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Huang Di Nei Jing Su WenNature, Knowledge, Imagery in an Ancient Chinese Medical Text$

Paul Unschuld

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520233225

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520233225.001.0001

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(p.385) Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (p.386)

(p.385) Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (p.386)

Source:
Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen
Author(s):

Zheng Jinsheng

Hermann Tessenow

Publisher:
University of California Press

(p.387) Contents

list of tables and diagrams / 391

  1. 1. GENERAL REMARKS

    1. 1.1. The Basic Contents of the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Su wen / 393

    2. 1.2. Summary of the Seven Discourses on the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Su wen / 394

    3. 1.3. Stems and Branches and the “Arrangement of Years” / 397

  2. 2. THE FIVE PERIODS

    1. 2.1. The Five Periods, the Five Agents, and the Ten Stems / 399

    2. 2.2. The Annual Period / 408

    3. 2.3. The Three Arrangements / 409

    4. 2.4. Host Periods, Visitor Periods, and the Five Steps / 410

    5. 2.5. The Determination of the Host Periods / 412

    6. 2.6. The Determination of the Visitor Periods / 413

  3. 3. THE SIX QI

    1. 3.1. The Yin and Yang Associations of the Six Qi / 414

    2. 3.2. The Six Qi and the Five Agents, Ruling Fire, and Minister Fire / 416

    3. 3.3. The Host Qi and the Six Steps / 417

    4. (p.388) 3.4. The Visitor Qi / 420

    5. 3.5. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi / 421

    6. 3.6. The Qi Controlling Heaven and the Qi at the Fountain / 424

      1. 3.6.1. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules the Climate in the First Half of a Year / 424

      2. 3.6.2. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules an Entire Year / 425

      3. 3.6.3. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules the Third among the Six Visitor Qi / 426

      4. 3.6.4. The Intervening Qi / 426

      5. 3.6.5. The Issue of Determining the Position of the Six Qi Relative to an Observer (the Meaning of “Left” and “Right,” “North” and “South”) / 430

    7. 3.7. The Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and Climatic Changes / 433

  4. 4. THE FIVE PERIODS, THE SIX QI, AND THE CLIMATIC CHANGES

    1. 4.1. The Table of the Six Qi Controlling Heaven / 438

      1. 4.1.1. The Table of Periods / 438

      2. 4.1.2. The Table of Qi / 440

    2. 4.2. The Table of the Annual Arrangements of the Five Periods and Six Qi / 440

  5. 5. THEORETICAL ISSUES FROM THE SU WEN DOCTRINE OF THE FIVE PERIODS AND SIX QI

    1. 5.1. The Qi Controlling Heaven “Comes Down,” the Qi at the Fountain “Joins” from Below / 441

    2. 5.2. Domination and Revenge / 444

      1. 5.2.1. Domination and Revenge in Relation to the Annual Period / 444

      2. 5.2.2. The Onset of Revenge among Periods / 449

      3. 5.2.3. Domination and Revenge among the Six Visitor Qi / 450

      4. 5.2.4. The Times of Domination and Revenge among the Six Qi / 452

      5. 5.2.5. The Conclusion of Domination and Revenge among the Six Qi / 454

      6. 5.2.6. Domination without Revenge among Visitor and Host / 455

      7. 5.2.7. Domination Contrary to Normal / 456

      8. 5.2.8. Therapeutic Patterns of Domination and Revenge / 457

    3. 5.3. Oppression and Effusion / 459

    4. 5.4. The Cumulative Effect of Period and Qi / 462

      1. 5.4.1. Heavenly Complements / 462

      2. 5.4.2. The Year Meets / 464

      3. 5.4.3. [Constellations] Identical to Heavenly Complements [Constellations] / 466

      4. 5.4.4. [Constellations] Identical to the Year Meets [Constellations] / 467

      5. (p.389) 5.4.5. Taiyi Heavenly Complements [Constellations] / 469

      6. 5.4.6. Possible Climatic Implications / 469

    5. 5.5. Proper, Upper, and Pan Tones / 471

    6. 5.6. Years of Balanced Climate / 473

  6. 6. FURTHER CONCEPTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE DOCTRINE OF THE FIVE PERIODS AND SIX QI IN THE SU WEN

    1. 6.1. Generation Numbers and Completion Numbers / 476

    2. 6.2. Mansions of Catastrophe / 479

    3. 6.3. Southern Policies and Northern Policies / 482

    4. 6.4. Qi Interaction / 484

    5. 6.5. Images / 485

  7. NOTES / 489 (p.390)

(p.391) Tables and Diagrams

Tables

  1. 1. The Yin-Yang Association of the Ten Celestial Stems / 398

  2. 2. The Yin-Yang Association of the Earth Branches / 399

  3. 3. The Association of the Celestial Stems with the Five Agents / 400

  4. 4. The Association of the Ten Stems with the Periods (Linear) / 401

  5. 5. The Five Tones Representing Annual Periods / 408

  6. 6. The Association of the Earth Branches with the Five Agents (Linear) / 421

  7. 7. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi (Linear) / 423

  8. 8. The Table of Periods / 439

  9. 9. The Table of Qi / 441

  10. 10. The Table of the Annual Arrangements of the Five Periods and Six Qi / 442

  11. 11. The Effusion of an Oppressed Period / 461

  12. 12. “Heavenly Complements” / 464

  13. 13. “The Year Meets” Years / 465

  14. 14. Years of “Identical to Heavenly Complements” [Constellations] / 467

  15. 15. Years of “Identical to the Year Meets” [Constellations] / 468

(p.392) Diagrams

  1. 1. The Association of the Ten Stems with the Periods (Circular) / 402

  2. 2. The Cardinal Points, the Stellar Divisions, and the Celestial Stems / 403

  3. 3. Facsimile Reproduction of a Han Dynasty Cosmic Board of ca. 165 B.C. / 404

  4. 4. Extract from the Earth Plate of a Han Dynasty Cosmic Board / 404

  5. 5. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. First Alternative. / 406

  6. 6. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. Second Alternative. / 406

  7. 7. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. Third Alternative. / 407

  8. 8. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. First Alternative, Commentary Version. / 407

  9. 9. The Sequence of the “Major” and “Minor” Tones / 411

  10. 10. The Length of the Six Steps in the Course of a Year / 419

  11. 11. The Association of the Earth Branches with the Five Agents and the Twelve Months (Circular) / 422

  12. 12. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi (Circular) / 424

  13. 13. The Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and the Intervening Qi / 427

  14. 14. The Six Constellations of Associations of Annual Branches with the Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, the Intervening Qi, and the Six Steps of a Year / 428

  15. 15. The Cardinal Points / 432

  16. 16. A Three-Dimensional Model of the Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and the Annual Period / 437

  17. 17. The [Yellow] River Chart (He tu) / 478

  18. 18. The Nine Mansions / 481

  19. 19. The Luo shu / 482

(p.393) 1. General Remarks

1.1. The Basic Contents of the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Su Wen

The doctrine of the five periods (wu yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and six qi (liu qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) is outlined in the Su wen in seven “comprehensive discourses” (da lun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).1 These are treatises 66 through 74 (not counting the two apocryphal treatises 72 and 73), comprising about one-third of the entire text of the Su wen. The origin of the notions outlined in these treatises is unclear; no parallel literary sources outside the Su wen are known that could be used to date the early development of these thoughts. For the time being, all that can be said is that treatises 66 through 74 form a section of the Su wen that is conceptually rather separate from the remaining two-thirds of the text. That the “seven comprehensive discourses” include commentaries by Wang Bing provides a date ante quem for their compilation, namely, the eighth century. From a statement in the preface to his Su wen edition it must be concluded that this section was added to the text by Wang Bing himself.

The doctrine of the five periods and six qi explains relationships ancient Chinese observers assumed to exist between climate and a broad range of natural phenomena, including human health and illness. Apparently the concepts of the five periods and of the six qi were introduced to distinguish among and specify climatic characteristics of well-defined time periods. By drawing on notions of a cyclical recurrence of calendrical terms and by adopting the doctrines of yin-yang and of the five agents, an attempt was made to order what may at first glance appear to be disorder, namely, the occurrence of rain and wind, dryness, cold, and heat in the course of the four seasons and over the years.

(p.394) Knowledge of a distinct regularity uncovered in frequent climatic changes not only permitted an understanding of the generation, growth, maturity, and death of numerous phenomena in nature in general; even more important, it enabled man to integrate himself into eternal laws governing all existence. Just as subordination to the laws specified by a ruler in society guaranteed survival and well-being, obedience to the laws set by an unseen, metaphysical force meant life rather than early death. Just as opposition to social laws results in punishment, those who act against the laws of nature are bound to succumb.

Not surprisingly, in many of its statements, the doctrine of the five periods and six qi reads like a political metaphor, its terminology borrowed from the realm of social interactions. For example, treatise 68 explicitly refers to the conservative political tendency of the entire doctrine of the five periods and six qi by pointing out that “opposition,” ni Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, is the basis of “change,” bian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and that “change” is the basis of “illness,” bing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

To describe and examine long-term cycles of recurring climatic phenomena, ancient Chinese naturalists combined two series of symbols employed for counting calendrical terms, the ten celestial stems (tian gan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and the twelve earth branches (di zhi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), with the yin-yang doctrine and the doctrine of the five agents. They associated an extended yin-yang doctrine of three yin and three yang categories of all being with the twelve earth branches, thereby creating a sequence of six [climatic] qi, and they associated the doctrine of the five agents with the ten celestial stems, creating a sequence of five periodically recurring terms of characteristic nature, that is, the five periods. By associating each year with a specific combination of celestial stems and earth branches (which was a common method of sequencing years since the Later Han dynasty), each year, in turn, was linked in a specific way to the climatic characteristics associated with the six qi and the five agents.

Given that, over a cycle of sixty years, each year is associated with a different combination of stems and branches, it is within this span of sixty years that all possible climatic constellations may occur.

1.2. Summary of the Seven Discourses on the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Su Wen

A close reading of the seven discourses on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi in the Su wen suggests that they were not written by a single hand or at one time and that their contents were put together from originally separate and occasionally irreconcilable doctrines and traditions. Nevertheless, the doctrines presented in the seven comprehensive discourses can be conceived of as one more or less systematic whole. However, we prefer to present the doctrine in its many more or less separate building blocks, thereby taking (p.395) into account the different historical layers and various conceptual breaks that found entrance into the Su wen.

The contents of the seven comprehensive discourses proceed from the general to the specific, from the superficial to the deep, from shorter explications to lengthy lists of data and tables, and from theory to an application of therapy patterns. Treatises 66 through 68 are devoted to an explication of fundamental concepts; treatises 69 through 74 (excluding 72 and 73) offer mostly tables to clarify the application of these concepts. Each of the seven discourses has its particular emphasis. Their contents may be surveyed as follows.

Treatise 66: The “Comprehensive Discourse on Arrangements of the Original [Qi] of Heaven” is the first of the seven treatises on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi in the Su wen. Structured as a dialogue between Huang Di and Gui Yuqu, it includes a basic outline of the five periods, the five qi and six qi, and their relationships, as well as a correlation of qi with the sixty-year cycle. Further, it elucidates how to match the five pairings of the ten stems with the five periods and the six pairings of the twelve branches with the six qi and how these correspond to the three yin and the three yang categories of all existence.

Treatise 67: The “Comprehensive Discourse on the Passage of the Five Periods” and the following five discourses are structured as dialogues between Huang Di and Qi Bo. Apparently this treatise was written as an explanation of the preceding treatise.

Huang Di reviews once more the information given to him by Gui Yuqu on the correspondences of the ten stems with the five periods and on the correspondences of the twelve branches with the six qi, and he wonders about these correspondences, which “do not constitute pairings of yin and yang,” that is, which are not the normal correspondences. In a response of fundamental importance, Qi Bo distinguishes between a yin-yang categorization of man and a yin-yang categorization of heaven and earth. In an attempt to explain these correspondences, he relies on a text named Tai shi tian yuanAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, which deals with five differently colored qi passing through heaven (see below, p. 401 f).

In addition, Qi Bo touches on the notions of “upper” and “lower” [halves] of a year, and, in terms of “left” and “right,” he lists different positions of the six qi in the upper and the lower half of a year. From this list, the whole sequence of the six so-called visitor qi can be deduced, and it provides a basis for graphic illustrations of the regular passage of the six qi over the years.

The major part of the second half of treatise 67 is devoted to a detailed elucidation of correspondences between five climatic qi, that is, wind, heat, dampness, dryness, and cold, on the one hand, and a series of natural facts, on the other. The theoretical basis for these correspondences is the doctrine of the five agents.

(p.396) Treatise 68: The “Comprehensive Discourse on the Subtle Significance of the Six [Qi]” focuses its discussion on the “Way of Heaven,” that is, on the six qi. It refers to the cyclical procession of and correspondences among six climatic qi, that is, fire, dryness, cold, wind, heat, and dampness, and the yin and yang terms of a year, and it details, for the first time, the sequence of the six seasonal qi (i.e., the so-called host qi). It introduces notions such as “the year meets” (sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “heavenly complements” (tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). Furthermore, it speaks of excessive dynamics resulting in harm, of “oppression” and “revenge,” of “virtue” (de Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “transformation” (hua Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), and of “realization” (yong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “change” (bian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). The contents of this treatise are rather heterogenic; they appear like a first reference to many important issues that are discussed in more detail later on. Basically, though, this treatise opens a discourse on the six qi.

Treatise 69: The “Comprehensive Discourse on Changes [Resulting from] Qi Interaction” discusses the climate of each year and then of the five seasons from the perspective of the five periods. As the qi associated with these periods may be excessive or inadequate, different manifestations of natural phenomena occur. It is here that, for the first time in the seven comprehensive discourses on the five periods and six qi, long lists of specific states of illness are associated with each constellation of excessive or inadequate realization of the qi associated with the five periods. No directives are specified, though, as to how to avoid or treat such illnesses.

Further on, treatise 69 enumerates “virtues” (de Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “transformations” (hua Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), “policies” (zhi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “orders” (ling Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), “catastrophes” (zai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), and “changes” (bian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) associated with each of the five qi, as well as the reflection of all these phenomena in the appearance of the stars in heaven.

The major political message conveyed is that weakness of a given party invites intrusion and domination by another party. After a while, though, depending on the strength of the weakened party, a third party will take revenge and repel the intruder (see below, 5.2) Also, more explicitly than in any of the other discourses, this treatise is characterized by attempts to understand whether catastrophes in general and human illness in particular are associated with the irregular in nature only, and if this is not the case, why this is so.

Treatise 70: In its initial section, the “Comprehensive Discourse on the Five Regular Policies” offers a detailed listing of natural phenomena corresponding to the presence of excessive and inadequate qi in a given year, as associated with the excessive or inadequate realization of the five periods. In addition, it introduces a new notion, “years with balanced qi” (ping qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). Excessive qi, inadequate qi, and balanced qi represent the “three arrangements of the five periods.”

The second section introduces the six qi “controlling heaven” (si tian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “at the fountain” (zai quan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), outlines their effects on human health and on the climate, and specifies the effects of these qi on the generation (p.397) and growth to maturity of the various types of living beings, that is, hairy, feathered, armored, naked, and scaly creatures. The concluding section is the first discussion of basic therapeutic principles; these principles, though, bear no direct relationship to the doctrine of the five periods and six qi.

Treatise 71: The “Comprehensive Discourse on the Policies and Arrangements of the Six Originals” is the longest of the seven discourses on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi; it offers the most substantial information on the effects of the five periods and six qi on a number of natural phenomena, including human health. Treatise 71 is the first to combine data on the changing periods and climatic qi of each consecutive year and to provide detailed advice for the treatment of the corresponding illnesses. The contents of this treatise are structured like two extensive tables that repeat almost identical categories of data under the headings of the different years. The first of these “tables” outlines, for each year in a complete cycle of sixty years, the “policies” of the qi associated with that year. Within these years, a listing of the sequence of the five host and visitor periods as well as of the activities of six seasonal qi provides information on the climatic characteristics of the individual seasons.

New concepts introduced in this treatise include “oppression” (yu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) of qi and “outbreak” (fa Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) when oppression has reached an apex, as well as the “twelve [types of] change” (shi er bian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), that is, specific climates and illnesses brought forth by the six qi. Also, this treatise offers additional discussions of the concepts “heavenly complements” (tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), “identical to heavenly complements” (tong tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), and “identical to the year meets” (tong sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). Thus it contains the most complete version of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi.

Treatise 74: The “Comprehensive Discourse on the Essentials of the Most Reliable” is the second longest of the seven comprehensive discourses. Its systematic, tabular structure is the same as that of treatise 71. The focus of this treatise is, first, the impact of a dominant or excessive presence of any of the six qi in the first or second half of a year on human illness and some other natural phenomena and, second, the diagnosis and treatment of illness resulting from these qi. The therapeutic principles outlined suggest resorting to specific flavors and qi (i.e., warmth, coolness, cold, and heat) of pharmaceutical substances. No specific drugs are mentioned. Additional concepts discussed are “domination” (sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) and “revenge” (fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), “domination contrary [to normal]” (fan sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), “visitor domination” (ke sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), and “host domination” (zhu sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

1.3. Stems and Branches and the “Arrangement of Years”

The aim of the discourses on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi is to help readers to understand the cyclical nature of climatic changes, as well (p.398)

Table 1. The Yin-Yang Association of the Ten Celestial Stems

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

jia

yi

bing

ding

wu

ji

geng

xin

ren

gui

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

as to enable them to predict and prepare for changes resulting in abnormal climatic conditions. The rationale of such predictions is that even seemingly abnormal climatic conditions are part of a regular recurrence of certain constellations when specific qualities of periods and qi may add up to excessive preponderances or weaknesses of these qualities.

The first step is to choose a method that allows one to calculate seasonal or annual constellations and to arrive at their characteristic qualities. As the Su wen states:

First determine the [setup of a] year, then the numbers of the movement of the period [qi, that is,] metal, wood, water, fire, and soil, and the transformations resulting from the coming down, and assuming control, of cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness, wind, and fire, then it is possible to perceive the Way of heaven, and [as a consequence] to adjust the qi of people.2

In ancient China, the so-called stems and branches were originally used to record months, days, and hours, later also to record years.3 The ten celestial stems (tian gan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) are jia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, bing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ding Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, geng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ren Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.4 The entire sequence is categorized as yang.

The twelve earth branches (di zhi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) are zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, shen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, xu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.5 The entire sequence is categorized as yin.

