Annotations to the Book of Changes: 13 Juan


The Book of Changes, or Changes of Zhou, has been hailed as the first of the six Confucius classics. Yi (changes) contains three meanings: bu yi (no changes), bian yi (changes that make a difference), and jian yi (simple and easy changes). The contents are divided into two parts: Yijing and Yizhuan. Yijing consists of 64 gua (hexagrams, each composed of six horizontal lines), 384 yao (whole and broken linear symbols), along with explanations of hexagrams and linear symbols. Yizhuan, also called shi yi (Ten wings), contains a collection of commentaries, including the first and second tuan (structure, explaining each hexagram and its lines); the first and second xiang (smaller and greater appearances); the first and second xi (explanation of the relationship of the hexagrams, an overview of the Yijing in the world order and human life); wenyan (commentary on the characters, explaining the general meaning of the first two hexagrams, Qian and Kun, representing Heaven and Earth); shuogua (explanation of the hexagrams); xugua (sequence of the hexagrams, a mnemonic aid); and zagua (miscellaneous similar and opposite hexagrams). By the time of the Han dynasty (206 BC‒220 AD), Yijing and Yizhuan became separated, and during that period, The Book of Changes was largely used as a book for divination by scholars of Confucianism. Wang Bi (226‒49) of Wei during the Three Kingdoms wrote commentary and interpretation of The Book of Changes on a philosophical basis. Wang Bi’s works were followed by the annotations of Han Kangbo (332‒80) of Eastern Jin in his Zhou yi zhu jie (Annotations to Zhou Yi) and the commentaries of Kong Yingda (574‒648) of the Tang dynasty, called Zhou yi zheng yi (Interpretations of the changes of Zhou). Presented here is a printed edition of early Southern Song by the Tea and Salt Office of Liangzhedong Lu Circuit. The printing was superbly executed. Once in the collection of Chen Zhan (1753‒1817) of the Qing, it was later owned by Wang Shizhong (born 1786) and then by Tieqintongjian Library (Tower of Iron Lute and Bronze Sword) of the Qu family. It is now in the collections of National Library of China.

Last updated: June 2, 2016