Master Yichuan’s Commentary on "The Book of Changes," with Punctuation and Notes on Phonetics


Yichuan xiang sheng dian jiao fu yin Zhou yi (Master Yichuan’s commentary on “The Book of Changes,” with punctuation and notes on phonetics) was attributed to Cheng Yi of the Northern Song dynasty. Cheng Yi (1033‒1107), courtesy name Zhengshu, a native of Yichuan (in present-day Luoyang, Henan), was mostly known as Master Yichuan. He and his elder brother Cheng Hao (1032‒85), called the two Chengs, were the founders of the Luoyang school of Song Neo-Confucianism. The Book of Changes has been hailed as the earliest of the great Confucian classics. During the Southern Song (1127‒1279) the Jianyang area (in present-day Fujian) was the most important center of publishing. In order to meet the needs of civil service examinations and general demands of the population, publishers from this region issued a number of popular editions of classical materials. In addition to the texts, they often added annotations, notes on phonetics, illustrations, and tables, and provided similar words and phrases, words and phrases of similar meanings that appeared in other sections, and cross references to other works. In this work punctuation marks and notes on phonetics added by Lu Deming of the Tang dynasty appear in the top margins. These enhancements were intended to make it easier for the readers to understand the texts. They also helped the publishers to promote sales. At the end of this edition dating from 1279 is a four-line engraved trademark label that reads: “Presented here is the print copy of the original text, in large characters, with punctuation and notations by Master Yichuan and notes on phonetics by Lu Deming, with illustrations in refined engraving, without any errors, for the accurate examination by distinguished men.” Publishers often added phrases, such as “with punctuation and notations by Master Yichuan” for the purpose of elevating the perceived quality of a book. The work avoided using the taboo words, such as xuan, hong, and yin, by omitting the last strokes of these characters. However, the avoidance in the book was not strictly observed. The punctuation marks are in red. This copy has numerous impressions of the seals of Ming and Qing book collectors, such as: “Ni shi Rujing zhi zhang” (The seal of Ni Rujing), a rectangular seal with characters in red; “Xiaoquan Jushi” (Retired Gentleman at the Brook), the style name of Ming poet Ge Zhi, a square seal with characters in white; “Mingshantang lan shu yin ji” (Seal of Mingshantang books and paintings), a rectangle with characters in white; “Qinpu shou cang” (Collection of Qinpu), the style name of collector Zhang Naixiong, a rectangle with characters in red; and many others. The complete text in two volumes is presented here, but this edition does not include a table of contents or prefaces.

Last updated: May 31, 2017