A combination of one stem and one branch results in one of sixty possible combinations signifying the sequence of the years and associating each year with specific climatic characteristics. That is, within a recurring cycle of sixty years, each year is given its particular label by a combination of one celestial stem and one earth branch. The celestial stems refer to a given year's “period,” that is, its “annual period” (sui yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen); the earth branches refer to a given year's qi, that is, its “annual qi” (sui qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

Each cycle of sixty years starts from a combination of stem jia with branch zi; the first year in a cycle of sixty years is designated as jia zi year. As the Su wen states:

  • The qi of heaven starts with jia;
  • the qi of the earth starts with zi.
  • The combination of jia and zi is called “annual setup.”
  • Carefully observe this time [of annual setup].
  • [Then you] are able to assign the qi of each [year] a time period.6
(p.399)

Table 2. The Yin-Yang Association of the Earth Branches

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

zi

chou

yin

mao

chen

si

wu

wei

shen

you

xu

hai

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

The second year is listed as yi chou, the third as bing yin, the fourth as ding mao, and so on, through gui you. The eleventh year through the twentieth year are listed as jia xu, yi hai, bing zi, and so on, through gui wei. And so forth.

The listing of the years along the dual sequences of stems and branches is not simply an enumeration. Because the stems and branches themselves are categorized as yin and yang (with stems and branches carrying uneven numbers being yang and those carrying even numbers being yin; yang stems can be combined only with yang branches, and yin stems can be associated only with yin branches) and because the stem and branch combinations associated with each year constitute pairings of different yin-yang categories with the five agents, they refer to a very specific qualitative meaning. That is, once the stem and branch designation of a given year is known, its climatic characteristics can be calculated through the associations of the respective stem and branch with the five periods and six qi. (See tables 1 and 2.)

2. The Five Periods

2.1. The Five Periods, the Five Agents, and the Ten Stems

“Five periods,” wu yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, is a comprehensive designation referring to the nature or quality of periodically recurring phenomena, including qi, associated with the “five agents” (wu xing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), metal, wood, water, fire, and soil, as they may characterize consecutive years or the five seasons in the course of one year. That is, one “period” may refer to one entire year or to one of the five seasons.

The five periods in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi are closely related to the five agents in the doctrine of the five agents, and the seven comprehensive discourses of the Su wen go to great lengths to introduce concepts of the doctrine of the five agents in the context of the passage of the five periods. For example:

  • The east generates wind.
  • Wind generates wood.
  • Wood generates sour [flavor].
  • Sour [flavor] generates the liver.
  • The liver generates the sinews.
  • The sinews generate the heart ….
(p.400)

Table 3. The Association of the Celestial Stems with the Five Agents

jia

yi

bing

ding

wu

ji

geng

xin

ren

gui

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

yang

yin

wood

east

fire

south

soil

center

metal

west

water

north

  • In heaven it is wind,
  • on the earth it is wood,
  • in the body it is the sinews,
  • 〈among the qi it is softness.〉
  • Among the depots it is the liver.
  • Its nature is warm.
  • Its virtue is harmony.
  • Its operation is movement.
  • Its color is greenish.
  • Its transformation is blossoming.
  • 〈Its creatures are haired.〉
  • Its policy is dispersion.
  • Its commands are spreading and effusion.
  • Its causing changes is to break [things] and pull [them].
  • Its causing a calamity is making [things] to fall.
  • Its flavor is sour.
  • Its state of mind is anger.
  • Anger harms the liver.
  • Sadness overcomes anger.
  • Wind harms the liver.
  • Dryness overcomes wind.
  • Sour [flavor] harms the sinews.
  • Acrid [flavor] overcomes sour [flavor].7
And so on.

Similarly, in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the relationships of domination and revenge, as well as of generation and overcoming, follow the same laws as in the doctrine of the five agents. However, there are also some differences. For example, Su wen 22 provides the usual association of the celestial stems with the five agents in the doctrine of the five agents:

  • Jia and yi are associated with wood and with the east.
  • Bing and ding are associated with fire and with the south.
  • Wu and ji are associated with soil and with the center.
  • Geng and xin are associated with metal and with the west.
  • Ren and gui are associated with water and with the north.
(p.401)

Table 4. The Association of the Ten Stems with the Periods (Linear)

jia

yi

bing

ding

wu

ji

geng

xin

Ren

gui

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

soil

metal

water

wood

fire

soil

metal

water

wood

fire

A correlation of these data is shown in table 3.

In contrast, the associations of the celestial stems with the five periods constitute a system of its own. As the Su wen states,

  • Years [classified] jia and ji are governed by the soil period.
  • Years [classified] yi and geng are governed by the metal period.
  • Years [classified] bing and xin are governed by the water period.
  • Years [classified] ding and ren are governed by the wood period.
  • Years [classified] wu and gui are governed by the fire period.8
Similarly,
  • Soil rules jia and ji [years].
  • Metal rules yi and geng [years].
  • Water rules bing and xin [years].
  • Wood rules ding and ren [years].
  • Fire rules wu and gui years.9
A tabular correlation is shown in table 4.

In diagram 1 we see that the ten stems are paired twice with the five agents, the latter appearing in the mutual generation sequence. Hence in a circular presentation, each period is associated with two opposite stems, one representing yang and one representing yin.

An explanation for the change from an association of two neighboring stems with one identical agent in the doctrine of the five agents to an association of two opposing stems in a circular diagram with the same period in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi is given in a paragraph of Su wen 67 dealing with the passage of five qi through the sky:

The Book on the Supreme Beginning and on the Original [Qi] of Heaven [states]: The qi of a vermilion heaven passes through the [stellar divisions of] niu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen-and Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and [through those of] the wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen section.

The qi of a yellow heaven passes through the [stellar divisions of] xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and [through those of] the ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen section.

The qi of a greenish in heaven passes through the [stellar divisions of] wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and shi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and [through those of] liu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and gui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

The qi of a white heaven passes through [the stellar divisions of] kang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and di Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and [through those of] mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and bi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

The qi of a dark heaven passes through [the stellar divisions of] zhang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and yi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and [through those of] lou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. (p.402)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 1. The Association of the Ten Stems with the Periods (Circular)

{As for the so-called wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen sections, these are [the positions of the stellar divisions of] kui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and bi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and of jiao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and zhen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. They are the gates of heaven and earth.}10

Nowhere else in ancient literature or bibliographies is a text named Tai shi tian yuan ce Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “Book on the Supreme Beginning and on the Original [Qi] of Heaven,” mentioned. Hence the background of this statement on the five qi passing through heaven and its exact meaning remain obscure; it may have been meteorological, astrological or even astronomical. Also, it is not clear whether “the qi of a vermilion heaven” refers to an actual red-colored “qi” observed in the sky or if “vermilion heaven” is simply to be understood as a metaphor for the heaven of Summer. The same applies to the remaining four qi.

Obviously the quotation discusses the relationships among the five qi of differently colored heavens and the twenty-eight stellar divisions. The twenty-eight Stellar divisions, xiu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, also called “lunar lodges” or “lunar mansions,” are divisions of the fixed stars devised by ancient Chinese astronomers. Their (p.403)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 2. The Cardinal Points, the Stellar Divisions, and the Celestial Stems

correspondences with the cardinal points and the celestial stems, as seen by Chinese astrology, are shown in diagram 2.11

Apparently “the qi of a green heaven,” that is, the qi of wood or spring, was associated with the stems ren Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and ding Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. “The qi of a pure heaven,” that is, the qi of metal or autumn, was associated with the stems yi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and geng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. “The qi of a dark heaven,” that is, the qi of water or winter, was associated with the stems bing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. “The qi of a vermilion heaven,” that is, the qi of fire or summer, was associated with the stems gui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. “The qi of a yellow heaven,” that is, the qi of soil, was associated with the stems jia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

It is unclear why the Tai shi tian yuan ce refers to wu and ji in describing the passage of the qi of a vermilion heaven and the qi of a yellow heaven rather than to stellar divisions, as in all other cases. Normally, wu and ji do not refer to cardinal points; they are associated with the center, as is their corresponding agent, soil. In the Tai shi tian yuan ce quotation, though, they (p.404)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 3. Facsimile Reproduction of a Han Dynasty Cosmic Board of ca. 165 B.C.

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 4. Extract From the Earth Plate of a Han Dynasty Cosmic Board

(p.405) are split into two “sections” and appear to have been meant to symbolize different directions.

The commentary added to the Tai shi tian yuan ce quotation (probably a commentary on the Su wen text, not on the original Tai shi tian yuan ce text) identified wu as a reference to the stellar divisions kui and bi, a region in the northwest, and ji as a reference to the stellar divisions jiao and zhen, a region in the southeast.

However, the opinion expressed in this commentary does not necessarily agree with the original meaning of the statement of the Tai shi tian yuan ce. In comparison, various “cosmic boards” (shi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Harper's translation, or “diviner boards,” as they are called today) have been unearthed from Han tombs, presumably displaying correspondences, representative of Han cosmology, among the stellar divisions, the earth branches, and the celestial stems.12

The data revealing these correspondences are provided by the lower level of the board, a square plate symbolizing the earth and the earth's permanent correspondences with the celestial bodies. Within this square plate, the two corners of the northeast and the southeast are marked as wu, and the two corners representing the northwest and the southwest are marked by the characters ji. (See diagrams 3 and 4.)

Accordingly, the two celestial stems wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen do not refer to one cardinal point but to two different cardinal points each. If this meaning were implied in the Tai shi tian yuan ce quotation, it would explain why the text speaks of “wu section(s)” and “ji section(s)” rather than of stellar divisions. Also, wu is associated with eastern directions, whereas ji is associated with western directions. This corresponds to the usual sequence of wu preceding ji.

If one wished to locate the appearance of the five differently colored qi in their “passage through stellar divisions” as outlined in the Tai shi tian yuan ce, at least three different possibilities are imaginable. First, the five qi associated with a specifically colored heaven may have been thought to pass across the sky from one specified constellation of stellar divisions to one or two other specified constellations, without touching the remaining stellar divisions. Second, the five qi associated with a specifically colored heaven may have been thought to pass from one constellation of stellar divisions to one or two others through the remaining stellar divisions above the horizon. Third, the five qi associated with a specifically colored heaven may have been thought to appear only in very limited sections of the sky, that is, within the constellations of stellar divisions associated with them in the Tai shi tian yuan ce. These three alternatives are depicted in diagrams 5 through 7. According to the commentary to the Tai shi tian yuan ce, the picture would be as shown in diagram 8. (p.406)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 5. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. First Alternative.

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 6. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. Second Alternative.

(p.407)
Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 7. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. Third Alternative.

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 8. The Appearance and Passage of the Five Qi Associated with a Specifically Colored Heaven within Specified Constellations of Stellar Divisions. First Alternative, Commentary Version.

(p.408)

Table 5. The Five Tones Representing Annual Periods

GONG Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen= SOIL

jia gong

=

major gong

=

yang gong

ji gong

=

minor gong

=

yin gong

SHANG Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen= METAL

geng shang

=

major shang

=

yang shang

yi shang

=

minor shang

=

yin shang

JUE Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen= WOOD

ren jue

=

major jue

=

yang jue

ding jue

=

minor jue

=

yin jue

ZHI Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen= FIRE

wu zhi

=

major zhi

=

yang zhi

gui zhi

=

minor zhi

=

yin zhi

YU Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen= WATER

bing yu

=

major yu

=

yang yu

xin yu

=

minor yu

=

yin yu

2.2. The Annual Period

In general, the annual periods are referred to by the names of the five agents. However, in Su wen 70 and 71, a separate system of designations is employed. Here the names of the five musical tones are used. As with the five periods, each of the five tones is associated with two celestial stems. However, the text does not speak of yang or yin tones but of “major” or “minor” tones. For example, the tone gong stands for the period “soil.” In the doctrine of the five agents and six qi, soil is associated with the two stems jia and ji. Jia is a yang stem; hence gong is called “major” when it stands for the yang stem jia. Ji is a yin stem; hence gong is called minor when it stands for the yin stem ji. The five tones and the annual periods they represent are depicted in table 5.

The period associated with each year is an important indicator of the climatic conditions to be expected in that year. It was called “central period” (zhong yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) in the apocryphal treatises 72 and 73, possibly because it permeates the entire year, regardless of which of the six qi (see below, sec. 3) is active “above,” that is, in the first half of the year, or “below,” that is, in the second half of the year. Because the qi associated with the annual period exerts an exceptional impact on the climate for the entire year, it was also called “annual period” (sui yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen)13 and “major period” (da yun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) in later times; the latter term, however, does not appear yet in the Su wen.

The annual period may be “greatly excessive” (tai guo Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) or “inadequate” (bu ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). All annual periods associated with yang stems (i.e., jia, bing, wu, geng, and ren) are by definition “greatly excessive”; all annual periods associated with yin stems (i.e., yi, ding, ji, xin, and gui) are “inadequate.” Although this appears to indicate that any year's climate is either “greatly excessive” or “inadequate,” specific constellations may very well result in situations of “balanced qi” (ping qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

(p.409) 2.3. The Three Arrangements

Years of unequal period association are marked by different climatic situations. As the Su wen states: “The five periods recur and diminish. They differ in weakness and abundance. Harm and benefit follow each other.”14 In the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, weakness and abundance, harm and benefit, serve to express notions of greatly excessive, inadequate, and balanced qi. These three conditions are called “the three arrangements” (san ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). Because each of the five periods may appear in a specific constellation in any of these three arrangements, a total of fifteen arrangements are possible. Each of these fifteen arrangements has a specific designation:

  • [A year of the] wood [period with balanced qi] is called “extended harmony.”
  • [A year of the] fire [period with balanced qi] is called “ascending brilliance.”
  • [A year of the] soil [period with balanced qi] is called “perfect transformation.”
  • [A year of the] metal [period with balanced qi] is called “secured balance.”
  • [A year of the] water [period with balanced qi] is called “quiet adaptation.”15
  • [A year of the] wood [period with inadequate qi] is called “discarded harmony.”
  • [A year of the] fire [period with inadequate qi] is called “hidden brilliance.”
  • [A year of the] soil [period with inadequate qi] is called “inferior supervision.”
  • [A year of the] metal [period with inadequate qi] is called “accepted change.”
  • [A year of the] water [period with inadequate qi] is called “dried-up flow.”16
  • [A year of the] wood [period with excessive qi] is called “effusive growth.”
  • [A year of the] fire [period with excessive qi] is called “fire-red sunlight.”
  • [A year of the] soil [period with excessive qi] is called “prominent mound.”
  • [A year of the] metal [period with excessive qi] is called “firm completion.”
  • [A year of the] water [period with excessive qi] is called “inundating flow.”17

Within these three arrangements, each year's “virtue, qi, nature, operation, transformation, related [items], policy, [climatic] manifestation, [seasonal] order, corresponding [season], grain, fruit, depot, creature, livestock, color, nourished [part of the body], illness, flavor, musical tone, [material] objects, and number” are listed.

“Greatly excessive” means that, in a particular year, the corresponding annual qi (i.e., the qi associated with its period) manifests itself rather violently in the climatic changes. For example, when in a year associated with the annual period soil, soil period qi is greatly excessive, then the overall climate of that year is “prevalence of rain and dampness,” because the climate corresponding to soil is dampness. The illnesses brought forth are mainly those associated with water and dampness or with the spleen and the stomach.

On the other hand, when the soil period qi is inadequate in a year associated with soil, not only are the climatic characteristics such that the qi of water and dampness is diminished; even more important, because the soil qi is inadequate, wood overcomes the soil. Hence the climate during that (p.410) year exhibits the characteristics of a wood period qi; that is, “wind prevails excessively.”

Su wen 69 lists the relationships between the climatic changes in years of inadequate and greatly excessive periods, on the one hand, and the emergence of illnesses, on the other. For example:

  • If in a year [associated with wood] there is great excess [of the qi] of wood,
  • wind qi spreads [everywhere].
  • The spleen, [which is] soil, receives evil.
  • People suffer from
  • outflow of [undigested] meals and they eat less.
  • Their bodies are heavy.
  • [They suffer from] vexation and grievance, intestinal sounds, and propping fullness in the abdomen.
  • Jupiter corresponds above.18
  • When [the excess of the qi of wood] is severe, then
  • [the patients] are confused and they tend to become angry.
  • Vertigo and peak illness occur.
  • The policy of the qi of transformation (i.e., the qi of soil) is not enacted;
  • the qi of generation (i.e., the qi of wood) governs alone.
  • [As a result,] cloudy things fly by.
  • Herbs and trees are kept in constant motion.
  • In severe cases, they are shaken and fall down.
  • [Illnesses] contrary [to normal are]:
  • pain in the flanks and severe vomiting.
  • If [in such cases the movement in the vessels at the] Surging Yang [hole] is interrupted, [the patient] will die and cannot be treated.
  • Venus corresponds above.19
The statements on all the other greatly excessive and inadequate annual periods follow this pattern.

2.4. Host (Zhu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) Periods, Visitor (Ke Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) Periods, and the Five Steps (Bu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen)

The seven comprehensive discourses refer to “hosts” and “visitors” only. The complete designations zhu yun and ke yun do not appear in the Su wen.

The underlying metaphor of host and visitor is that a host is the regular occupant of a residence, whereas visitors come and go at irregular intervals and may not be expected. In the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, each year is seen as marked by a procession of five “steps” of equal length. Each step, in turn, is associated with a specific “host.” This host is responsible for the regular climatic condition for the entire time it is in charge. The sequence of the hosts responsible for the climate during each step is identical year after (p.411)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 9. The Sequence of the “Major” and “Minor” Tones

year. The initial host is the period wood, the second is fire, the third is soil, the fourth is metal, and the fifth is water.

However, hosts (and visitors) are not named after the five agents; they, like the annual periods in Su wen 71, are named after the five musical tones. Hence the initial period is designated as jue, followed by zhi (fire), gong (soil), shang (metal), and yu (water).

Each individual step in the course of the year is associated not only with a host but also with a visitor. Visitors are identified as being responsible for abnormal changes in the climate of the five seasons of each year. In contrast to the hosts, the arrival of the visitors differs from year to year.

The initial visitor period, that is, the period associated with the first of the total of five steps, is always identical to the annual period. For example, in the first year of the cycle of sixty years, that is, in a jia zi year, the annual period is yang and soil because the celestial stem of that year is jia, and jia is yang. In this year the initial visitor period is yang soil too. A yang-soil visitor is designated as “major gong.” The remaining four visitors follow the generation sequence of the five agents.

Ji si and ji hai years, too, are associated with soil periods. Ji, however, is a (p.412) yin stem. Hence these two years are years of inadequacy; they are designated as “minor gong,” and so is their initial visitor period. Because of their association with the ten celestial stems, the sequence of visitor periods repeats itself after ten years.

The sequence of the five tones is identical to that of their corresponding five periods. The combination of the five tones with “major” and “minor” follows the rule that major and minor generate each other (see diagram 9). Hence in the circular sequence of the five tones, “major” and “minor” arrive alternately: major jue—minor zhi—major gong—minor shang—major yu—minor jue—major zhi—minor gong—major shang—minor yu—major jue—and so on.

2.5. The Determination of the Host Periods

To determine whether the first of the host periods of a given year is “major” or “minor,” the following procedure is applied.

