Hexagram 7, line 5

田有禽.利執言.無咎.長子帥師.弟子輿尸.貞凶.

Tian 田: ‘to hunt’.

You qin 有禽: ‘there is a catch’.

These first three characters probably deal with the royal hunt, a theme which is often mentioned in the oracle bone inscriptions, and in these inscriptions the phrase tian qin 田禽, ‘at the hunt there will be a catch’ is mentioned frequently. In his influential paper Rising from Blood-Stained Fields: Royal Hunting and State Formation in Shang Dynasty China, Magnus Fiskesjö talks in detail about the meaning and usage of these two characters: Continue reading

Hexagram 7, line 4

師左次.無咎.

Zuo 左: in its ordinary meaning ‘the left side’, but already on oracle bones used as a loan for zuo 佐, ‘to assist, to help’.  and you 佑, ‘to assist, to protect’. The 漢語大詞典 says, ‘用兵則居次方位': ‘in military operations it is the second position’. When you station an army ‘at the left’ you do not want it to attack directly, you only want it to support and protect the attacking division.

Ci 次: to station troops (軍隊駐扎).

The army is stationed at the left (the assisting/protecting side).
No curse from the ancestors.

Hexagram 7, line 3

師或輿尸.凶.

Huo 或, ‘there is’. See also hexagram 1, line 4. The regular meanings of huo are ‘perhaps’ and ‘someone’. But in old texts it is often used with the meaning of you 又/有, ‘there is, to have’. That this is plausible is seen in the Chujian text of hexagram 58, line 1 and hexagram 17, line 1: the received text has huo while the Chujian text has you 又, a common loan for you 有, ‘there is’.

Yu 輿, ‘to carry by cart’. But also ‘many people’ (眾, 多). By extension ‘a cartload':

『吾力足以舉百鈞』, 而不足以舉一羽; 『明足以察秋毫之末』, 而不見輿薪…
My strength is sufficient to lift three thousand catties, but it is not sufficient to lift one feather; my eyesight is sharp enough to examine the point of an autumn hair, but I do not see a waggon-load of firewood…

金重於羽者, 豈謂一鉤金與一輿羽之謂哉?
Gold is heavier than feathers; but does that saying have reference, on the one hand, to a single clasp of gold, and, on the other, to a waggon-load of feathers?
(Mengzi 孟子, tr. James Legge)

鼓之以道德,征之以仁義,輿尸、血刃,皆所不為也.
They urged people on with the Dao and De, and tamed them with ren and yi. Cartloads of corpses and bloodstained knives—these were not of their doing.
(Yuan and Qian 淵騫, tr. Jeffrey S. Bullock)

Shi 尸, ‘corpses, dead bodies’.

The army has cartloads of corpses. Inauspicious.

 

Hexagram 7, line 2

在師中.吉.無咎.王三錫命.

Ximing 錫命: Appointments granted by the king.

Here the king three times grants an appointment. In the Zhouli 周禮 there are nine appointments mentioned, the jiuming 九命, each giving greater awards:

[The jiuming 九命 are] an array of official ranks ascribed to ancient times and often revived by subsequent Chou dynasties, in which the 9th honor (i.e., rank 9) was highest and the first honor was lowest.
(C. Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles In Imperial China, p. 176)

(…) The nine appointments were 受職 to receive official duties, 受服 to receive uniform, 受位 to receive rank, 受器 to receive equipments, 賜則 to bestow regulations,賜官 to bestow official title, 賜國 to bestow fief, 作牧 to be shepherd, and 作伯 to be leader.
(David Y. Hu, Chinese-English Dictionary of Chinese Historical Terminology; p. 469)

 The translations that Hu provides for each appointment are somewhat simplistic, for instance zuomu 作牧 does not mean that you are just a shepherd, you were governor of a state and were allowed to go on punitive expeditions without the king’s consent – ‘to be shepherd’ is merely a metaphor for this task.

Amid the army. Auspicious. There is no blame from the ancestors. Three times the king awards an imperial appointment.

Hexagram 7, line 1

師出以律.否臧凶.

Shi 師: army, armed forces.

Chu 出: to go out, set forth

 律: statutes, regulations; pitch-pipes.

