The Picture that Covers Heaven and Earth

A few years ago I bought a book called Zhouyi Tu Jing Guang Shuo 周易圖經廣說, ‘Extensive Discussion of Zhouyi Pictures and its Scriptures’ by Wan Nianchun 萬年淳 (1761-1835). The book is more known by its original title Yi Mu 易拇, ‘The Great Toe of the Yi’. It contains Yi related pictures, and one of these pictures is an arrangement of the 64 hexagrams that I had not seen before. It is called Milun Tiandi Tu 彌綸天地圖, ‘The picture that covers Heaven and Earth’ (‘covers everything’).

At first the arrangement might look a bit arbitrary, but the key to the sequences in the four circles is to be found in the vertical hexagrams in the center: here we see the Xiantian Bagua 先天八卦 circle of the eight trigrams, doubled to make the Pure Hexagrams (chungua 純卦). In the first (outer) circle we have the hexagrams with Heaven and Earth either as top or base trigram, in the second circle the hexagrams with Lake and Mountain are given, but without the hexagrams which have Heaven or Earth in them (as these are covered in the first circle), the third circle is for the Fire and Water hexagrams (without hexagrams containing Heaven, Earth, Lake and Mountain), and the last inner circle has the hexagrams with Thunder and Wind (leaving out the hexagrams that contain one of the other six trigrams).

The circle is also mentioned with another title, Liushisi Gua Fang Zhong Zang Yuan tu 六十四卦方中藏圓圖, ‘The circular picture of the sixty-four hexagrams in (four) regions’. In the 彌綸天地圖 the twenty-eight hexagrams of the outer circle are linked to the twenty-eight xiu 宿. In the 六十四卦方中藏圓圖 the outer circle has hexagrams linked to the twelve Branches of the Chinese calendar.

To make the inner workings of the picture visible I have redesigned it with a color for each trigram. More information about the Yi Mu 易拇 and it’s sources see this dissertation.

Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Picture that Covers Heaven and Earth

  1. Victor Yakovlev says:

    Very important material, but somewhat stingy. For instance: “More information about the Yi Mu 易拇 and it’s sources see this dissertation.” Thank You, Sir, for the reference. I clicked just to be turned down: “You don’t have permission to access /cgi-bin/gs/ntnugsweb.cgi on this server.” Yet I appreciate what I find here already.

  2. Victor Yakovlev says:

    Thank You very much, Mr. Mesker! I received the pdf You kindly mailed to me.
    Quite similar chart I was fortunate to draw myself in 1984 or 1985, I believe. But at the time I could not get anything published almost at all. In 1998, after several attempts to print it, my “I ching” translation (И цзин «Книга Перемен» и ее канонические комментарии) appeared. I was not sure it would be really issued. Therefore, among illustrations I put a simpler version of the chart of 32 pentagrams (gua composed of five lines): 8 in the inner circle, and 24 (for the 24 seasons) on the outer one (just to see, how the pattern works). The 64 gua concentric Chart is published (see in:
    as: Яковлев В. М. Вращение Черепахи, или Что подсказывают символы «И цзина» в Тибете // XXXVI НК ОГК. М., 2006, с. 230–247 (the abbreviation means: The XXXVI scientific conference “Society and the state in China”). The title of the article is in English:
    «Rotation of a tortoise or what is implicated by symbols of the “Book of Changes”, as used in Tibet. »
    May be two years earlier I learned that the same arrangement was discovered by a physicist and technologist, now the late O. A. Handzhan. He shaped it in a square or a rhombus form. I asked him, how he managed to build it. He said he composed a computer program, what I doubt. I told him about my discovery and promised to mention him, when I am lucky to publish my article. He said this was unnecessary. But I am delighted he found it! He was really a bright researcher. I listened to one of his, I think, last presentations.
    I have an idea of how to interpret the second outer circle of twenty gua. Hope we’ll discuss it some time.

  3. Vladimir Patrakov says:

    It is in fact a very important picture, which I call geopolitical mandala. Applying the doctrine of the archetypes of the collective unconscious of Jung and the measurement of national cultures Hofstede to hexagrams of the I Ching, I submitted this picture as the archetypes of the world’s major centers. So, Qián – is the United States, Kun – China, Li – Europe, Gen – Japan, Zhen – Russia, Dui – Brazil. Kan and Xun – west and east Pacific.
    See my book “Geopolitics of the Book of Changes”, Moscow – Berlin, DirektMedia, 2015 (in Russian)
    An evaluation version can be downloaded here

    • I can’t read Russian so I can’t comment on it. How did you use the Milun Tiandi Tu? Can you send me the pages from your book that discuss this picture?

      • Vladimir Patrakov says:

        Dear Mr. Mesker! I send you the book. On page 165-166 you will find this image. But it turned 135 degrees to the right. Hexagrams 1 – 58 – 30 – 51 – 57 – 29 – 52 – 2 form a horizontal line. They correspond to the United States – Brazil – Europe – Russia – East Pacific – West Pacific – Japan – China. Double hexagrams interacting generate the rest of the hexagrams above and below the horizontal line. Thus hexagrams 1 and 2 generate hexagrams 11 and 12, 30 and 51 hexagrams generate 21 and 55, etc.
        I am writing a new book, which will examine in more detail The Picture that Covers Heaven and Earth as a geopolitical mandala.

        Sincerely, Vladimir Patrakov, philosopher.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.