  1. 1. Write out the five-tone sequence of the five steps as they correspond to the host periods.

  2. 2. Determine from its association with a yang or yin stem whether the respective year's annual period is “major” or “minor.” Then determine which of the five tones is associated with the respective year's stem, locate this tone in the five-tone sequence of the five steps, and add the “major” or “minor” of the annual period to it.

  3. 3. From the “major” or “minor” nature of that step move backward, according to the principle “major and minor generate each other,” to determine the major or minor nature of the first step, which is always jue.

For example, to determine the sequence of host periods in terms of “major” and “minor” in a jia zi year, this procedure leads to the following results.
  1. 1. Because the beginning and the sequence of the host periods is the same year after year, this sequence is jue—zhi—gong—shang—yu.

  2. 2. The annual stem of jia zi years, jia, is associated with soil. The corresponding tone is gong. Also, because jia is a yang stem, this gong should be major gong. Major gong, then, is the annual period of jia zi years. Also, in such a year the host period of the third step, gong, is major gong too.

  3. 3. Following the principle “major and minor generate each other,” one moves backward from the third step, that is, from major gong, to the beginning of the sequence: the second step is identified as minor zhi and the initial step as major jue. Hence the complete sequence of host periods in a jia zi year is major jue—minor zhi—major gong—minor shang—major yu.

(p.413) 2.6. The Determination of the Visitor Periods

Once the annual period and the host periods are determined, the sequence of the visitor periods can be found out easily. Because the annual period is the initial period of the visitor periods, all the steps in the sequence jue—zhi—gong—shang—yu preceding the period identified as the initial period are moved to the very end of that sequence. The resulting new sequence is that of the visitor periods in that year.

Again, taking a jia zi year as an example, the annual period is major gong. The host periods are major jue—minor zhi—major gong—minor shang—major yu. Accordingly, the major gong step among the host periods is the initial period of the visitor periods. Hence the major jue and the minor zhi periods, preceding in the sequence of the host periods the major gong period, are moved to the end of the sequence. Hence the five steps of the sequence of visitor periods in a jia zi year are major gong—minor shang—major yu—major jue—minor zhi.

In Su wen 71, each year's sequence of visitor periods is listed in one line as a sequence of major and minor variants of the five tones. In this same line, a commentary in small characters of unknown origin and authorship indicates the beginning and the end of the host periods, enabling a reader to deduce the sequence of host periods. For example:

  • major jue initial [step] and proper [start of the sequence of host periods]
  • minor zhi
  • major gong
  • minor shang
  • major yu end [of the sequence of host periods]
or
  • major zhi
  • minor gong
  • major shang
  • minor yu end [of the sequence of host periods]
  • minor jue initial [step of the sequence of host periods]

Because the sequence of the host periods and the visitor periods is identical each year, with only the onset of the sequence of the visitor periods differing from that of the sequence of the host periods, the first small character comment “initial” (chu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) indicates the initial period of the host periods of a given year. Hence this character “initial” is always added after the character jue. The small character comment “end” (zhong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) always follows the character yu, as the period yu in the sequence of the host periods is always the final period.

(p.414) Whenever the sequences of the host periods and the visitor periods overlap entirely, the Su wen adds a small character comment “proper” (zheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) to the character jue to indicate that in such years it is the initial period of the sequence of both the host periods and the visitor periods. However, this designation of a jue period as “proper” must not be confused with the designation of jue, zhi, shang, and so on, periods as “proper” in Su wen 70.

3. The Six Qi

We now turn to the six qi (liu qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), the second conceptual segment of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi. Similar to the way the five periods supply three conceptual levels—the annual period, the host periods, and the visitor periods—the six qi appear on three conceptual levels—the “qi controlling heaven” (si tian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), the host qi, and the visitor qi. However, the qi controlling heaven is a more complex concept than the annual period; it refers, first, to a qi characterizing an entire year; second, to a qi characterizing the first half of a year; and third, to the six visitor qi.

3.1. The Yin and Yang Associations of the Six Qi

For the most part, when the Su wen speaks of “six qi” apart from the context of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, it refers to cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness, wind, and fire as causes of illness. The sequence of these six qi as causes of illness is not related to the sequence of climatic changes in the course of any given year. As is stated in Su wen 67:

  • When dryness dominates, then the earth is dry.
  • When summer heat dominates, then the earth is hot.
  • When wind dominates, then the earth moves.
  • When dampness dominates, then the earth turns muddy.
  • When cold dominates, then the earth cracks.
  • When fire dominates, then the earth hardens.20

In contrast, the “six qi” mentioned in Su wen 66 through 74 serve to characterize climatic changes in the course of one year, with these changes differing from one year to the next. They include major yang qi, cold and water; yang brilliance qi, dryness and metal; minor yang qi, minister fire; major yin qi, dampness and soil; minor yin qi, heat; and ceasing yin qi, wind and wood.

  • What is above in ceasing yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the wind qi rules it.
  • What is above in minor yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the heat qi rules it.
  • What is above in major yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the dampness qi rules it.
  • What is above in minor yang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the minister fire rules it.
  • What is above in yang brilliance Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the dryness qi rules it.
  • What is above in major yang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen [years], the cold qi rules it.21

(p.415) The earliest known appearance of this kind of sixfold subcategorization of yin and yang is in the context of the description and categorization of vessels in the medical Mawangdui texts of the early second century B.C.

It is noteworthy that the strongest yang category, major yang, is associated with cold, while the weakest yang category, minor yang, is associated with fire. No explanation so far has been offered to explain these unusual correspondences.

In associations of the six qi with the three yin and three yang, the term “summer heat” (shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) is always replaced by “heat” (re Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

The pattern in which Su wen 68 combines the six qi with the three yin and yang is the following:

  • The upper [half] of minor yang [years] is governed by the fire qi. At midterm, the ceasing yin [qi] appears.
  • The upper [half] of yang brilliance [years] is governed by the dryness qi. At midterm, the major yin [qi] appears.
  • The upper [half] of major yang [years] is governed by the cold qi. At midterm, the minor yin [qi] appears.
  • The upper [half] of ceasing yin [years] is governed by the wind qi. At midterm, the minor yang [qi] appears.
  • The upper [half] of minor yin [years] is governed by the heat qi. At midterm, the major yang [qi] appears.
  • The upper [half] of major yin [years] is governed by the dampness qi. At midterm, the yang brilliance [qi] appears.22

The association of minor yang with fire instead of minister fire is the one most frequently employed in the seven comprehensive discourses; it also appears in Su wen 70 and 74. An example of further minor modifications occasionally encountered in the seven comprehensive discourses is the following; it combines minor yin with fire rather than heat and minor yang with heat rather than fire.

  • Where the ceasing yin [qi] arrives, there is the wind palace ….
  • Where the minor yin [qi] arrives, there is the fire palace ….
  • Where the major yin [qi] arrives, there is the rain palace ….
  • Where the minor yang [qi] arrives, there is the heat palace ….
  • Where the yang brilliance [qi] arrives, there is the palace that controls the killing.
  • Where the major yin [qi] arrives, there is the cold palace.23

The yin and yang categorization of the six qi includes a direct reference to different quantities of the respective yin and yang dimensions. For example, in discussing the policies of the six yin and yang qi, Su wen 71 proceeds from yang to yin and from larger to smaller quantities:

  • major yang, yang brilliance, minor yang, major yin, minor yin, ceasing yin24
(p.416) However, in the same treatise, in the course of a discussion of the twelve changes, the sequence is exactly reversed:
  • ceasing yin, minor yin, major yin, minor yang, yang brilliance, major yang25
This latter pattern can also be seen in Su wen 66-369-5, 74–503–6, and 68–387–10.

The meaning of the larger and smaller quantities of the six yin and yang qi is as follows: in their consecutive passage, the six qi must keep a circular movement following a fixed direction based on a sequence in terms of larger and smaller quantities of yin and yang. This movement is probably meant by the phrase “Left and right are the passageways of yin and yang” (Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) in the Su wen.26

3.2. The Six Qi and the Five Agents, Ruling Fire, and Minister Fire

The relationships among the six qi and the five agents are close. The ceasing yin qi, wind, corresponds to the wood of the five agents. The major yin qi, dampness, corresponds to soil, and so on. However, the six qi constitute an even number; the five agents, an uneven number. A combination of the two may result in a discrepancy because they do not completely overlap.

The seven comprehensive discourses of the Su wen tackle this discrepancy by two methods. One is to disregard one qi; the other is to divide one of the five agents into two.

The method of disregarding one qi appears in Su wen 66 as follows:

  • Heaven has the five agents;
  • they control the five positions.
  • Thereby [the five agents] generate cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness, and wind.27
and
  • The spirit, in heaven
  • it is wind …
  • it is heat …
  • it is dampness …
  • it is dryness …
  • it is cold.28

Su wen 71, in introducing the operations of the six qi, also speaks only of five qi:

  • The transformations of the major yin [qi, that is,] rain, are applied to major yang [qi];
  • the transformations of the major yang [qi, that is,] cold, are applied to minor yin [qi];
  • (p.417) the transformations of the minor yin [qi, that is,] heat, are applied to yang brilliance [qi];
  • the transformations of the yang brilliance [qi, that is,] dryness, are applied to ceasing yin [qi];
  • the transformations of the ceasing yin [qi, that is,] wind, are applied to major yin [qi].29

However, in the majority of the treatises, the fire among the five agents is divided in two to create a number that can be matched with the six qi. For example, in Su wen 71, the six yin and yang qi are combined with the five agents in such a way that fire appears twice, as fire and as minister fire:

  • ceasing yin = wood
  • minor yin = fire
  • major yin = soil
  • minor yang = minister fire
  • yang brilliance = metal
  • major yang = water30
Su wen 68, though, in addition to offering a different sequence, breaks the fire agent into “ruling fire” and “minister fire”:
  • To the right of obvious brilliance,
  • that is the position of the ruling fire.
  • To the right of the ruling fire,
  • retreating one step,
  • that is the [position] governed by the minister fire.
  • Moving one step further,
  • that is the [position] governed by the soil qi.
  • Moving one step further,
  • that is the [position] governed by the metal qi.
  • Moving one step further,
  • that is the [position] governed by the water qi.
  • Moving one step further,
  • that is the [position] governed by the wood qi.
  • Moving one step further,
  • that is the [position] governed by the ruling fire.31
This is the pattern followed by most authors in subsequent centuries.

3.3. The Host Qi and the Six Steps (bu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen)

Within the course of one year, regular climatic changes that are supposed to occur concomitant with the so-called six steps are attributed to the six host qi. That is, each of the six host qi is associated with one of the six steps. The sequence of the six host qi in the course of the six steps is fixed and (p.418) does not change; it starts with the qi of wood and follows the mutual generation order of the five agents:

  • initial qi: ceasing yin, wind and wood
  • second qi: minor yin, ruling fire
  • third qi: minor yang, minister fire
  • fourth qi: major yin, dampness and soil
  • fifth qi: yang brilliance, dryness and metal
  • final qi: major yang, cold and water

Hence the climates represented by the host qi are identical to the regular climatic changes in the course of the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Su wen 68 clearly outlines the lengths of the six steps, also called “the six seasonal positions” (liu jie wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen):

A so-called step covers 60 degrees (i.e., days of a solar year) and some odd parts [of a degree/day].32

By “some odd parts,” the Su wen refers to a period somewhat shorter than a full day. Su wen 68 defines it as 87.5 clepsydra marks (in ancient China a bronze vessel, clepsydra, was employed to calculate the length of one day; over the time of one day and one night, the water in the clepsydra descended by one hundred marks):

  • In a jia zi year,
  • the first qi [term] begins with the water [in the clepsydra] sinking from the first mark and it ends after [60 days and] 87½ marks.
  • The second qi [term] begins at the 87th mark and six parts and it ends after [a further 61 days and] 75 marks.
  • The third qi [term] begins at the 76th mark and it ends after [a further 61 days and] 62½ marks.
  • The fourth qi [term] begins at the 62d mark and six parts and it ends after [a further 61 days and] 50 marks.
  • The fifth qi [term] begins at the 51st mark and it ends after [a further 61 days and] 37½ marks.
  • The sixth qi [term] begins at the 37th mark and six parts and it ends after [a further 61 days and] 25 marks.33
This paragraph can be illustrated graphically as in diagram 10.

The lengths of each step of the host qi are identical. However, the Su wen does not clearly outline which day in a year an initial qi commences. Fang Yaozhong and Xu Jiasong assume that it is the “great cold” term of the previous and of the present year that serves as standard and that calculations should start from that date.34 (p.419)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 10. The Length of the Six Steps in the Course of a Year

The beginnings of the six steps differ in each of the following three years; only after four years have passed does the same cycle begin anew:

  • When the sun passes through the first cycle, the heavenly qi begins with the first mark.
  • When the sun passes through the next cycle, the heavenly qi begins [after 365 days and 25 marks] at the 26th mark.
  • When the sun passes through the third cycle, the heavenly qi begins [after the next 365 days and 25 marks] at the 51st mark.
  • When the sun passes through the fourth cycle, the heavenly qi begins [after the next 365 days and 25 marks] at the 76th mark.
  • When the sun passes through the fifth cycle, the heavenly qi [after the next 365 days and 25 marks] once again begins at the first mark.
  • {That is what is called “one arrangement.”}35

The statement “the sun passes through one cycle” shows that the solar year was adopted in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi. One normal day in a solar year lasts 365.2422 days, that is, 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds. Hence in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the length of the six qi of one year should approach this figure.

Over one day and one night, the water in the clepsydra descended by one hundred marks. Hence in one solar year, in addition to the 365 times 100 marks, the water in the clepsydra should descend by an additional odd number of marks. This additional number of marks amounts to roughly one quarter of a day, about six hours.

Su wen 68 refers to this additional number of marks rather correctly: “when the sun passes through the next cycle, the heavenly qi begins [after 365 days and 25 marks] at 26 marks.” In other words, each year lasts for an additional 25 marks, which amounts to a quarter of a full day. This way, after four years (p.420) there is one additional day. Four years constitute one cycle; one such cycle is called “one arrangement” (Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

One arrangement extends over four years. Hence within twelve years, that is, within one cycle of twelve branches, there are three arrangements, namely:

  • zi, chou, yin, mao: first arrangement
  • chen, si, wu, wei: second arrangement
  • shen, you, xu, hai: third arrangement

At the beginning of the three years associated with the earth branches zi, chen, and shen, the descent of the water in the clepsydra starts at the same mark. Hence chou, si, and you years have identical beginnings, as have yin, wu, and xu as well as mao, wei, and hai years. As the Su wen states:

  • The convergences of qi in yin, wu, and xu years are identical.
  • The convergences of qi in mao, wei, and hai years are identical.
  • The convergences of qi in chen, shen, and zi years are identical.
  • The convergences of qi in si, you, and chou years are identical.
  • When [a cycle] has reached its end, it begins anew.36

3.4. The Visitor Qi

The six visitor qi, too, extend over six steps of equal length. The cyclical sequence of these six steps, though, is not identical to that of the host qi. They are arranged in accordance with the larger and smaller quantities of the three yin and yang qi:

  • first yin: ceasing yin, wind and wood
  • second yin: minor yin, ruling fire
  • third yin: major yin, dampness and soil
  • first yang: minor yang, minister fire
  • second yang: yang brilliance, dryness and metal
  • third yang: major yang, cold and water
This is applied in Su wen 68 and 71 either in the sequence of decreasing yin and yang qi37 or in the sequence of increasing yin and yang qi, as quoted above.38

As with the five visitor periods, the initial visitor qi changes from year to year. It is identified as starting from the annual branch associated with each year. Once the annual branch associated with a given year is known, it is possible to determine the “qi controlling heaven” corresponding to this branch (see below, p. 423) and then to calculate the sequence of the six visitor qi of that year. Hence it is important to understand the relationships among the annual branches and the six yin and yang qi. (p.421)

Table 6. The Association of the Earth Branches with the Five Agents (Linear)

yin

mao

chen

si

wu

wei

shen

you

xu

hai

zi

chou

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

wood

soil

fire

soil

metal

soil

water

soil

3.5. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi

In the Su wen doctrine of the five periods and six qi, as in the association of the ten stems with the periods, the association of the twelve branches with the qi follows its own characteristic rules. Hence to establish the relationships among the ten celestial stems and the twelve earth branches, on the one hand, and the periods and the qi, on the other, one cannot mechanistically employ the contents of the system of the doctrine of the five agents. In the latter, the associations among the twelve branches, the six qi, and the four seasons are as shown in table 6 and diagram 11.

Diagram 11 shows that the twelve branches are matched with the months of a year, beginning with the eleventh month of the preceding year. That is, the twelve branches do not correspond to the twelve months within one year. According to one model in the doctrine of the five agents, soil flourishes in the final, that is, third, month of each of the four seasons. Hence the third, the sixth, the ninth, and the twelfth months are associated with major yin qi, that is, with dampness and soil. The remaining eight months are associated with the remaining four of the five agents.

However, in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the relationships between the six qi and the twelve branches manifest themselves in the association of years, not months.

In Su wen 67 the result of the association of the twelve branches with the qi is listed in the context of an identification of the qi ruling the “above” of a year as follows:

  • What is above in zi and wu [years], minor yin rules it.
  • What is above in chou and wei [years], major yin rules it.
  • What is above in yin mand shen [years], minor yang rules it.
  • What is above in mao and you [years], yang brilliance rules it.
  • What is above in chen and xu [years], major yang rules it.
  • What is above in si and hai [years], ceasing yin rules it.39

Elsewhere, in Su wen 66, the relationships between the annual branches and the six qi are outlined even more clearly:

  • In zi and wu years, the minor yin [qi] appears above.
  • In chou and wei years, the major yin [qi] appears above. (p.422)
    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 11. The Association of the Earth Branches with the Five Agents and the Twelve Months (Circular)

  • In yin and shen years, the minor yang [qi] appears above.
  • In mao and you years, the yang brilliance [qi] appears above.
  • In chen and xu years, the major yang [qi] appears above.
  • In si and hai years, the ceasing yin [qi] appears above.40

Also, Su wen 71 outlines each year's annual stem and branch under the names of the six groups of qi controlling heaven in the course of sixty years.

If the text quoted above from the Su wen is transformed into a circular graph (see diagram 12), it is obvious that the association of the twelve branches with the qi is rather different from the corresponding contents of the doctrine of the five agents.

In the case of the association of the ten stems with the periods, the ten stems have been divided into two sequences of one through five and six through ten respectively. Each of these two sequences is associated with the five periods. (See above, diagram 1.)

