does not comply with the structure of the early Chinese language. The verb that follows a noun describes the action by that noun. If we use the names from the Erya then zhong 終來 could mean ‘when the zhong 終 month (= 9th month of the 10-month calendar) comes’. Or more generally said, ‘when the winter comes’.

Whether a 10-month calendar actually existed in early China has been a matter of debate among a few scholars:

In the early 1990s [Li Zhongcao 李仲操] presented a comprehensive chronology of the Western Zhou dynasty in his “The Ages of the Western Zhou” 西周年代, but his views were challenged by Wang Zhankui 王占奎 in 1996, who suggested that a year in the Western Zhou dynasty consisted of ten 36-day months, and that the terms chuji 初吉,jishengba 既生霸, jiwang 既王 and jisiba 既死霸, referred to four nine-day lunar phases of each month. In this article Li Zhongcao answers Wang’s challenge, citing bronze inscriptions as evidence.  The “Xiao Chen X gui” 小臣X簋, “Shan ding” 善鼎 and “Qian zun” 遣尊, for example, are bronzes on which the inscriptions mention not only a “twelfth month” 十二月 but also a thirteenth month” 十三月. This suggests that Wang’s theory of a ten-month year is incorrect.  On the basis of bronze inscriptions, Li also calculates that a month consisted of 30 or 29 days in the Western Zhou dynasty.
– China Archaeology and Art Digest, Volume 2, issue 1-2 (1997) (abstract of Li Zhongcao 李仲操, “A further discussion of the lunar phases and reigns of the Western Zhou dynasty” 再論西周月相和部分王年, 文博 1997:2, pp 74-79)

Wang Zhankui and Li Zhongcao have long debated the significance of the four lunar terms in Western Zhou bronze inscriptions and the calendrical system employed at that time. Wang Zhankui suggests that a unique solar calendar was used in the Western Zhou dynasty and that one year regularly consisted of ten months with 36 days and five retained (intercalary) days. with the 11th, 12th or 13th month mentioned in bronze inscriptions being the lunar leap month. Li Zhongcao believes that these terms served to fix the days of the four lunar phases, and he is thus in complete disagreement with Wang; Wang Zhankui in turn argues that Li Zhongcao has completely failed to understand his ideas.
– China Archaeology & Art Digest, Volume 3, issue 4 (2000) (abstract of Wang Zhankui 王占奎, “Conjecture regarding the meaning of chuji and other technical terms: A second reply to Li Zhongcao” 初吉等術語含義臆測:再答李仲操先生,文博, 1998:6, pp 76-79

The idea that zhong refers to the ninth month of a 10-month calendar is difficult to uphold as there is no evidence that such a calendar actually existed. Yet it is a compelling idea, considering that in the Yijing there are no references to the Twelve Branches (with a possible exception in the 5th line of hexagram 49) that are used to signify the months of a 12-month calendar, but we do find references to the Ten Stems (Judgement of hexagram 18; 5th line of hexagram 57). Most often these Stems are seen as references to days, but they might just as well refer to months as the context isn’t clear in this.

Ta 它: others, ‘outsiders’. In oracle bone inscriptions it is also an abbreviation of 它示, the ancestors that are not in the direct lineal line, the pangxi 旁系, different from the zhixi 直系, the direct lineage (甲骨文簡明詞典, p. 308; Liu Xinglong 刘兴隆, 新编甲骨文字典, p. 891; Su Wenying 苏文英, 《甲骨文“它”与“它示”再考》 in 学行堂文史集刊 2013 年第1 期, p. 1-5).

Many translators read youta 有它 as ‘there will be calamities/harm/disaster’ because on oracle bones 它 is also read as zaihai 灾害, ‘calamities, disaster’ (甲骨文簡明詞典, p. 204; 新编甲骨文字典, p. 890), and the expression wangta 亡它, ‘without calamities’ is seen in several inscriptions (see this pdf, p. 24). I could not reconcile this with the last character in the sentence, ji 吉, ‘auspicious’. Although it is perfectly acceptable to read the sentence as 有它吉, ‘for others auspicious’ or as Legge translates it, ‘other advantages’, the character ji is mostly used on itself in the Yi, as a final conclusion of the auspiciousness of the line text.

This line might refer to an offering to the ancestors, asking for their blessing of the bond with new allies. A ritual amphora, symbol of protection, is completely filled and presented to the forefathers, thereby assuring their trust and protection. Because of this other parties will join as well.

There is trust and protection in joining.
No curse from the ancestors.
There is trust and protection by filling the fou to the brim.
In the end (or in Winter?) there will be others (joining).
Auspicious.

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