In the field of Yi translators it isn’t decided whether  should mean ‘law, regulations, statutes’ or whether it should have the meaning of ‘pitch-pipes’. Both options are plausible within the context of the line text. The choice between both meanings is also found in the study of  in oracle bone inscriptions. There is a sample of an inscription in which shi, ‘army’ is linked with  just as in line 1 of hexagram 7 (click image to enlarge): Continue reading

Hexagram 7, Judgement

貞丈人吉. 無咎.

Zhangren 丈人: in early times a respectful form of address for elder people (古時對老人的尊稱).

There is difference between the pattern X貞吉 (like in the Judgement of hexagram 2) and 貞X吉 (as in the Judgement of hexagram 7): I believe X貞吉 is a divination about subject X, where 貞X吉 is a divination for subject X. See for pattern 貞…人吉 also Hexagram 32, line 5 (貞婦人吉, 夫子凶) and Judgement of hexagram  47 (貞大人吉).

Jiu 咎:
The Shuowen says that 咎 means 災, ‘disaster’. Duan Yucai 段玉裁 says in his 說文解字注, ‘Commentary to the Shuowen Explanation of Characters’,

災當是本作烖。天火曰災。引伸之凡失意自天而至曰災。
It is thought that 災 originally was written as 烖, ‘calamities from Heaven, as floods, famines, pestilence, etc.’ (Unihan database HM). Fire of natural origin is called 災. By extension 災 means ‘disappointment from Heaven coming (to you) ‘.

See also hexagram 1, line 3.

Divination for elder people: auspicious.
There is no curse from Heaven (or the ancestors).

Hexagram 6, line 5 & 6

line 5

訟元吉.

Disputing. Greatly auspicious.


line 6

或錫之鞶帶.終朝三褫之.

Huo 或: ‘there is’, see H1-4

Xi 錫: ‘to grant, to bestow’ (賜予)

Pan 鞶: a large waistband, belt, or girdle made of leather, used by the gentry. Often decorated with jade ornaments.

Dai 帶: waistband, belt, sash or girdle. James C.H. Hsu says in his The Written Word in Ancient China (Vol I, p. 435-436): Continue reading

The oldest source for the coin method

20140928_100256During the last meeting of the Dutch Yijing group there was confusion about the assignment of the numbers 2 (yin) and 3 (yang) to the sides of Chinese coins. Old Chinese coins have four Chinese characters on one side and the other side is blank or has two Mongolian characters. When I looked for Chinese sources on this I found that there isn’t much agreement on the designation of the numbers, one of my books says that the side with Chinese characters is yang (see picture), and in this lecture Shao Weihua seems to follow the same designation, but there are websites that say otherwise. Curious about the origin of the coin method and wanting to know how the Chinese people in the early times did it I did some digging. Continue reading

Hexagram 6, line 4

不克訟. 復即命渝.安貞: 吉.

不克訟: see line 2.

Fu 復: return

Jiming 即命: follow the royal decrees (遵從王命)

Yu 渝: In its ordinary meaning it means ‘change’, but I could not make this fit the pattern of the sentence and its context. This character also occurs at 16-6 and 17-1, and at these occurrences the MWD text uses yu 諭, ‘to tell, inform, explain, notify, instruct’ (from a superior to an inferior, most notably an imperial decree from the emperor to his subordinates – 舊指上對下的文告或指示。亦特指皇帝的詔令; 漢語大詞典, Vol. 11, p. 345). This fits the context of the line text.

安貞: 吉: see also hexagram 2.

At line two the subject loses the dispute and flees without following the orders of the king, thereby putting a death sentence on the people from his district. At line four he complies and by doing so saves the people from his district.

Cannot win the dispute. Returns with the accepted imperial decree and informs his subordinates.
Divination about peace: auspicious.

Hexagram 6, line 3

食舊德, 貞厲 終吉, 或從王事, 无成.

Shi 食: to ‘eat it’ – to speak about it but not putting it into practice (謂言已出而反吞之,不實行).

Jiude 舊德: the virtues and good deeds of the former kings and ancestors.

食舊德 therefore means to talk about the virtues of the ancestors but not putting them into practice. Without the proper conduct based on the teachings of the ancient ones the divination (zhen 貞) will be dangerous (li 厲). The outcome will be auspicious (ji 吉), but in royal assignments there will be no accomplishments (see also hexagram 2, line 3), as you do not have the full support of the forefathers .

Talking about old virtues but not practising them.
To divine will be dangerous.
In the end auspicious.
There is participation in royal affairs,
But no accomplishments.