The association of the twelve branches with the qi follows the same pattern. (p.423)

Table 7. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi (Linear)

zi

chou

yin

mao

chen

si

wu

Wei

shen

you

xi

hai

minor

major

minor

yang

major

ceasing

yin

yin

yang

brilliance

yang

yin

ruling fire

soil

minister fire

metal

water

wood

dampness

dryness

cold

wind

The twelve branches are divided into two sequences—branches one through six and branches seven through twelve (see table 7). Each of these two sequences is associated with the six qi. In a circular illustration, this results in a pattern in which the two branches associated with the same qi are represented opposite each other (see diagram 12).

The origins of this deviation of the association of the twelve branches with the five agents from the usual associations in the five-agents doctrine are not known yet. The Su wen author(s) may have employed the statement from the Tai shi tian yuan ce, quoted above, to elucidate via the associations of certain stellar divisions not only the association of the ten stems but also the association of the twelve branches with the five agents. Most conspicuous in the Tai shi tian yuan ce quotation is the association of two opposite pairs of stellar divisions with one identical qi, possibly paralleling the association of one identical agent with branches (and stems) placed opposite each other in a circular representation.

On the basis of these diagrams, it is quite simple to calculate the qi controlling heaven that should appear in a given year. For example, in jia zi years, the annual branch is zi. “In zi and wu years, the minor yin [qi] appears above”; that is, the qi controlling heaven in these years is minor yin, ruling fire. In a sixty-year cycle, there are ten years whose annual stems are zi or wu: jia zi, jia wu, geng zi, geng wu, bing zi, bing wu, ren zi, ren wu, wu zi, and wu wu. In these ten years, the qi controlling heaven is always minor yin, that is, ruling fire.

Once the ten stems are transformed into periods and once the twelve branches are transformed into qi, the circular sequence of the five periods and of the six qi is determined on the basis of the first position of the stems and branches respectively. That is, among the celestial stems, jia is the first. Jia (and also the sixth stem ji) is associated with soil. Hence the five periods start with the soil period. Among the twelve branches, zi is the first. Zi (and also the seventh branch wu) is minor yin, that is, ruling fire. Hence minor yin qi is the first among the six qi. (p.424)

Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

Diagram 12. The Association of the Twelve Branches with the Qi (Circular)

3.6. The Qi Controlling Heaven and the Qi at the Fountain

The yin or yang qi associated with the annual branch of each year is the qi controlling heaven. In the Su wen, the qi controlling heaven encompasses three different levels of meaning.

3.6.1. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules the Climate in the First Half of a Year

Su wen 71 divides a year into two parts:

  • The [time period] before the middle of a year,
  • that is the [time period] ruled by the qi of heaven.
  • The [time period] following the middle of a year,
  • that is the [time period] ruled by the qi of the earth.41

Su wen 74 states:

  • [From] the first qi and ending with the third qi,
  • that is the [term] ruled by the qi of heaven ….
  • [From] the fourth qi and ending with the final qi,
  • that is the [term] ruled by the qi of the earth.42

(p.425) The “qi of heaven” is not explicitly defined as “qi controlling heaven” in the Su wen. However, such a meaning can be inferred from several passages associated with the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the most obvious one being found in Su wen 74:

Huang Di:

  • What about the changes [caused by] the qi of heaven?
  • Qi Bo:

  • When the ceasing yin [qi] controls heaven,
  • wind encroaches upon what it dominates ….
  • When the minor yin [qi] controls heaven,
  • heat encroaches upon what it dominates ….
  • When the major yin [qi] controls heaven,
  • dampness encroaches upon what it dominates ….
  • When the minor yang [qi] controls heaven,
  • fire encroaches upon what it dominates ….
  • When the yang brilliance [qi] controls heaven,
  • dryness encroaches upon what it dominates ….
  • When the major yang [qi] controls heaven,
  • cold encroaches upon what it dominates.43
  • Also, in Su wen 70, Qi Bo explains the meaning of his statement “the qi of heaven restrains it” by referring to “the [qi] controlling heaven.”44

    In the same way as the “qi of heaven” ruling the first half of a year refers to the “qi controlling heaven,” the “qi of the earth,” when ruling the second half of a year, refers to the “qi at the fountain” (zai quan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). “Fountain” symbolizes the earth. These designations may have been derived from ancient Chinese notions of nine heavens above and nine fountains below.

    3.6.2. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules an Entire Year

    An examination of the notions “policy of major yang,” “policy of yang brilliance,” and so on, as listed in Su wen 71, shows that all these “policies” refer to the climate of an entire year. However, the designations of these policies are identical to those used for naming the qi controlling heaven in the first half of a year. For example:

    [Huang] Di:

  • The policy of major yang [qi], what is it like?
  • Qi Bo:

  • These are the arrangements including chen and xu [earth branches].
  • [The first two arrangements include the years when]
  • major yang [controls heaven], major jue [is the annual period], major yin [is at the fountain]. [They are designated] ren chen and ren xu.45
  • Further on, “policy” and “control of heaven” are referred to as identical:
  • (p.426) Whenever there is such a policy of major yang [qi] controlling heaven,
  • the transformations of the [six] qi and the movement of the [five] periods precede heaven.
  • The qi of heaven is stern;
  • the qi of the earth is quiet.46
  • Hence the name of the qi controlling heaven in the first half of a year can also be the name of the annual qi ruling an entire year. This does not apply to the qi at the fountain.

    3.6.3. The Qi Controlling Heaven Rules the Third among the Six Visitor Qi

    Su wen 71 offers a listing of rules underlying the sequence of the six visitor qi in the course of a year. In the context of the third qi, the text states:

    • The policy of heaven is widespread.
    • Cold qi prevails.
    • Hence rain falls.47
    That is to say, during the term of the third visitor qi, the climatic situation is identical to that characteristic of the entire year. In the present case, the qi ruling the entire year is major yang, that is, cold, and this is also the visitor qi responsible for the climate during the third step. As this is the “qi controlling heaven,” it is also the basic qi responsible for the first half of that year. Parallel to this, during the final step, at the time of the sixth qi, “the qi of the earth occupies its proper position.”48 That is, at this time, the climatic situation is particularly formed by the qi of the earth, by the qi at the fountain ruling the second half of that year.

    Even though in the Su wen the third of the visitor qi is not explicitly named “qi controlling heaven,” just as the sixth of the visitor qi is not explicitly named “qi at the fountain,” it may be concluded from the paragraphs cited above that the third and the sixth qi are at least identical to the qi controlling heaven and the qi at the fountain respectively.

    Further evidence to the effect that the third qi was considered the qi controlling heaven may be found in the context of the concept of the “intervening qi” (jian qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

    3.6.4. The Intervening Qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Su wen 74 has the following dialogue.

    [Huang] Di:

  • What about the transformations of the earth [qi]?
  • Qi Bo:

  • [Their] manifestations are identical to those resulting from the [qi] controlling heaven. The [manifestations of the] intervening qi are all identical, [too].
  • [Huang] Di:

  • “Intervening qi,” what does that mean? (p.427)
    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 13. The Qi controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and the Intervening Qi

  • Qi Bo:

  • Those to the left and to the right of the [qi] controlling [heaven and earth], they are called intervening qi.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • How can they be distinguished?
  • Qi Bo:

  • Those [qi] ruling over an [entire] year, they [are responsible for] arranging that year.
  • As for the intervening qi, they [are responsible for] arranging the [seasonal] steps [within a year].49
  • In this paragraph, “transformations on the earth” (di hua Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) refers to the qi at the fountain. When Huang Di asks what the transformations on the earth are like, he wants to know about the regular climatic changes generated by the qi at the fountain. Qi Bo responds that they are identical to the regular climatic changes generated by the qi controlling heaven and by the intervening qi. Obviously, Huang Di is not familiar with the term “intervening qi.” So Qi Bo explains “intervening qi” as those “to the left and to the right (p.428)
    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen
    (p.429)
    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 14. The Six Constellations of Associations of Annual Branches with the Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, the Intervening Qi, and the Six Steps of a Year.

    (p.430) of the [qi] controlling [heaven and earth].” Drawn as a diagram, the positions occupied by the qi controlling heaven and earth and the intervening qi may be represented as shown in diagram 13. All six possible constellations of qi controlling heaven, qi at the fountain, and intervening qi to the left and right appear in diagram 14a–f.

    Qi Bo's definition does not answer the question of what differences exist among the qi controlling heaven and earth and the intervening qi. When Huang Di requests a further explanation of this point, Qi Bo tells him that the qi controlling heaven is the qi ruling an entire year and reflects the climate of the entire year. The intervening qi, though, rule the climate of only one step each out of a total of six.

    3.6.5. The Issue of Determining the Position of the Six Qi Relative to an Observer (the Meaning of “Left” and “Right,” “North” and “South”)

    At least four viewpoints of an observer relative to the positions of the six qi are reflected in the Su wen.

    1. Su wen 67 states:

    • As for the so-called above and below,
    • these are the locations where yin and yang are seen in the upper and lower [halves] of a year.
    • As for the [so-called] left and right, [the following applies]:
    • Whenever the ceasing yin appears above,
    • the minor yin is to the left and the major yang is to the right.
    • [Whenever] the minor yin appears [above],
    • the major yin is to the left and the ceasing yin is to the right.
    • [Whenever] the major yin appears [above],
    • the minor yang is to the left and the minor yin is to the right.
    • [Whenever] the minor yang appears [above],
    • the yang brilliance is to the left and the major yin is to the right.
    • [Whenever] the yang brilliance appears [above],
    • the major yang is to the left and the minor yang is to the right.
    • [Whenever] the major yang appears [above],
    • the ceasing yin is to the left and the yang brilliance is to the right.
    • {When it is said “face the north and name their position,” [then] this is to state how it is perceived} …
    • When the ceasing yin is present above,
    • then the minor yang is present below,
    • the yang brilliance is to the left, and the major yin is to the right.
    • When the minor yin is present above,
    • then the yang brilliance is present below,
    • the major yang is to the left, and the minor yang is to the right.
    • When the major yin is present above,
    • then the major yang is present below,
    • (p.431) the ceasing yin is to the left, and the yang brilliance is to the right.
    • When the minor yang is present above,
    • then the ceasing yin is present below,
    • the minor yin is to the left, and the major yang is to the right.
    • When the yang brilliance is present above,
    • then the minor yin is present below,
    • the major yin is to the left, and the ceasing yin is to the right.
    • When the major yang is present above,
    • then the major yin is present below,
    • the minor yang is to the left, and the minor yin is to the right.
    • {When it is said “face the south and name their positions,” [then] this is to state how it is perceived.}50

    The text quoted above, together with the commentary, might be understood in the following way:

    An observer who places himself at the position of the qi controlling heaven (i.e., the position of the third of the six steps or annual qi, associated with summer and the south; see above) and faces the north will see the intervening qi in the way described by the first part of the text. As for the second part, the observer has to place himself at the position of the qi at the fountain (i.e., the sixth of the annual qi) and face the south.

    Hence the observer changes his position with regard to the respective half of the year (see diagrams 13 and 14 above).

    2. Su wen 70 has the following statement referring to directions:

    • Heaven is insufficient in the northwest.
    • Cold is to the left and coolness to the right.
    • The earth is incomplete in the southeast.
    • Heat is to the right and warmth is to the left.51

    Apparently this viewpoint implies a fixed position of the observer in the north, which traditionally is the normal position for a Chinese in a topographical context.

    On ancient Chinese maps the south was above and the north below, the east was to the left and the west to the right. (See diagram 15.)

    Accordingly, in terms of west and north, the north is left, and the west is right. Hence the north is cold, and the west is cool. In terms of east and south, the south is on the right and is hot, and the east is on the left and is warm.

    Su wen 71, too, has a reference to directions:

    • The qi of spring moves to the west.
    • The qi of summer moves to the north.
    • The qi of autumn moves to the east.
    • The qi of winter moves to the south ….
    • The qi of spring starts from the left. (p.432)
      Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

      Diagram 15. The Cardinal Points

    • The qi of autumn starts from the right.
    • The qi of winter starts from behind.
    • The qi of summer starts from in front.52
    Here, “in front” refers to the south, “behind” refers to the north, “left” refers to the east, and “right” refers to the west.

    3. Another viewpoint might be reflected in the following statements of Su wen 68:

    • Above and below have [their fixed] positions;
    • left and right are [firmly] arranged.
    • Hence,
    • the [term] to the right of minor yang [qi],
    • it is governed by the yang brilliance [qi].
    • The [term] to the right of yang brilliance [qi],
    • it is governed by the major yang [qi].
    • The [term] to the right of major yang [qi],
    • it is governed by the ceasing yin [qi].
    • The [term] to the right of ceasing yin [qi],
    • it is governed by the minor yin [qi].
    • The [term] to the right of minor yin [qi],
    • it is governed by the major yin [qi].
    • The [term] to the right of major yin [qi],
    • it is governed by the minor yang [qi].53
    • (p.433) To the right of obvious brilliance,
    • that is the position of the ruler fire.
    • To the right of the ruler fire,
    • retreating one step,
    • that is the [position] governed by the minister fire.
    • Moving one step further,
    • that is the [position] governed by the soil qi.
    • Moving one step further,
    • that is the [position] governed by the metal qi.
    • Moving one step further,
    • that is the [position] governed by the water qi.
    • Moving one step further,
    • that is the [position] governed by the wood qi.
    • Moving one step further,
    • that is the [position] governed by the ruler fire.54
    The first passage refers to the sequence of the visitor qi, the second one to the sequence of the host qi.

    Here the observer might be conceived as standing in the center of the circle, turning around to look at the different qi of a year (see diagrams 13 and 14).

    4. Su wen 67 states:

    • Those above, they pass to the right.
    • Those below, they pass to the left.
    • On the left and to the right, they complete one circle around heaven.
    • When [they enter the] next [circle], they meet anew [with the original starting point].55
    Here, “above” probably refers to the visitor qi, “below” to the host qi, and “movement” to the changing qi constellations in subsequent years.

    According to this interpretation, a fixed position of the observer in the south, at the place of the qi controlling heaven, and facing north, would fit best with the text.

    3.7. The Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and Climatic Changes

    The seven comprehensive discourses on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi devote considerable attention to the qi controlling heaven and to the qi at the fountain because they are assumed to exert a decisive influence on the climate, on the generation and growth of plants and animals, and on the illnesses of the human body. In this regard, the qi controlling heaven may even supersede the influence of the annual period to a certain degree.

    For example, it was observed that humans suffered from illnesses even in (p.434) years when the annual period was considered one of balanced qi. This was attributed to the qi controlling heaven by the statement: “The qi of heaven restrains the [annual qi].”56

    The beginning of the respective dialogue in Su wen 70 reads as follows:

    [Huang] Di:

  • If in a specific year [the arrangement is such that there should] be no illness, and yet the qi in the depots does not correspond. [The qi of that year] does not operate, why is that?
  • Qi Bo:

  • The qi of heaven restrains it. The qi have something they follow.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • I should like to hear this comprehensively.
  • Qi Bo:

  • When the minor yang [qi] controls heaven, and
  • when fire qi comes down, [then]
  • the lung qi rises to follow.
  • White [qi] rises and metal operates.
  • [Hence] herbs and trees are met by disasters.
  • (These are the climatic characteristics of the first half of that year.)
  • Burning heat appears;
  • it alters metal. It even makes it vanish.
  • (Fire overcomes metal)
  • Hence massive summer heat prevails.
  • (The appearance of the climate)
  • [People suffer from] cough, sneezing, stuffy nose, nosebleed, nasal congestion, oral ulcers, cold and heat, as well as fu-swelling.
  • (The resulting illnesses)
  • Wind prevails on the earth;
  • (The qi at the fountain in the second half of the year is wind.)
  • Dust and sand fly whirling up.
  • (The appearance of the climate)
  • [People suffer from] heartache and stomach duct pain, from recession and
  • countermovement, from blockage and impassability.
  • (The resulting illnesses)
  • Its rule is violent and fast
  • (The nature of the qi at the fountain).57
  • The same qi may have different influences on different beings, depending on whether it is controlling heaven or at the fountain. This is outlined especially in another passage in Su wen 70:

    • Hence,
    • when ceasing yin [qi; that is, wood] controls heaven,
    • hairy creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with wood) rest;
    • (p.435) feathered creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with fire) are born:
    • armored creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with metal) do not reach completion (because minor yang qi, i.e., the qi of minister fire, is at the fountain).
    • [When ceasing yin qi, that is, the qi of wood, is] at the fountain,
    • hairy creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with wood) are born;
    • naked creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with soil) are diminished;
    • feathered creatures (i.e., the creatures associated with fire) are not born
    • (because minor yang qi, i.e., the qi of minister fire, controls heaven
    • and is not in power in the second half of the year).58

    It is of interest that the qi controlling heaven does not use its power in the first half of the year to create creatures of its kind. This may be a metaphorical reflection of the idea that the supreme sovereign does not necessarily employ his own force to manage the affairs of the state but has underlings who act for him.

    The qi at the fountain is a transformation of the qi of the earth; it exerts a direct influence on the maturity, generation, and transformation of plants. Su wen 70 states:

    • Hence,
    • when the minor yang [qi] is at the fountain,
    • cold poison is not generated.
    • Its flavor is acrid.
    • It governs bitter and sour [flavor].
    • Its grain are greenish and vermilion.
    • When the yang brilliance [qi] is at the fountain,
    • dampness poison is not generated.
    • Its flavor is sour.
    • 〈Its qi is dampness〉
    • It governs acrid, bitter, and sweet [flavor].
    • Its grain is vermilion and white.59

    The policies of the six qi outlined in Su wen 71 primarily discuss the influence of different qi controlling heaven and at the fountain as well as of the changes of the six steps of the visitor qi in the natural world. These listings are the core of the doctrine of the periods and qi.

