Divinations by Astrological and Meteorological Phenomena, Issued by Imperial Order


Shown here is Yu zhi tian wen xiang zhan: cun shi liu juan (Divinations by astrological and meteorological phenomena, issued by imperial order), by an unnamed author. The title is on the cover of each juan, and the juan title is given at the lower right. This copy, lacking Juan 2−4 and 17−20, has 16 remaining juan in 13 volumes. The preface avoids the taboo word hong by omitting the last stroke of the character, but it does not do so in the cases of the taboo words xuan and ye. This manuscript copy has color illustrations, with purple lines separating columns on the pages, a technique rarely seen in or outside of China. There are several seal impressions, including Shan shi jia cang (Shan family collection), which is square-shaped, with the characters in white; Houqing zhen shang (Treasure of Houqing), also square-shaped, with the characters in red; Qincheng Shan shi Conggui Shuwu shou cang shu hua zhi yin (Seal of the painting and calligraphy collection of Conggui Shuwu, Shan family of Qincheng), rectangular-shaped, with the characters in red; and Guo li zhong yang tu shu guan cang shu (National Central Library Collection), square-shaped with the characters in red. The main content consists of prognostications using astronomical data. The work quotes various earlier astrological texts, including one by Han astrologer Jing Fan (77−37 BC), Jin shu (Book of Jin), Sui zhi (Book of Sui), Song zhi (Book of Song), Yisi zhan (Yisi-year divination), Tian wen zong zhan (General heavenly divinations), Tian wen lu (Astrological records), Tian wen ji (History of astrology), Qian xiang xin shu (New work on cosmological patterns), Jingzhou zhan (Jingzhou astrology), Luo shu (River Luo document), He tu mi wei (Mystery of river diagram), He tu di lan xi (Emperor gazing at river chart with delight), and Fu ying tu (Diagrams of omens). It also details past meteorological phenomena, such as occurrences of thunder, quoting sources as evidence and for reflection. The events discussed took place in the second year of the Daxing reign of Jin, in 319; in the 20th year of the first Sui emperor, in 600; in the 14th year of the Tianbao reign of Tang emperor Xuanzong, in 755; and in the second year of Tianfu of the Tang emperor Zhaozong, in 902. Several beautifully executed colored illustrations of cloudy atmospheres and shapes complement the texts. At the beginning of each juan is a summary and table of contents, with an illustration on the left and the text on the right page. Juan 1 discusses celestial anomalies. Juan 5 contains miscellaneous qi in the solar neighborhood. Juan 6 discusses the cloudy atmosphere in the solar neighborhood; Juan 7 is on lunar auspices and calamities; Juan 8 on the lunar halo, and Juan 9 on miscellaneous matters relating to atmosphere in the lunar neighborhood. Juan 10 discusses rainbows, five-star divination, comets, other visible stars near the moon, and rainbows passing through the sun. Juan 11 is about the cloudy atmosphere flowing in and out of the Three Enclosures. Juan 12 is about the cloudy atmosphere flowing in and out of the Northeastern Mansion. Juan 13 is on the cloudy atmosphere flowing in and out of the Southwestern Mansion. Juan 14 lists the abnormalities of miscellaneous stars. Juan 15 is about fortune-telling based on meteorological changes. Juan 16 focuses on heavenly prognostications for the military. The complete text of the work is shown here.

Last updated: April 14, 2016