Cover of Stalk Divination

Stalk Divination

A Newly Discovered Alternative to the I Ching

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Oxford University Press

2017

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978-0-19-064846-6

0-19-064846-5

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This book presents for the first time a full translation and analysis of a newly discovered bamboo divination manual from the fourth century BCE China, called the Stalk Divination Method (Shifa). It was used as an alternative to the better-known Zhouyi (popularly known as the I-Ching). The Shifa manual presents a competing method of interpreting the trigrams, the most basic elements of the distinctive sixty-four hexagrams in the Zhouyi. This newly discovered method looks at the combination of four trigrams as a fluid, changeable pattern or unit reflective of different circumstances in an elite man's life. Unlike the Zhouyi, this new manual provides case studies that explain how to read the trigram patterns for different topics. This method is unprecedented in early China and has left no trace in later Chinese divination traditions. Shifa must be understood then as a competing voice in the centuries before the Zhouyi became the hegemonic standard. The authors of this book have translated this new text and "cracked the code" of its logic. This new divination will change our understanding of Chinese divination and bring new light to Zhouyi studies.

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