    Su wen 71 and 74 offer detailed data on the illnesses of the human body concomitant with the influence of the qi controlling heaven and of the qi at the fountain on the first and second half of any year. For example, following the question, “When the qi of heaven or of the earth encroach upon the interior [of the human body] and [cause an] illness, how is that?”60 the influence of the qi at the fountain and of the qi controlling heaven is outlined as follows:

    Qi Bo:

  • When, in a year when the ceasing yin [qi] is at the fountain,
  • wind encroaches upon what it dominates,
  • (p.436) then the qi [above the] earth is not clear,
  • the plain fields are dark and
  • the herbs flourish early.
  • People suffer from shivering and shaking with cold.
  • They tend to stretch and yawn frequently.
  • The heart aches, and the [chest has a feeling of] propping fullness.
  • The two flanks have internal tightness.
  • Beverages and food do not move down.
  • The throat is blocked and impassable.
  • Eating results in vomiting.
  • The abdomen is distended and one tends to belch.
  • If one can [relieve nature] behind and [passes] qi, [this] causes a comfortable
  • feeling as if [that abdominal distension] had diminished.
  • Body and limbs are all heavy.61
  • When the ceasing yin [qi] controls heaven,
  • wind encroaches upon what it dominates.
  • As a result, the Great Void is darkened by dust.
  • Cloudy things are disturbed.
  • When the cold generates the qi of spring,
  • flowing waters do not freeze [any longer].
  • People suffer from pain in the stomach region. {Exactly at the heart)
  • Above, there is propping fullness in the flanks.
  • The diaphragm and the gullet are impassable;
  • [hence] beverages and food do not move downward.
  • The base of the tongue is stiff.
  • What is eaten is thrown up again.
  • [Patients suffer from] cold diarrhea, distended abdomen,
  • semiliquid [stools], conglomerations, and strangury.
  • 〈The hibernating insects do not leave.〉
  • These diseases originate in the spleen.
  • If the [movement at the] surging yang is interrupted, [the patient] dies and is not treated.62
  • 4. The Five Periods, the Six Qi, and the Climatic Changes

    In the preceding sections of this survey of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi as it underlies the seven comprehensive discourses in the Su wen, we have outlined some basic concepts associated with the five periods and six qi. We have distinguished among the five periods the annual period, the host periods, and the visitor periods, and we have distinguished among the six qi the host qi and the visitor qi, with the visitor qi including the qi controlling heaven, the qi at the fountain, and the intervening qi. Together the five periods and the six qi form a theoretical system to explain laws presumably ruling the generation of climate, of living beings, and of illnesses. (p.437)

    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 16. A Three-Dimensional Model of the Qi Controlling Heaven, the Qi at the Fountain, and the Annual Period

    From the discussions in the seven comprehensive discourses of the Su wen, it is obvious that the most important factors influencing any given year's climate and illnesses are the annual period and the visitor qi. In the context of the five periods, the Su wen repeatedly speaks of the relationships between the annual period and the climate; the host periods and the visitor periods are of less importance.

    The relationships between the six qi and the climatic changes are very close. The visitor qi are the key factors in an understanding of the climate. The general characteristics of the climate within each year are formed by the qi controlling heaven of the visitor qi; the climatic changes in the course of any given year are closely associated with the six steps of the visitor qi, that is, with the qi controlling heaven, the qi at the fountain, and the four intervening qi.

    The interaction of the six visitor qi with the five periods as outlined in the seven comprehensive discourses can be illustrated by the three-dimensional model in diagram 16: the qi controlling heaven is designated as being situated “above” (shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen); it occupies the “upper” (shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) half of a year. It is also called “qi of heaven.” The qi at the fountain is designated as being situated “below” (xia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen); it occupies the “lower” (xia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) half of a year. It is also called “qi of the earth.” The qi associated with the annual period penetrates the entire year in its center.

    (p.438) The most important statements concerning the relationships among the five periods, the six qi, and the climate are found in Su wen 71. This discourse is largely characterized by two comprehensive textual sections listing in a quasi-tabular structure the annual periods and the visitor qi associated with each year in the cycle of altogether sixty years. These two textual sections offer the most explicit data for an examination of the actual functions of the five periods and six qi.

    In the following, these two textual sections of Su wen 71 are surveyed first; then we turn to some technical terms and special issues that appear in these sections.

    4.1. The Table of the Six Qi Controlling Heaven

    This textual section is long; it occupies about one-sixth of the seven comprehensive discourses. Most of it is a detailed table, the structure and contents of which can be understood quite easily once its data are gathered under appropriate headings.

    This table has the six qi controlling heaven as its underlying ordering principle. It outlines the annual period and the visitor qi for each year. Each of the six qi is outlined in two different textual sections. The first section, structured along the five possible annual periods, describes all years of a given qi. The second section does not emphasize periods but lists and describes the characteristics of the years of a given qi in terms of the six qi.

    4.1.1. The Table of Periods

    In the first part of Su wen 71, under each qi controlling heaven and following the sequence of the five periods, the conditions of the periods and the qi, of the climate, and of the illnesses of different annual periods within a cycle of ten years are listed, with each period ruling the two years associated with an identical stem.

    A detailed analysis of the table of periods makes it clear that years associated with major yang qi, minor yang qi, and minor yin qi as their qi controlling heaven are years of a “greatly excessive annual period” (in these years the qi transformations and the prevalence of a period precede their regular calendrical onsets) because their annual stems and annual branches are both yang. In contrast, years associated with yang brilliance qi, major yin qi, and ceasing yin qi as their qi controlling heaven are years of “insufficient annual period” (in these years the qi transformations and the prevalence of a period set in later than their regular calendrical term). The items listed in the table of periods for greatly excessive annual periods and insufficient annual periods are not entirely identical. Hence, in table 8, below, these items appear in two separate columns.

    With respect to years of a greatly excessive annual period, the table lists (p.439)

    Table 8. The Table of Periods

    Number of Item

    Greatly Excessive Annual Period (stem and branch: yang)

    Insufficient Annual Period (stem and branch: yin)

    Introduction to all periods

    1

    name of qi controlling heaven ruling a year

    (identical to left column)

    2

    the two annual branches associated with the qi controlling heaven

    (identical to left column)

    The individual periods (each item repeated five times)

    3

    qi controlling heaven in the first half of a year

    (identical to left column)

    4

    annual period, named after the five musical tones, major or minor

    (identical to left column)

    5

    qi at the fountain in the second half of a year

    (identical to left column)

    6

    climate able to dominate the climate associated with the annual period

    climate able to dominate the former

    “domination and revenge”

    (sometimes) statement: “identical to proper x [musical tone]”

    7

    stem and branch combinations of two different years, (sometimes) statement about a year's being “heavenly complements,” “the year meets,” “Taiyi heavenly complements,” etc.

    (identical to left column)

    8

    (sometimes) statement: “identical to proper x [musical tone]”

    9

    climatic characteristics of the annual period

    (identical to left column)

    10

    climate able to dominate the climate associated with the annual period

    climate able to dominate the former

    11

    “transformations” paralleling the annual period

    12

    “changes” paralleling the annual period

    13

    illnesses going along with the annual period

    14

    sequence of visitor periods with commentaries specifying the beginning and the end of the corresponding host periods

    (identical to left column)

    (p.440) the climatic characteristics of entire years, as well as regular transformations, irregular changes, and illnesses easily contracted.

    In years of an insufficient annual period, the dominant influence on the climate is exerted by the relationships of dominance and revenge among the visitor periods. Hence the column on the right does not give any data on the transformations, changes, and illnesses.

    4.1.2. The Table of Qi

    This is the second part of the discussion of each of the six qi controlling heaven. Because its contents focus on the visitor qi, not on the periods, it is here termed “table of qi.” Within the sixty years of a jia zi cycle, each of the six qi controlling heaven rules ten times over one year. Hence the climatic conditions in these ten years are rather similar.

    The tabularization of the original text in Su wen 71 shows that it contains numerous corruptions; that is, what once may have been a rather systematic listing of parallel sets of data has over the years lost its perfect symmetry through transpositions and through the insertion of elements that may not have originally been part of the “table.”

    The contents of this table of qi can be divided into three sections (see table 9). Section 1 is the most corrupt. Section 2 appears to have retained its original systematic structure best.

    4.2. The Table of the Annual Arrangements of the Five Periods and Six Qi

    This table, too, appears in Su wen 71. It differs from the table of the six qi controlling heaven in that its major structure is an arrangement of years by stems and branches and, on the basis of this sequence, it lists the major conditions of the five periods and six qi in the course of a full cycle of sixty years. The table consists of a total of thirty entries of two years each with identical climatic characteristics.

    The contents of this table follow two lines. The first specifies the conditions of years associated with yang stems, that is, with a greatly excessive annual period. The second specifies the conditions of years associated with yin stems, that is, with an insufficient annual period. For each year, up to a total of fourteen items are listed.

    The examples shown in table 10 comprise the first four years, that is, one listing from each line, to illustrate the general nature of this comprehensive table.63

    In most contemporary books on the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the authors spend long paragraphs teaching their readers how to calculate the period and qi associated with each year so that they may understand whether it is a year of balanced qi, of greatly excessive qi, or of insufficient qi. In contrast, Su wen 71, with its tables of the six qi controlling heaven and of the movement of the five periods and six qi, offers a complete and detailed (p.441)

    Table 9. The Table of Qi

    Section 1: The respective qi controlling heaven and at the fountain and how they influence climate and illness

    1. 1. the name of the qi controlling heaven

    2. 2. the earlier or belated activity of qi and period

    3. 3. general characteristics of the qi controlling heaven and at the fountain

    4. 4. general summary of the climate as influenced by the qi controlling heaven and at the fountain

    5. 5. “combination of virtues” of the agents corresponding to the qi controlling heaven and at the fountain

    6. 6. the stars “corresponding above” to the qi controlling heaven and at the fountain

    7. 7. specific “policies” and “orders”

    8. 8. specific grains

    9. 9. climatic changes

    10. 10. illnesses

    Section 2: The climate and the illnesses ruled by each step of the six qi

    1. 1. initial qi: climate, illnesses

    2. 2. second qi: climate, illnesses

    3. 3. third qi: climate, illnesses

    4. 4. fourth qi: climate, illnesses

    5. 5. fifth qi: climate, illnesses

    6. 6. final qi: climate, illnesses

    Section 3: Therapeutic principles and patterns

    1. 1. general therapeutic principles

    2. 2. food, grain

    3. 3. appropriate flavors of drugs and food, therapeutic patterns

    4. 4. determination of a therapy on the basis of qi

    5. 5. the nature of drugs and the seasons of their use

    6. 6. issues to be considered

    survey of the changing periods and qi in a cycle of sixty years. All a reader has to know is a given year's stem and branches. He or she may then check these tables for this year's period and qi, for its climatic condition and illnesses.

    5. Theoretical Issues from the Su Wen Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi

    5.1. The Qi Controlling Heaven “Comes Down” the Qi at the Fountain “Joins” from Below

    The doctrine of the five periods and six qi employs a visual model of three levels. “Above” is the qi controlling heaven; “below” is the qi at the fountain. (p.442)

    Table 10. The Table of the Annual Arrangements of the Five Periods and Six Qi

    Greatly Excessive

    Annual Period

    (stem and branch association: yang)

    Inadequate

    Annual Period

    (stem and branch association: yin)

    1

    annual stem and branches

    jia zi, jia wu

    yi chou, yi wei

    2

    qi controlling heaven above

    minor yin,

    fire

    major yin,

    soil

    3

    annual period in the center

    major gong,

    soil

    minor shang,

    metal

    4

    qi at the fountain below

    yang brilliance,

    metal

    major yang,

    water

    5

    activities of the climate able to dominate the climate of the period and of the climate able to dominate the former,

    heat and cold transformation

    domination and revenge

    domination and revenge equal

    commentary:

    these are so-called days of transformation of evil qi

    6

    catastrophe in which mansion

    catastrophe in the seventh

    7

    transformation of the qi controlling heaven and number

    heat

    transformation

    two

    dampness

    transformation

    five

    8

    transformation of central period and number

    rain

    transformation

    five

    coolness

    transformation

    four

    9

    transformation of the qi at the fountain and number

    dryness

    transformation

    four

    cold

    transformation

    six

    10

    commentary:

    these are so-called days of transformation of proper (qi)

    (identical to left column)

    11

    nature and flavor “transforming the above”

    salty, cold

    bitter, heat

    12

    nature and flavor “transforming the center”

    bitter, heat

    sour, harmonious

    13

    nature and flavor “transforming the below”

    sour, heat

    sweet, heat

    14

    commentary:

    these are so-called appropriate drugs and food

    (identical to left column)

    (p.443) Both are visitor qi. In the “center” is the annual period. In another context, the central position is also the position of human existence between heaven “above” and the earth “below.” Seen from this central position, the arrival of the qi controlling heaven from “above” can be termed Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, shang lin, “coming down from above.”

    Lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis occasionally used in the Su wen in the meaning of lai lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “to arrive,” “to come,” “to attend,” or mian lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen“to be faced with.” In this context, the encounter indicated is meant to occur between two parties occupying different hierarchical levels. For example:

    • I wish to attend a patient …64
    • As if one looked down into a deep abyss …65
    Or:
    • When the wood period comes down on mao,
    • when the fire period comes down on wu, …66

    Hence, the dominant usage of the term lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenoccurs in the context of something higher coming down to meet or join or inspect something lower. For example:

    Huang Di … looked down and observed (lin guan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) the eight farthest [regions].67

    In the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the term lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis used primarily as a metaphor to indicate the hierarchical position of the qi controlling heaven, which is situated “above” man in the center and “above” the qi at the fountain “below.” The qi controlling heaven is considered a ruler who “comes down” from an unspecified background in the Great Void to assume the position “above” or to affect that which is below. For example:

    The minor yang [qi] comes down [to take the position] above (lin shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen). The rain has a limit.68

    Or:

    When in a wu zi [year] or a wu wu [year, that is, a] major zhi [year], minor yin [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year] (shang lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), …69

    Or

    When the minor yang [qi] controls heaven, and

    when fire qi comes down … (xia lin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).70

    An exception to this rule is a statement in Su wen 71 in which another visitor qi is said to “come down”:

    Occasionally, the metaphor of a sovereign coming down to “rule” the world is made explicit by the term yu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, literally, “to control horses.” For example:

    The transformations resulting from the coming down, and assuming control (lin yu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), of cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness, wind, and fire.72

    Or:
    • The massive transformations in heaven and earth,
    • the [time] terms of the progression [of the five periods],
    • the arrangements of [the qi] coming down and assuming control, …73

    Obviously, the term lin cannot be employed to indicate the arrival of or impact exerted by someone situated “below.” Hence Su wen 71 speaks of jia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “to join,” when it refers to the arrival of the qi at the fountain.74

    5.2. Domination and Revenge

    The concept of domination, sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and revenge, fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, is another social metaphor that plays an important role in the doctrine of the five periods and six qi. Hence Su wen 74 at one point states:

    • [If someone is] familiar with domination and revenge,
    • he will establish a model for all mankind.75

    Generally, a climate that is present in excessive intensity during its time of rule will be followed by its opposite climate in equal intensity, as if the latter were to carry out a “revenge” against the former. As the Su wen states:

    • The qi of domination and revenge
    • are present in regular [sequence].76

    Among the seven comprehensive discourses, the issue of domination and revenge is discussed openly in at least five treatises, with Su wen 69, 71, and 74 devoting the most space to this concept.

    5.2.1. Domination and Revenge in Relation to the Annual Period

    In discussing the greatly excessive and the insufficient manifestations of the “transformations of the five periods,” Su wen 69 lists the climate, the illnesses, and the stars corresponding to each annual period. However, explicit reference to domination and revenge is found only for years associated with an inadequate annual period. The text reads as follows:

    • (p.445) If in a year [associated with wood the qi of] wood is inadequate,
    • dryness prevails everywhere.…
    • When it comes to revenge, then
    • there is flaming summer heat [as if there were] fire flowing.…
    • If in a year [associated with fire the qi of] fire is inadequate,
    • cold prevails everywhere.…
    • When it comes to revenge, then
    • dust [causes] pressure.
    • Also, massive rain arrives.…
    • If in a year [associated with soil the qi of] soil is inadequate,
    • wind prevails everywhere.…
    • When it comes to revenge, then
    • the policy of gathering is harsh and violent.…
    • If in a year [associated with metal the qi of] metal is inadequate,
    • flaming fire is active.…
    • When it comes to revenge, then
    • cold rain arrives all of a sudden.…
    • If in a year [associated with water the qi of] water is inadequate,
    • dampness prevails everywhere.…
    • When it comes to revenge,
    • then strong wind emerges suddenly.
    • The herbs are bent down, and the [leaves of the] trees fall.77

    When the annual period is inadequate, the period dominating it in terms of the mutual domination order among the five agents comes to dominate it. The resulting climate is that associated with the period that has come to dominate the inadequate annual period. When the term of the dominating period has reached its end, a period able to take revenge arrives. In the order of mutual generation among the five agents, the revenge period is associated with the agent generated by the agent associated with the inadequate annual period; it is also the period that, in terms of the mutual domination order among the five agents, is able to dominate the period that had taken advantage of the inadequacy of the annual period. For example, if the annual period is associated with the agent wood, its inadequacy will entice a visitor period associated with the agent metal to take advantage of this inadequacy. Metal is able to overcome wood. Hence the period of dryness prevails. Eventually, a period associated with fire will arrive to take revenge. Fire is the son of wood; it takes revenge for what happened to its mother. Fire is able to subdue metal. Hence flames and summer heat succeed the period of dryness.

    The subsequent section of Su wen 69 outlines additional details on the seasonal regularities to be expected under conditions of domination and revenge:

    • (p.446) [In a year] when the [qi of] wood is inadequate,
    • if in spring there is transformation [resulting in] twigs sounding as if [they produced] pleasant tones,
    • then in autumn there is a policy of fog and dew and coolness.
    • If in spring there is a domination of chilliness, which injures and destroys, then in summer there is a revenge [resulting in] flaming summer heat, burning and melting.…
    • [In a year] when the fire [qi] is inadequate,
    • if in summer transformation [results in] lucidity and
    • brilliance, luminosity and clearness,
    • then in winter there is a policy of harsh sternness and frost and cold.
    • If in summer there is a domination of chilliness and of piercing frost,
    • then there is a revenge [resulting in] darkness caused by dust and
    • massive rain that may occur when it is not their time.…
    • [In a year] when the soil [qi] is inadequate,
    • if at the [ends of the] four ropes78 transformation [results in] clouds of dust and moisture,
    • then in spring there is a policy of twigs sounding as [if there were] drumming and breaking open.
    • If at the [ends of] the four ropes there appears a change to shaking and pulling, whirling and surging,
    • then in autumn there is a revenge [resulting in] sternness and killing and in long-lasting rain.…
    • [In a year] when the metal [qi] is inadequate,
    • if in summer there is a command of luminosity and clearness, pressure and steam,
    • then in winter there is a response of harsh freezing, correction, and sternness.
    • If in summer there is a change to flaming, melting, burning, and blazing,
    • then in autumn there is a revenge [resulting in] ice, hail, frost, and snow.…
    • [In a year] when the water [qi] is inadequate,
    • if at the [ends of the] four ropes transformation [results in] whirling and moisture and in clouds of dust,
    • then there is a correspondence of mild wind, of generation and development that may occur when it is not their time.
    • If at the [ends of the] four ropes there appears a change to darkness because of dust and to flooding because of rainstorms,
    • then there is a revenge [resulting in] whirling and moving here and there, in shaking and pulling that may occur when it is not their time.79

    If, in a year associated with an inadequate annual period, no dominating qi takes advantage of this inadequacy and arises, then no revenge is possible subsequently. A normal situation is referred to by the terms “transformation,” hua Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and “command,” zheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Only if the climate associated with the agent able to dominate the annual period manifests itself strongly, then there (p.447) will be a revenge. The case of a year with an inadequate annual period of wood serves as an example. Spring is the season associated with wood. If in spring a climate appears indicating that metal subdues wood (metal is associated with the qi of dryness that should prevail only in autumn), a situation manifesting itself as bitter cold that injures and destroys, then fire comes next to subdue the metal. Hence in summer the qi of fire arrives to take revenge. This summer will be even hotter than a regular summer.

