Yi Jing II (The Book of Change): Chinese Semiosis

There are three different versions of Yi Jing, viz. Liangshan, Guicang and Zhouyi. The latter is the current popular version. These three versions existed at different period of history, from pre Hsia, to late Zhou dynasty more than five thousand years ago. They differ in the sequence of the hexagram, and also in the method of deriving a hexagram. They also used different basic qua (hexagram) for style expression. For instance, Liang Shan used Gen, hexagram 52 as reference point, Guisang used Kun, hexagram 2; and Zhouyi used Gian, hexagram 1 .

Yi Jing is not written by any single person, or in any single historical period or dynasty. It evolved from the initial eight hexagrams into 64 hexagrams in late Zhou dynasty. During the subsequent Spring-Autumn period and The Warring States, Confucius and his disciples edited its philosophical Guide, Xi Ci.

Semiotic is a study of signs and symbols before (even and after) language development. One needs to be acquainted with its basic tenet, and be able to read and recognise them, the trigram, hexagram etc.

In Zhou Yi (Literally meaning Change in the Zhou historical period), Gian (heaven) and Kun (earth) are its two main doors. These two hexagrams are its basic, forming part of the trinity, heaven, earth and man himself. Each hexagram is composed of two trigram stacked together. Each trigram is composed of three Yao; each Yao is either a straight line or an interrupted line. The straight line represented Yang, male, with its phallic symbol; the Yin, female, with a “river” in between the “shores”! The changes in the Yao, trigram and hexagram represent the laws of transformation and change.

64 hexagrams therefore consisted of 384 Yao. They interact and interconnect, nourish and block one another in ceaseless activities. When Yi is impoverished, it undergo changes; when appropriate changes occur, flow then become smooth; when flow smoothen, it last (it has its own duration too) … the cycle of change repeats its cycle repeatedly in dynamic and voluntary ways.

You need to remember eight “mother” (dominant) hexagrams, which represent natural phenomenon. The natural qua are: heaven, earth, thunder, wind, water, mountain, fire, lake. They are also eight “dependent” (secondary) hexagram, which represent psycho-social, interpersonal and intrapsychic changes. The dependent are qua 11, 12, 31, 32, 40, 41, 63, and 64.





2 thoughts on “Yi Jing II (The Book of Change): Chinese Semiosis

    1. wonkywizard Post author

      Kong,You like the photos in my food category, but you comment on gender in semiosis.At my age, gender is, of course, not performance!
      The ancient Chinese do not look at gender in a cartesian divide; there are ying (feminine) elements in yang (masculine), and yang in ying.Even food has ying and yang elements.They see the holy in the mundane; the insane in the saint!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

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