    Once these basic rules of domination and revenge are understood, some unclear passages in the section on the “three arrangements” in Su wen 70 immediately become clear:

    • An arrangement of “discarded harmony” (i.e., a year with an inadequate annual period of wood), …
    • If there is whistling of cold winds, sternness and killing, then flames and redness of fire, boiling and bubbling [appear in revenge].… {This is so-called revenge.…
    • An arrangement of “hidden brilliance” (i.e., a year with an inadequate annual period of fire), …
    • If there is freezing and piercing cold, then violent and long-lasting rain [appear in revenge].…
    • An arrangement of “inferior supervision” (i.e., a year with an inadequate annual period of soil), …
    • If there is shaking and pulling, [wind] whirling and surging, then aging and drying, dispersion and falling to the ground [appear in revenge].…
    • An arrangement of “accepted change” (i.e., a year with an inadequate annual period of metal), …
    • If there is flaming light and fiery redness, then ice, snow, frost, and hail [appear in revenge].…
    • An arrangement of “dried-up flow” (i.e., a year with an inadequate annual period of water), …
    • If there is darkness because of dust, and if there are squalls of rain, then shaking and pulling, breaking and plucking [appear in revenge].80

    Similarly, in the “tables” of the periods and of the qi in Su wen 71, the conditions of domination and revenge are addressed clearly for all years of annual period inadequacy. To take an arrangement of yang brilliance, that is, of an inadequate annual period, as an example:

    [The first two arrangements include the years when] yang brilliance [controls heaven], minor jue [is the annual period], and minor yin [is at the fountain]. Coolness domination and heat revenge is the same [in both minor jue years].…

    [The second two arrangements include the years when] yang brilliance [controls heaven], minor zhi [is the annual period], and minor yin [is at the fountain]. (p.448) Cold domination and rain revenge is the same [in both minor zhi years].…

    [The third two arrangements include the years when] yang brilliance [controls heaven], minor gong [is the annual period], and minor yin [is at the fountain]. Wind domination and coolness revenge is the same [in both minor gong years].…

    [The fourth two arrangements include the years when] yang brilliance [controls heaven], minor shang [is the annual period], and minor yin [is at the fountain]. Heat domination and cold revenge is the same [in both minor shang years].…

    [The fifth two arrangements include the years when] yang brilliance [controls heaven], minor yu [is the annual period], and minor yin [is at the fountain]. Rain domination and wind revenge is the same [in both minor yu years].81

    Coolness domination and heat revenge are the same in both minor jue years because of the following calculation. Minor jue stands for an indequate wood period. Metal comes to subdue the wood. Hence cool qi associated with metal dominates. Fire comes to subdue the metal; that is, heat qi comes to take revenge. Hence in both minor jue years, “coolness domination and heat revenge is the same.”

    The same concept is employed in the listing of “the table of the annual arrangements of the five periods and six qi” in Su wen 71. To take the second entry as an example,

    • Yi chou and yi wei years:
    • In the upper [half of the year]: major yin, soil.
    • In the center: minor shang, metal period.
    • In the lower [half of the year]: major yang, water.
    • Heat transformation, cold transformation; domination and revenge are identical [in these two years].82

    Minor shang stands for a year associated with an inadequate metal period. Fire comes to subdue the metal. Hence the dominating qi is “heat transformation.” When the term of the dominating qi has reached its end, the revenge qi arrives. Water subdues fire. These, then, are the “cold transformations.”

    The fourth entry is

    • Ding mao and ding you years:
    • In the upper [half of the year]: yang brilliance, metal.
    • In the center: minor jiao, wood period.
    • In the lower [half of the year]: minor yin, fire.
    • Coolness transformation, heat transformation; domination and revenge are identical [in these two years].83

    The same idea is expressed in Su wen 69:

    • (p.449) [In a year] when the [qi of] wood is inadequate,
    • if in spring there is transformation [resulting in] twigs sounding as if [they produced] pleasant tones,
    • then in autumn there is a policy of fog and dew and coolness.
    • If in spring there is a dominance of chilliness, which injures and destroys, then in summer there is a revenge [resulting in] flaming summer heat, burning and melting.84

    What has been outlined so far is the relationship between domination and revenge, on the one hand, and inadequate annual periods, on the other. However, domination and revenge may occur in years associated with a greatly excessive annual period too. Hence in the listing of the three arrangements in Su wen 70 we read the following statements:

    • An arrangement of effusive growth (i.e., an annual period of excessive wood), …
    • If it fails to live up to its virtue, then the qi of gathering (i.e., the qi of metal) takes revenge.85
    • An arrangement of fire-red sunlight (i.e., an annual period of excessive fire), …
    • If its policy [brings about] violence and fieriness, then the qi of storing (i.e., the qi of water) will [come up] as revenge.86

    This type of domination and revenge refers to an excessive intensity of an already greatly excessive dominating qi. As a result, the qi able to subdue it comes for revenge. This is very different from the structure of domination and revenge in years associated with an inadequate annual period.

    But regardless of whether it is in years associated with greatly excessive or inadequate annual periods, the manifestations of domination and revenge always follow the patterns of generation and subduing among the five agents. Domination and revenge among the six qi follow a different pattern.

    5.2.2. The Onset of Revenge among Periods

    An examination of the data offered by Su wen 69 and 70 suggests that the onset of revenge among periods can be determined by two criteria. First, it corresponds to the season when that qi reaches domination that is able to take revenge against a qi dominating an inadequate annual period.

    For example, in Su wen 69, when the annual period of soil is inadequate, the qi of wood will exploit this situation and come to dominate (i.e., it causes “shaking and pulling”). Once the season of autumn begins, the qi associated with autumn, metal, which is also the son of soil, will take revenge and subdue wood (i.e., by “sternness and killing”):

    • [In a year] when the soil [qi] is inadequate,
    • if at the [ends of the] four ropes transformation [results in] clouds of dust and moisture,
    • (p.450) then in spring there is a policy of twigs sounding as [if there were] drumming and breaking open.
    • If at the [ends of] the four ropes there appears a change to shaking and pulling, whirling and surging,
    • then in autumn there is a revenge [resulting in] sternness and killing, and in long-lasting rain.87

    Second, the time of revenge is the season immediately following that season whose qi dominates an inadequate annual period. The five-agents association of the season taking revenge is irrelevant in this case.

    For example, in Su wen 69, when the annual period of metal is inadequate, the qi of summer, fire, will exploit this situation and come to dominate (i.e., there is a “change to flaming, melting, burning, and blazing”). The subsequent season, autumn, carries out a revenge with water (i.e., “ice, hail, frost, and snow”), even though autumn is associated not with water but with metal, which usually is unable to dominate fire.

    • [In a year] when the metal [qi] is inadequate,
    • if in summer there is a command of luminosity and clearness, pressure and steam,
    • then in winter there is a response of harsh freezing, correction, and sternness.
    • If in summer there is a change to flaming, melting, burning, and blazing,
    • then in autumn there is a revenge [resulting in] ice, hail, frost, and snow.88

    5.2.3. Domination and Revenge among the Six Visitor Qi

    While situations of domination and revenge among the five periods can be calculated in advance and hence are predictable, this system appears not to have sufficed to explain satisfactorily all cases of domination and revenge observed in nature. Hence Su wen 71 and 74 contain additional concepts possibly designed to cover unexpected climatic conditions manifesting themselves as a dramatic response to a previous excess. The reader is told only the signs in nature indicating an imminent outbreak of such responses and also the illnesses that are to be expected to accompany these responses. These illnesses themselves, in turn, serve to identify the nature of these responses.

    Su wen 74 has a long list of all the consequences of a domination of the six visitor qi, followed by a list of all the consequences of a revenge taken by the six qi. Two examples may serve for comparison.

    • When the minor yang dominates,
    • heat settles in the stomach.
    • The heart is vexed and has pain.
    • The eyes are red. [Patients] wish to vomit.
    • What is vomited has a sour [flavor]. [Patients] tend to be hungry.
    • The ears have pain; the urine is red.
    • [Patients] tend to be frightened and to make incoherent and absurd speeches.
    • (p.451) Violent heat [causes] wasting away [as if] melting.
    • The herbs wither and the water dries up.
    • The armored creatures crouch.
    • The lower abdomen has pain;
    • the downpour is red and white.89
    • When the minor yang takes revenge,
    • massive heat will arrive,
    • [causing] withering, dryness, and blazing.
    • The armored creatures vanish.
    • [People suffer from] fright, spasms, coughing, and nosebleed;
    • their hearts are hot, vexed, and overexcited.
    • They frequently relieve themselves and they dislike wind.
    • Receding qi moves upward.
    • The face looks as if covered by dust.
    • The eyes have twitching and spasms.
    • Fire qi effuses internally and
    • causes oral putrescence above because of vomiting and [qi] moving contrary [to its regular course].
    • [Patients suffer from] blood overflow and blood outflow.
    • When [the fire qi] effuses it causes malaria.
    • [Patients have] an aversion to cold. Their teeth chatter and [the body] shivers.
    • When the cold has reached its peak, heat returns.
    • The throat and the network [vessels] burn and dry out.
    • [Patients are] thirsty and long for water and broth.
    • The color changes to yellow and red.
    • They are short of qi and the vessels decay.
    • [The heat] may transform into a water [disease];
    • transmission may generate fu-swelling.
    • In severe cases it enters the lung,
    • leading to coughing and blood outflow.
    • If the [movement at the] foot marsh is interrupted,
    • [the patient] dies and is not treated.90

    A comparison of the conditions concomitant with the presence of minor yang qi as a dominating qi and as a qi taking revenge shows that the climates are similar but not identical. Fire and heat going along with a minister fire that dominates or takes revenge are excessive in both cases. Armored creatures suffer under both terms. In terms of illnesses, there are parallels as well as differences. Generally, though, these illnesses are pathological changes mostly affecting the gall conduit. Minor yang is fire; fire subdues metal. Hence, among the organs, the lung is harmed. If the movement in the vessels at “the foot marsh is interrupted,” then the movement in the lung vessels is interrupted.

    (p.452) Even though the list of dominating visitor qi begins with the question “The six qi dominate each other. How is that?” the subsequent survey offers no clues as to when or why a specific visitor qi appears to dominate or to take revenge. Obviously, domination and revenge among the visitor qi are unrelated to inadequacy or great excess of the annual periods.

    Only a short-term prediction is possible on the basis of mostly meteorological indicators:

    [Huang] Di:

  • The domination of [any of] the six qi, how can it be examined?
  • Qi Bo:

  • Take advantage of their arrival.
  • When cool qi arrives massively,
  • that is a domination of dryness [qi].
  • Wind and wood receive evil [qi].
  • Liver diseases emerge from this.
  • When heat qi arrives massively,
  • that is a domination of fire [qi].
  • Metal and dryness receive evil [qi].
  • Lung diseases emerge from this.
  • When cold qi arrives massively,
  • that is a domination of water [qi].
  • Fire and heat receive evil [qi].
  • Heart diseases emerge from this.
  • When dampness qi arrives massively,
  • that is a domination of soil [qi].
  • Cold and water receive evil [qi].
  • Kidney diseases emerge from this.
  • When wind qi arrives massively,
  • that is a domination of wood [qi].
  • Soil and dampness receive evil [qi].
  • Spleen diseases emerge from this.91
  • Although domination and revenge among the six visitor qi, like the domination and revenge during inadequate annual periods, can thus be explained on the basis of mutual subduing and domination among the five agents, it remains unclear which condition stimulates the domination of a visitor qi.

    5.2.4. The Times of Domination and Revenge among the Six Qi

    A definition of the times of domination and revenge among the six visitor qi is offered by Su wen 74:

    [Huang] Di:

  • The movement of the dominating [qi] and of [the qi of] revenge,
  • (p.453) do the times [when they occur] have any regularity?
  • Is the [arrival of these] qi a must?
  • Qi Bo:

  • The times [of their movement] occupy regular positions,
  • but the qi do not necessarily [move].
  • [Huang] Di:

  • I should like to hear the Way of this.
  • Qi Bo:

  • [From] the first qi and ending with the third qi,
  • that is the [term] ruled by the qi of heaven.
  • This is the regular [time of the] dominating [qi].
  • [From] the fourth qi and ending with the final qi,
  • that is the [term] ruled by the qi of the earth.
  • This is the regular [time of the] revenge [qi].
  • Where there is domination, there will be revenge;
  • where there is no domination, there will be no [revenge].92
  • The meaning is that within the course of one year, the time periods of the appearance of domination and revenge among visitor qi are fixed. That is, domination always develops in the first half of the year, which is ruled by the qi controlling heaven (initial qi through third qi). The revenge always develops in the second half of the year, which is ruled by the qi at the fountain (fourth qi through final qi). This is what is meant by “the times when the dominating [qi] and [the qi of] revenge become active follow a regularity.”

    While the statements quoted above suggest that domination and revenge among visitor qi occurs in the first and second half of a year respectively, Su wen 74 contains an alternative implying that domination is followed by revenge immediately, regardless of whether it is in the first or the second half of a given year.

    At the time when the dominating qi is right in its abundance, the sprouts of the revenge qi already emerge. When the dominating qi comes to an end, the revenge qi rises immediately. The strength of the domination and the strength of the revenge correspond to each other. The stronger the dominating qi, the stronger the revenge qi. That is what is meant by Su wen 74:

    [Huang] Di:

  • The changes [resulting from] domination and revenge,
  • they may be early or late; how is that?
  • Qi Bo:

  • Now, as for the dominating [qi],
  • the dominating [qi] arrives and already disease sets in.
  • While the disease gains in strength,
  • the revenge [qi] already sprouts.
  • (p.454) Now, as for the revenge [qi],
  • when the dominating [qi] is exhausted, it rises.
  • When it has assumed its position [the commands it issues] are severe.
  • Domination may be slight or severe;
  • the revenge [qi may respond] in small or large quantities.
  • When the dominating [qi] is harmonious, [the revenge qi] will be harmonious [too].
  • When the dominating [qi] is depleted, [the revenge qi] will be depleted [too].
  • That is the regularity of heaven.93
  • 5.2.5. The Conclusion of Domination and Revenge among the Six Qi

    In general, domination qi comes first and the qi of revenge follows:

    • When there is a dominating qi,
    • there will be revenge.94
    The question that remains is whether one incidence of revenge suffices to end a cycle of domination and revenge. Hence Huang Di asks:

    When a revenge is completed and [another] domination [occurs], how is that?

    Qi Bo:

  • When dominating [qi] has arrived, then a revenge [qi will follow].
  • There is no regularity as to how frequently [this repeats itself].
  • When [the dominating qi and the qi taking revenge have] weakened, the [cycle of domination and revenge] will come to an end.
  • When, after the revenge is completed, there is domination [again] which is not followed by revenge, this will cause harm.95
  • The above quotation suggests that domination and revenge among the six qi can continue to alternate without end. When an initial revenge has come to an end, another dominating qi develops; when the dominating qi has arrived, there will be another revenge qi. There is no fixed time limit. Only after the dominating and the revenge qi have successively weakened does this succession come to an end. If a revenge qi has come to an end and another dominating qi emerges that is not then followed by a revenge qi, that means the revenge qi has weakened already; it has no strength to return once more. Such an ending may result in catastrophes and will harm life.

    Also in Su wen 74 we read the following:

    [Huang] Di:

  • If there is revenge and if contrary [to the rule], a disease [emerges nevertheless], how is that?
  • Qi Bo:

  • It occupies a position which is not its own.
  • [The qi and the position it occupies] do not agree with each other.
  • (p.455) If massive revenge is taken against a domination, then the host [qi] will dominate the [qi taking revenge].
  • Hence, contrary [to the rule], a disease [emerges].
  • {This applies to fire, dryness, and heat.}96
  • Revenge originally is a type of regulation by nature of a dominating qi. If at the time of the presence of a revenge qi problems develop nevertheless, that means the position occupied by the revenge qi is not good; it does not fit the host qi. For example, the revenge qi is minor yin or minor yang, that is, the qi of fire and heat. However, when it occupies the position at the fountain (sixth qi) and when it meets with the sixth host qi, which is cold, that is, water, this will lead to irregular phenomena. When fire-heat qi takes massive revenge against the dominating qi of the first half of the year, the qi of cold-water of the host qi will set out to subdue it. Hence the revenge qi itself will have a problem, in contrast to its normal effect. That may be what is meant by the phrase Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, which translates as

    • When the host dominates, this is opposition;
    • when the visitor dominates, this is compliance.97

    If one has understood that there are two types of domination and revenge, one among the periods and another among the six qi, then it is possible to understand some seemingly contradictory discourses. Su wen 71 states:

    • All these
    • arrangements of definite time periods, [all]
    • domination and revenge, as well as the proper transformations,
    • they all have [their] regular numbers.98

    5.2.6. Domination without Revenge among Visitor and Host

    Above we read a basic principle, possibly a later commentary inserted into the main text:

    • Where there is domination, there will be revenge;
    • where there is no domination, there will be no [revenge].99

    However, Su wen 74 also has the following dialogue:

    [Huang] Di:

  • What about domination and revenge [in the relationship] between visitor [qi] and host [qi]?
  • Qi Bo:

  • The visitor qi and the host qi,
  • they dominate [when it is their time], but such [domination] is not [followed by] revenge.100
  • The reason why there cannot be any sequence of domination and revenge between host qi and visitor qi is easily understandable. In the words of Zhang (p.456) Jiebin, because the host qi are fixed while the visitor qi change year after year, “when a qi is strong, it dominates. When its time has passed, then it ends.”101 There is no opportunity for revenge.

    Su wen 74 does not explain the circumstances under which the visitor dominates and those under which the host dominates. It simply proceeds to ask, “How does this [influence the] generation of disease?” Then Qi Bo lists all the ailments that are generated under conditions of a domination of the visitor qi controlling heaven and at the fountain and of a domination of the host qi.

    Qi Bo:

  • When the ceasing yin [qi] controls heaven,
  • in case the visitor [qi] dominates,
  • then [people suffer from] ringing [sounds] in the ears, and from swaying and dizziness.
  • When [the domination is] severe, then [the patients] cough.
  • In case the host [qi] dominates,
  • then there is pain in the chest and in the flanks, and
  • the tongue has difficulties in speaking.…102
  • When the ceasing yin [qi] is at the fountain,
  • in case the visitor [qi] dominates,
  • then the large joints do not move freely;
  • internally this causes tetany and stiffness, cramps and spasms.
  • Externally, [the sinews] do not move comfortably.
  • In case the host [qi] dominates,
  • then the sinews and bones shake or are cramped.
  • Lower back and abdomen have frequent pain.103
  • From these passages and from the types of ailments listed, it is obvious that the “visitor domination” and “host domination” mentioned here do not refer to a mutual domination or mutual subduing among the six qi; rather, it is a mutual domination and mutual subduing among the six visitor qi, on the one hand, and the six host qi, on the other.

    5.2.7. Domination Contrary to Normal

    “Domination contrary [to normal],” fan sheng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, refers to a situation when the qi that “transforms in heaven” (i.e., the qi controlling heaven) and the qi that “controls on the earth” (i.e., the qi at the fountain) should dominate but are unable to do so. Rather, they are subdued by yet another qi. Because the qi controlling heaven and the qi at the fountain are the proper qi of heaven and earth, each ruling one-half of a year, if they are not sufficiently strong, so that another qi takes advantage of this depletion and assumes domination, then this (p.457) latter qi will be viewed as “evil qi,” exerting “domination contrary to normal.” Examples of such situations, entailing irregular climatic conditions, are listed only in Su wen 74:

    • When wind controls on the earth and
    • coolness contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When heat controls on the earth and
    • cold contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When dampness controls on the earth and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When fire controls on the earth and
    • cold contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When dryness controls on the earth and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When cold controls on the earth and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When wind transforms in heaven and
    • coolness contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When heat transforms in heaven and
    • cold contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When dampness transforms in heaven and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When fire transforms in heaven and
    • cold contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When dryness transforms in heaven and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …
    • When cold transforms in heaven and
    • heat contrary [to normal] dominates it, …104

    5.2.8. Therapeutic Patterns of Domination and Revenge

    The therapeutic patterns required to respond to pathological effects resulting from domination and revenge among the six qi are outlined in detail in Su wen 74, following the listing of the dominations of the six qi and of the revenges taken by the six qi. For example:

    • When the ceasing yin dominates,
    • this is treated with sweet [flavor] and coolness.
    • To assist use bitter [flavor] and acrid [flavor].
    • Use sour [flavor] to discharge it.…105
    • When the ceasing yin takes revenge,
    • this is treated with sour [flavor] and cold.
    • (p.458) To assist use sweet [flavor] and acrid [flavor].
    • Use sour [flavor] to discharge it;
    • use sweet [flavor] to relax it.…106
    • The treatment of all [conditions of] domination or revenge is [as follows]:
    • what is cold, heat it;
    • what is hot, make it cold;
    • what is warm, cool it;
    • what is cool, warm it; …
    • Always pacify the respective qi.
    • It must be cleared and it must be calmed.
    • As a result, the disease qi will weaken and leave and return to its origin.
    • This is the entire complex of treatment.107

    In the listing of the arrangements of the five periods and of the movements of the six qi as they rule a year in Su wen 71, following years of identical heavenly stems there is always the phrasing

    • These transformations
    • in the upper [half of the year require] …,
    • in the center [require] …,
    • in the lower [half of the year require] …
    • These are the so-called requirements of drugs and food.108
    For example, in jia zi and jia wu years:
    • These transformations
    • in the upper [half of the year require] salty [flavor] and cold,
    • in the center [require] bitter [flavor] and heat,
    • in the lower [half of the year require] sour [flavor] and heat.
    • These are so-called requirements of drugs and food.109
    However, these temperature qualities and flavors refer to qualities and flavors that need to be applied in treatments corresponding to the qi controlling heaven, the central period, and the qi at the fountain. They do not serve specifically to treat the qi of domination and revenge.

    In contrast, earlier in Su wen 71, in the “table of the six qi controlling heaven,” following each season a specific therapeutic pattern is recommended. Generally, in years of a greatly excessive annual period, the therapeutic pattern required is “to restrain the period qi; to support that which does not dominate it.” In years of an inadequate annual period, the therapy required is to “increase the period qi; do not let the evil dominate.” However, regardless of whether the annual period is greatly excessive or inadequate, one always wants to “break the qi oppressing it and to assist the origin of its transformation first.”

    Seen from the preceding and from the subsequent text, “oppressing qi” (p.459) refers to a qi that causes another qi to be oppressed. For example, in years of a greatly excessive wood period, wood subdues soil. Hence soil is oppressed. In this case, the oppressing qi is the greatly excessive qi of the wood period. In years of an inadequate wood period, metal subdues wood. Wood is oppressed. Hence metal is the oppressing qi. For treatment, it is essential to “break the oppressing qi” and see to it that it is no longer greatly excessive. Also, one wants to assist the origin or source of regular transformations and see to it that it reaches a balance.

    In the final analysis, the “perfect treatment” as referred to in Su wen 71 is as follows:

    • “Not to lose the trust of heaven, and
    • not to oppose the requirements of the qi,
    • so as not to give wings to the dominating [qi], and
    • not to support revenge,”
    • this is what is called perfect treatment.110
    In other words, at the time of dominating qi or revenge qi, one must not use drugs that have the same nature as these qi, and one must eliminate those qi that might support the qi of domination and revenge.

    5.3. Oppression and Effusion

    Although the principle of domination and revenge pervades the seven comprehensive treatises, we have already encountered one notable exception: the relationship between visitor qi and host qi. Obviously, the social metaphor implied here acknowledges that there are some relationships in which temporary domination is justified and does not necessarily provoke revenge.

    In Su wen 71, a further model is introduced, explaining a reaction to domination that differs from the revenge model. Domination, in this model, is termed “oppression,” yu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and “harassment,” fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and the reaction is called “effusion” or “outbreak,” fa Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. In the domination-revenge model, the dominated party itself does not react; a third party closely related to it must arrive to take revenge. In contrast, in the oppression/harassment—effusion/outbreak model, the oppressed party itself is able to react. “Pressure generates counterpressure” appears to be the law underlying this model.

    The following is a comparison of the domination-revenge model and the oppression-effusion model in a year associated with an inadequate annual period of wood.

    1. a. The course of domination and revenge:

      Metal subdues/dominates wood. Metal is the dominating qi. Fire is the son of wood and subdues metal. Fire is the revenge qi.

    2. (p.460) b. The course of oppression and effusion:

      Metal oppresses wood. Metal is the oppressor. Eventually wood will effuse. Wood is the effusing qi.

    The corresponding section in Su wen 71 is opened by a somewhat enigmatic question voiced by Huang Di, preceding a dialogue on the oppression-effusion model that reads as follows:

    [Huang] Di:

  • The qi of the five periods,
  • will they, too, be followed by revenge years?
  • Qi Bo:

  • What is under utmost pressure will break out;
  • wait for its time, and it will become active.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • I should like to ask what this is to say.111
  • The subsequent explanations offered by Qi Bo leave open which kind of periods (host or visitor) are “oppressed” and why the oppressed periods effuse at times identified in terms of the six host qi. Nor does the Su wen offer any clues on how to calculate in advance the moment a oppression has reached its peak. As the text states:

    • [First] there are [phenomena] corresponding to the harassed [qi],
    • then comes the retribution.
    • It is always such that when one
    • observes the peak of the [pressure],
    • [then] the outbreak occurs.112

    Hence an impending effusion can be predicted by observing specific signs in nature rather than by long-term calculations. For example, in the case of oppressed wood qi:

    • When the herbs [on the banks] of long rivers are bent down,
    • when soft leaves display their yin (i.e., their lower side),
    • when the pines moan in the high mountains, and
    • when tigers roar on the mountain canyons,
    • then these are the first signs of a harassed [qi of wood ready to break out].113

    The timetable of an eventual outbreak of oppressed qi differs significantly from the foreseeable onset of a revenge.

    • The outbreak of oppressed soil … at the [time of the] fourth qi.
    • The outbreak of oppressed metal … its qi is the fifth.
    • The outbreak of oppressed water … before or after the two fires.
    • The outbreak of oppressed wood … its qi is irregular.
    • The outbreak of oppressed fire … its qi is the fourth.114
    (p.461)

    Table 11. The Effusion of an Oppressed Period

    Oppressed Period

    Time of Effusion

    Corresponding Season

    soil

    fourth qi

    late summer, dampness and soil

    metal

    fifth qi

    autumn, dryness and metal

    water

    before/after the two fires

    end of spring to late summer

    wood

    irregular

    each season

    fire

    fourth qi

    late summer, dampness and soil

    The “qi” referred to here is the host qi. The fourth host qi is major yin, dampness and soil. The fifth host qi is yang brilliance, dryness and metal. “Before or after the two fires” refers to the minister fire of minor yang and to the ruling fire of minor yin. The system underlying the statements quoted above is illustrated in table 11.

    Both oppressed soil qi and suppressed fire qi will break out in late summer. The reason for this dual association is not clear. Why the effusion of water qi occurs before the term of minor yang or after minor yin, that is, before the second qi or following the third qi, remains unclear too. Wood qi can break out at any time; hence strong winds may blow in all four seasons. Winter does not have any specific outbreaks of oppressed qi assigned to it; only wood qi may break out in winter because it is able to break out in any season.

    Once an outbreak occurs, a climate appears whose nature is closely associated with the nature of the formerly oppressed and now effusing qi. For example:

    • The outbreak of oppressed wood [qi is as follows]:
    • The Great Void is darkened by dust;
    • cloudy things are disturbed.
    • Strong winds arrive.
    • They tear open houses and break trees.
    • The wood undergoes changes.
    • Hence the people suffer from
    • pain in the stomach duct. {exactly in the heart [region])
    • Above there is propping [fullness in] the two flanks.
    • The gullet is blocked [to such a degree that it is] impassable;
    • food and beverages do not move down.
    • In severe cases,
    • [patients hear] a ringing sound in the ears and [they experience] dizziness and vertigo.
    • Their eyes fail to recognize other persons.
    • They tend to suddenly fall to the ground.
    • When the Great Void [is filled with] greenish dust,
    • when heaven and the mountains have one color alike,
    • (p.462) when the qi is turbid with a yellow or black color,
    • when it is oppressed like a cloud stretched and failing to produce rain,
    • then the outbreak is [imminent].115

    The effusion of harassed qi may be mild or violent. This is expressed as follows:

    • The quantities of the [harassed] qi differ, and [hence] their outbreak is slight or severe.
    • In case of a slight [outbreak] only the respective qi itself [will appear];
    • in case of severe [outbreaks, the respective qi will appear] together with the subsequent [qi].116

    While the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, in general, is designed to calculate the climate of any given year and season in advance, the concept of effusion of the harassed qi is able to explain sudden climatic changes from a perspective shortly before or amid such unexpected events. Hence the concept of oppression and effusion plays an important role. In a natural environment where all processes are supposed to follow certain laws, there must be no surprise. The concept of oppression and effusion interprets seemingly irregular climatic phenomena as outcomes of plausible principles; that is, it restores notions of order where such notions are jeopardized.

    5.4. The Cumulative Effect of Period and Qi

    In a cycle of sixty years, five constellations of celestial stems and earth branches, that is, of visitor period and visitor qi, have been given specific names to identify their special characteristics. These constellations are tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “heavenly complements,” sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “the year meets,” tong tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “identical to heavenly complements,” tong sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “identical to the year meets,” and tai yi tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “Taiyi heavenly complements.”

    5.4.1. Heavenly Complements, tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Whenever the annual period and the qi controlling heaven of a particular year are identical in their associations with the five agents, this is called “heavenly complements.” The association of the stems and branches with the five agents applied here is that characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi (see above, Appendix 1.3).

    Su wen 68 states:

    [Huang] Di:

  • If in a year of a soil period, one sees major yin [qi] in the upper [half of that year],
  • if in a year of a fire period, one sees minor yang [qi] and minor yin [qi] in the upper [half of that year],
  • (p.463) if in a year of a metal period, one sees yang brilliance [qi] in the upper [half of that year],
  • if in a year of a wood period, one sees ceasing yin [qi] in the upper [half of that year],
  • if in a year of a water period, one sees major yang [qi] in the upper [half of that year],
  • how is that?
  • Qi Bo:

  • [In these cases, the qi controlling] heaven meets with the [first half of a year].
  • Hence the Book on the Heavenly Origin calls this “heavenly complements.”117
  • Su wen 71 states:

    • When in a wu zi [year] or a wu wu [year], [that is, a] major zhi [year],
    • minor yin [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year];
    • when in a wu yin [year] or a wu shen [year], [that is, a] major zhi [year],
    • minor yang [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year];
    • when in a bing chen [year] or a bing xu [year], [that is, a] major yu
    • [year], major yang [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year].
    • There are three of this [type].
    • When in a ding si [year] or a ding hai [year], [that is, a] minor jue [year],
    • ceasing yin [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year];
    • when in a yi mao [year] or a yi you [year], [that is, a] minor shang [year],
    • yang brilliance [qi] comes clown in the upper [half of the year];
    • when in a ji chou [year] or a ji wei [year], [that is, a] minor gong [year],
    • major yin [qi] comes down in the upper [half of the year].
    • There are three of this [type].118

    The meaning of these paragraphs can be explained by two examples. In a wu zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear and in a wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear, the celestial stem is wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. The two celestial stems wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand gui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencorrespond to fire. Hence the annual period of wu zi and wu wu years is fire. The earth branch of a wu zi year is zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; the earth branch of a wu wu year is wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. The two earth branches zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenare associated with minor yin, that is, ruling fire. Hence in a wu zi year and a wu wu year both the annual period and the qi controlling heaven are associated with fire; that is, their five-agents associations are identical.

    In a ding si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear and a ding hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear, the celestial stem is ding Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. The two celestial stems ding Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand ren Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencorrespond to wood. Hence the annual period of ding si and ding hai years is wood. The earth branch of a ding si year is si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; the earth branch of a ding hai year is hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. The two earth branches si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenare associated with ceasing yin, that is, wind and wood. Hence in a ding si year and a ding hai year both the annual period and the qi controlling heaven are associated with wood; that is, their five-agents associations are identical. Such constellations are named “heavenly complements.”

    Because a yang stem can appear only in combination with a yang branch (p.464)

    Table 12. “Heavenly Complements”

    years of heavenly complements:

    ji chou, wu yin, wu zi, yi mao, ding si, bing chen, ji wei, wu shen, wu, wu, yi you, ding hai, bing xu

    annual stems:

    ji

    wu

    wu

    yi

    ding

    bing

    yin-yang association of the stem:

    yin

    yang

    yang

    yin

    yin

    yang

    name of the annual period (five tones, major, minor):

    minor

    major

    major

    minor

    minor

    major

    gong

    zhi

    zhi

    shang

    jue

    yu

    five-agents association of the period:

    soil

    fire

    fire

    metal

    wood

    water

    annual branches:

    chou

    yin

    zi

    mao

    si

    chen

    wei

    shen

    wu

    you

    hai

    xu

    yin-yang association of the branch:

    yin

    yang

    yang

    yin

    yin

    yang

    qi controlling heaven:

    major

    minor

    minor

    yang

    ceasing

    major

    yin

    yang

    yin

    brill.

    yin

    yang

    five-agents association of the qi controlling heaven:

    soil

    fire

    fire

    metal

    wood

    water

    and because likewise a yin stem can appear only in combination with a yin branch, altogether twelve different constellations in a cycle of sixty years may constitute a “heavenly complements” constellation; these are the years ji chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu shen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yi mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su WenAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yi you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ding si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ding hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, bing chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and bing xu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

    A summary of the two paragraphs just quoted results in table 12.

    5.4.2. The Year Meets, sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Whenever the five-agents association of the annual period of a particular year and of the annual branch of that year are identical, this is a constellation named “the year meets”; it is also called “the year occupying a correct position,” sui zhi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. In this case, the five-agents association of the stems (annual periods) follows that characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, while the association of the branches with the five agents is the usual one outside the doctrine of the five periods and six qi.

    Su wen 68 states:

    • When the period [qi] of wood comes down on mao,
    • when the period [qi] of fire comes down on wu,
    • (p.465)

      Table 13. “The Year Meets” Years

      Agents

      Wood

      Fire

      Soil

      Metal

      Water

      Corresponding annual stems (WYLQ correspondences) yang stems:

      (ren)

      wu

      jia

      (geng)

      bing

      yin stems:

      ding

      (gui)

      ji

      yi

      (xin)

      corresponding annual branches (normal correspondences) yang branches:

      (yin)

      wu

      chen, xu

      (shen)

      zi

      yin branches:

      mao

      (si)

      chou, wei

      you

      (hai)

      year meets years:

      ding mao

      wu wu

      jia chen

      jia xu

      ji chou

      ji wei

      yi you

      bing zi

      NOTE: Stems and branches in parentheses represent combinations not listed explicitly as “the year meets” in Su wen 69 and 71. They are inferred here on the basis of Su wen 68.

    • when the period [qi] of soil comes down in the final thirds of all the four seasons,
    • when the period [qi] of metal comes down on you,
    • when the period [qi] of water comes down on zi.
    • {This is what is called “the year meets.” This is a balance of the qi.}119
    An example of a calculation of a constellation named “the year meets” is as follows.

    In a ding mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear, the celestial stem is ding Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. In the five-agents association characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, the stem ding is associated with wood. The earth branch of that year is mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Mao is associated in the usual five-agents association with wood too (whereas in the five-agents association characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, it is associated with metal). That is, the specific associations of both the annual period and the earth branch associated with a ding mao year are identical. Such a constellation is a “the year meets” year.

    Given the definition formulated above, altogether twelve different constellations in a cycle of sixty years may constitute a “the year meets” constellation; these are the years ding mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ren yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(i.e., wood), wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(i.e., fire), ji chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, jia chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, jia xu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(i.e., soil), yi you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, geng shen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(i.e., metal), and bing zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenas well as xin hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(i.e., water).

    However, of these twelve possible constellations, only eight are suggested (p.466) by Su wen 68 and are mentioned explicitly in those entries in the table in Su wen 71, which most likely constitute a later commentary based on Su wen 68. The four constellations left out are ren yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, geng shen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and xin hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. We can only speculate about the reasons for the exclusion of these four constellations.

    Because four of these years (wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yi you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) are also counted among the “heavenly complements” constellations, only four years have pure “the year meets” constellations. This is shown in table 13.

    5.4.3. [Constellations] Identical to Heavenly Complements [Constellations], tong tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Whenever the stem of a particular year and the branch of that year belong to yang in the original yin-yang association and when at the same time the annual period in charge of that year and the qi at the fountain of the same year are identical in their five-agents association, then this is a constellation “identical to the ‘heavenly complements’” [constellation]. In this case, the five-agents association is that of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi.

    Su wen 71 states:

    • When a jia chen [year] or a jia xu [year], [that is, a] major gong [year], is joined
    • from below by major yin [qi] in the lower [half of the year];
    • when a ren yin [year] or a ren shen [year], [that is, a] major jue [year], is joined
    • from below by ceasing yin [qi] in the lower [half of the year];
    • when a geng zi [year] or a geng wu [year], [that is, a] major shang [year], is joined
    • from below by yang brilliance [qi] in the lower [half of the year].
    • There are three of this [type].…
    • When great excess is joined from below [by the qi at the fountain, that is] “identical to heavenly complements.”120

    To take a geng zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear as an example. The stem of a geng zi year is geng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; geng is an odd number and belongs to the yang stems. The branch of that year is zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; zi is an odd number too and belongs to the yang branches. Both the branch and the stem of that year are categorized as yang. Hence a geng zi year belongs to the yang years. The stem of a geng zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is geng; yi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand geng Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencorrespond to metal. Hence the annual period of a geng zi year is metal. The branch of that year is zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. In zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyears, minor yin, ruling fire, “controls heaven”; and yang brilliance, dryness, metal is “at the fountain.” Hence the qi “at the fountain” in a geng zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is yang brilliance, dryness, metal. The stem of that year belongs to yang, and the branch of that year belongs to yang too. The annual period belongs to metal, and the qi “at the fountain” belongs to metal too. Hence a geng zi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is a year “identical to the heavenly complements” [constellation].

    Within a cycle of sixty years, the following six years are years “identical to ‘the heavenly complements’” [constellation]: jia chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, jia xu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, geng zi (p.467)

    Table 14. Years of “Identical to Heavenly Complements” [Constellations]

    years “identical to heavenly complements”:

    jia chen, jia xu

    ren yin, ren shen

    geng zi, geng wu

    annual stems:

    jia

    ren

    geng

    yin-yang association of the stem:

    yang

    yang

    yang

    name of the annual period (five tones, major):

    major gong

    major jue

    major shang

    five-agents association (WYLQ) of the annual period:

    soil

    wood

    metal

    annual branches:

    chen, xu

    yin, shen

    zi, wu

    yin-yang association of the branch:

    yang

    yang

    yang

    qi controlling heaven:

    major yang

    minor yang

    minor yin

    flanked below by the qi at the fountain:

    major yin

    ceasing yin

    yang brilliance

    five-agents association (WYLQ) of the qi at the fountain:

    soil

    wood

    metal

    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, geng wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ren yin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and ren shen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Among these, the two years jia chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand jia xu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenbelong to the two constellations “identical to heavenly complements” [constellations] and “the year meets.” Hence only four years are years “identical to heavenly complements” [constellations] alone.

    Accordingly, the years of “identical to heavenly complements” [constellations] can be listed as in table 14.

    5.4.4. [Constellations] Identical to the Year Meets [Constellations], tong sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Whenever the stem of a particular year and the branch of that year belong to yin in the original yin-yang association and when at the same time the annual period in charge of that year and the qi at the fountain of the same year are identical in their five-agents association, then this is a constellation “identical to ‘the year meets’” [constellation].

    Su wen 71 states:

    • When a gui si [year] or a gui hai [year], [that is, a] minor zhi [year], is joined
    • from below by minor yang [qi] in the lower [half of the year];
    • when a xin chou [year] or a xin wei [year], [that is, a] minor yu [year], is joined
    • from below by major yang [qi] in the lower [half of the year];
    • when a gui mao [year] or a gui you [year], [that is, a] minor zhi [year], is joined
    • from below by minor yin [qi] in the lower [half of the year].
    • There are three of this [type].…
    (p.468)

    Table 15. Years of “Identical to the Year Meets” [Constellations]

    years “identical to the year meets”:

    xin chou, xin wei

    gui si, gui hai

    gui mao, gui you

    annual stems:

    xin

    gui

    gui

    yin-yang association of the stem:

    yin

    yin

    yin

    name of the annual period (five tones, minor):

    minor yu

    minor zhi

    minor zhi

    five-agents association (WYLQ) of the annual period:

    water

    fire

    fire

    annual branches:

    chou, wei

    si, hai

    mao, you

    yin-yang association of the branch:

    yin

    yin

    yin

    qi controlling heaven:

    major yin

    ceasing yin

    yang brilliance

    flanked below by the qi at the fountain:

    major yang

    minor yang

    minor yin

    five-agents association (WYLQ) of the qi at the fountain:

    water

    fire

    fire

    When inadequacy is joined from below [by the qi at the fountain], that is “identical to the year meets.”121

    To take a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear as an example. The stem of a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis an even number and belongs to the yin stems. The branch of that year is chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis an even number too and belongs to the yin branches. Both the branch and the stem of that year are categorized as yin. Hence a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear belongs to the yin years. The stem of a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; bing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand xin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencorrespond to water. Hence the annual period of a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is water. The branch of that year is chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. In chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyears major yin, dampness, soil, “control heaven”; major yang, cold, water are “at the fountain.” Hence the qi “at the fountain” in a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is major yang, cold, water. The stem of that year belongs to yin, and the branch of that year belongs to yin too. The annual period belongs to water, and the qi “at the fountain” belongs to water too. Hence a xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is a year “identical to the year meets” [constellation]. Within a cycle of sixty years, the following six years are years “identical to ‘the year meets’” [constellation]: xin wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, xin chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui mao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, gui si Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and gui hai Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

    Accordingly, the years of “identical to ‘the year meets’” [constellation] can be seen from table 15.

    (p.469) 5.4.5. Taiyi Heavenly Complements [Constellations], tai yi tian fu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    These are those years that are categorized both as “heavenly complements” and as “the year meets.” That is, when the stem representing the central period and the branch representing the qi controlling heaven have an identical five-agents association, the latter including only those constellations where the five-agents association is identical in both the usual system and in that characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi.

    Su wen 68 states:

    [Huang Di:]

  • How about [a year which is both] “heavenly complements” and “the year meets”?
  • Qi Bo:

  • This is a convergence of the “Taiyi heavenly complements” type.122
  • To take a wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear as an example. The stem of a wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen; wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencorresponds to fire. Hence the annual period of a wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su WenAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is fire. The branch of that year is wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis minor yin, ruling fire, in the five-agents association characteristic of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, and it is “fire” in the usual five-agents association. Hence a wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenyear is a “Taiyi heavenly complements” year.

    Within a cycle of sixty years, the following four years are “Taiyi heavenly complements” years: ji chou Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, ji wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, yi you Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and wu wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

    5.4.6. Possible Climatic Implications

    Obviously, “heavenly complements,” “the year meets,” “identical to heavenly complements,” “identical to the year meets,” and “Taiyi heavenly complements” are designations of years whose constellations of period and qi deserve special attention.

    However, neither the origin of these concepts as such nor the rationale of the names attached to them is known today. Also, it remains unclear why it was considered desirable to point out these five constellations as something special. It can only be surmised that the years associated with these constellations were considered marked by extraordinary climatic conditions and hence influences on life. The few hints in the Su wen at what these conditions and influences may have been like are the following.

    Su wen 66 has the statement:

    {Correspondence to heaven, this is “heavenly complements”; a year that succeeds, this is a “year occupying a correct position.” When three come together, this is order.}123

    No explanation is offered as to the meaning of Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “three come together.” The only “triple coincidence” referred to in this context by the Su wen may be seen in the definition of Taiyi heavenly complements constellations. These are years with an identical five-agents association of, first, celestial stem (in (p.470) the system of the five periods and six qi doctrine), second, earth branch (in the system of the five periods and six qi doctrine), and third, earth branch again (in the common system of correspondences outside the five periods and six qi doctrine). A Taiyi heavenly complements constellation constitutes a coincidence of Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, heavenly complements, with Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, the year meets. Hence the term sui zhi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “a year occupying a correct position,” mentioned in the paragraph quoted above, could be either an alternative to or an error for sui hui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. If this were so, the statement “when the three come together, this is order” suggested that a Taiyi heavenly complements constellation was considered to guarantee a year with an “orderly,” that is, balanced, climate.

    In this regard, a metaphor offered by Su wen 68 is of interest. It suggests a certain hierarchy among the constellations of heavenly complements, the year meets, and Taiyi heavenly complements in their impact on man and climate and in their ability to generate illness.

    [Huang] Di:

  • How about their hierarchy?
  • Qi Bo:

  • “Heavenly complements” upholds the law.
  • The “the year meets” carries out orders.
  • The “Taiyi heavenly complements” is the nobleman.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • To be struck by [their] evil, how is that?
  • Qi Bo:

  • If someone is struck by [the official] upholding the law, the [resulting] disease is fast and dangerous.
  • If someone is struck by [the official] carrying out orders, the disease is slow and protracted.
  • If someone is struck by a nobleman, the disease is violent and fatal.124
  • We do not know whether the fact that “nobleman” years, that is, years with a Taiyi heavenly complements constellation, are responsible for particularly violent illnesses is in keeping with our equating them with the constellations of triple coincidence mentioned in Su wen 66. After all, strict “order” does not necessarily contradict severe punishment when necessary.

    In contrast to this passage, a few lines earlier in Su wen 68, “the year meets” constellations are identified as associated with a balanced qi, Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, that is, as responsible for a balanced climate:

    • {This is what is called “the year meets.”
    • This is a balance of the qi.}125
    However, the two sentences look like a commentary, and the last one might be a secondary commentary (a commentary on a commentary).

    (p.471) A definition of years of “balanced qi” is given in Su wen 70:

    • When there is generation without killing,
    • when there is growth without punishment,
    • when there is transformation without restraint,
    • when there is gathering without harm,
    • when there is storage without repression,
    • this is called “balanced qi.”126

    5.5. Proper, Upper, and Pan Tones

    In what appears to be a systematic commentary, specific constellations in the table of periods in Su wen 71 are named “identical to the proper musical tone [jue, zhi, etc.]” (see 4.1.1., table 8, in this Appendix). The association of these tones with the five agents has been discussed in 2.4. A survey of the constellations concerned suggests that “proper” is another term used in the context of the five periods and six qi doctrine to refer to a year with a balanced climate.

    Altogether four different constellations lead to a climate “identical to the proper [musical tone].” Three of them occur in years with an insufficient annual period:

    1. 1. Insufficient annual period and qi controlling heaven have an identical five-agents association. The climate is “identical to the proper” musical tone associated with the agent in question. For example, in ding si and ding hai years, the annual stem, ding, is associated with minor jue, wood. The annual branches, si and hai, are associated among the six qi with ceasing yin, which in turn is wind and wood. Hence the annual period and the qi of ding si and ding hai years are associated with an identical qi, that of wood. Hence in these two years the climate is categorized as “identical to proper jue.127 The six years in question (ding si, ding hai, ji chou, ji wei, yi mao, yi you) are at the same time years of “heavenly complements.”

    2. 2. The qi controlling heaven is associated with an agent that is able to dominate the agent associated with the insufficient annual period. The climate is “identical to the proper” musical tone associated with the former. For example, in ji si and ji hai years, the annual period is minor gong, an insufficient soil period. The branches si and hai are associated with ceasing yin, wood, controlling heaven. Wood overcomes soil; hence the climate of these two years is categorized as “identical to proper jue (i.e., wood).” The six years in question are ji si, ji hai, xin chou, xin wei, ding mao, and ding you.

    3. 3. The qi controlling heaven is associated with an agent that is dominated by the agent associated with the insufficient annual period. The climate is “identical to the proper” musical tone associated with the former. For (p.472) example, in yi si and yi hai years, the annual period is minor shang, an insufficient metal period. Since the branches si and hai are associated with the agent wood, which can be overcome by metal, the climate of these two years is categorized as “identical to proper shang (i.e., metal).” The six years in question are yi si, yi hai, ding chou, ding wei, gui mao, and gui you.

    4. 4. The qi controlling heaven is associated with an agent that is able to dominate the agent associated with the greatly excessive annual period. The climate is “identical to the proper” musical tone associated with the latter. For example, in wu chen and wu xu years, the annual period is major zhi, an excessive fire period. The branches chen and xu are associated with major yang, water, controlling heaven. Water is able to dominate fire (or to restrain it if it is excessive). Hence these two years are categorized as years “identical to proper zhi (i.e., proper fire).”128 The six years in question are wu chen, wu xu, geng yin, geng shen, geng zi, and geng wu.

    Obviously, all references to “upper,” “proper,” and “minor” musical tones in what is a systematic listing of annual periods in Su wen 70 are to be considered later commentaries.

    When the character “upper” (shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) is placed in front of one of the five tones, this tone indicates the five-agents association of the qi controlling heaven. For example, “upper shangAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenis to say: the qi controlling heaven in a given year is yang brilliance, that is, dryness and metal, because the musical tone shang stands for metal.

    In Su wen 70, there is a single appearance of the term pan shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.129 Most commentators have assumed that pan stands for ban Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “half,” interpreting pan shang as “half a metal period.” However, the context of Su wen 70 suggests that this pan is a mistake for shao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “minor,” as is apparent from the following comparison.

    1. a.) Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    2. b.) Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    a.) Arrangements of discarded harmony follow the transformations of metal. Minor jue is identical to pan shang. Upper jue is identical to proper jue. Upper shang is identical to proper shang.

    The meaning of this statement is as follows:

    In arrangements of “discarded harmony” (i.e., in years of an inadequate wood period) [the climate] follows the transformations of metal. [In years of] minor jue (i.e., in years of an inadequate wood period) [the climate] is identical to those of pan shang [years] (i.e., with years of … metal period). If [years of an inadequate wood period meet with] upper jue (i.e., if in such years the qi controlling heaven is ceasing yin, wind, and wood) [the climate] is identical to proper jue (i.e., balanced wood qi, because identical (p.473) qi add up to each other). If [years of an inadequate wood period meet with] upper shang (i.e., if in such years the qi controlling heaven is yang brilliance, dryness and metal) [the climate] is identical to proper shang (i.e., balanced metal qi, because that which takes advantage of the weakness of wood, i.e., metal, is further enforced by metal).

    b.) Arrangements of inferior supervision follow the transformations of wood. Minor gong is identical to minor jue. Upper gong is identical to proper gong. Upper jue is identical to proper jue.

    The meaning of this statement is as follows:

    In arrangements of “inferior supervision” (i.e., in years of an inadequate soil period) [the climate] follows the transformations of wood. [In years of] minor gong (i.e., in years of an inadequate soil period) [the climate] is identical to those of minor jue [years] (i.e., with years of … wood period). If [years of an inadequate soil period meet with] upper gong (i.e., if in such years the qi controlling heaven is major yin, dampness, and soil) [the climate] is identical to proper gong (i.e., balanced soil qi, because identical qi add up to each other). If [years of an inadequate soil period meet with] upper jue (i.e., if in such years the qi controlling heaven is ceasing yin, wind and wood) [the climate] is identical to proper jue (i.e., balanced wood qi, because that which takes advantage of the weakness of soil, i.e., wood, is further enforced by wood).

    From this comparison it is obvious that the meaning expressed by the character pan in pan shang and by shao in shao jue is entirely the same. Pan shang, therefore, is an error for shao shang, “minor shang,” and refers to a climate partially influenced by dryness and metal, similar to early autumn.

    5.6. Years of Balanced Climate (ping qi Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, zheng sui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen)

    a. In Su wen 70, Huang Di asks:

    I should like to hear: what are the names, what is the arrangement of [years of] balanced qi?130

    In his response Qi Bo listed all those “arrangements,” that is, constellations, that are defined as neither “inadequacy” nor “excess.”

    Because none of the arrangements characterized as “balanced qi,” “inadequacy,” or “excess” are explicitly equated in Su wen 70 with specific years identifiable by heavenly stems and earth branches, it may well be that we encounter here an early stage in the conceptualization of the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, before its definite association with the sixty-year cycle. That is, the conceptualization of this doctrine may have started from descriptions of specific climatic conditions as normal, excessive, and inadequate. Perhaps it was only in a second step that these conditions were (p.474) understood as calculable and hence foreseeable events integrated in the regularity of an all-encompassing natural law.

    The concept of balanced qi is repeated nowhere in other sections of what we consider the basic text of the seven comprehensive discourses. The only statement pointedly identifying years of balanced qi is the one in Su wen 68 quoted above under 5.4.2 and 5.4.6, where sui hui constellations are said to be those of “balanced qi.”131 But this may have been a commentary added by a later author to a dialogue in the basic text contrasting what are to be considered “evil” qi with their opposite, that is, “proper” qi, and introducing the concept of qi that do or do not dang wei Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, that is, “occupy their correct positions.”

    Qi Bo:

  • When they are not at their positions, then they are evil.
  • When they occupy their correct positions, then they are proper.
  • [When the qi are] evil, then changes are severe.
  • [When the qi are] proper, then [changes are] slight.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • What is it to say, “occupy their correct positions”?
  • Qi Bo:

  • When the wood period comes down on mao,
  • when the fire period comes down on wu,
  • when the soil period comes down in the [final thirds of the] four seasons,
  • when the metal period comes down on you,
  • when the water period comes down on zi.
  • {This is what is called “the year meets.”
  • This is a balance of the qi.}132
  • b. This dialogue provides a clear-cut equation of the concepts of proper and balanced qi, and it is not unreasonable to assume that wherever in Su wen 70 and 71 a constellation, or year, is defined as “proper,” this is meant to designate a balanced climate.

    As we have seen above (1.3), in the association of years with yin and yang celestial stems and earth branches, yin stems must be combined with yin branches and yang stems must be combined with yang branches. The five periods and six qi doctrine does not envisage an association of a yin stem with a yang branch or vice versa to characterize any given year.

    Hence all years are by nature either strongly yang or strongly yin, the former being identified as “greatly excessive,” tai guo Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and the latter as “inadequate,” bu ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. Both these natures are considered to exert negative effects on a given year's climate. That is, at first glance the system appears not to acknowledge a possibility of years having a balanced qi and hence a balanced climate. Such years could only be understood as deviations from the rule; hence they are special. We encounter such deviations in regard to (p.475) certain five-agents associations of celestial stem and earth branch neutralizing their respective negative effects.

    If we look again at the four constellations mentioned earlier under 5.5 that Su wen 71 called “proper” (in relationship with a specific tone representing one of the five agents), we may well be faced with a plausible and complete system of such deviations. That is, either an agent that is too strong is neutralized by an agent able to dominate it (the fourth constellation), or an agent that is too weak is supported by an identical agent (the first constellation), or an agent that is too weak is changed by another agent into a dominating or a dominated agent (constellations two and three). The twenty-four years covered by these constellations appear to have been systematically categorized as “proper” because the excessive or inadequate impact of a yin or yang qi on the climate was neutralized in these years, resulting in a balanced climate.

    All five-agents associations used here are those within the five periods and six qi doctrine; only two of the twenty-four years categorized in Su wen 71 as “proper” are at the same time sui hui years, the ding mao and yi you years.133 These overlappings, however, may be purely coincidental. The categorization of sui hui years as years of balanced qi, and hence of balanced climate, in the commentary to Su wen 68 appears to constitute an approach different from the one underlying a categorization of years as “proper” as expressed in Su wen 71.

    The same system, albeit incomplete, appears in Su wen 70 in a commentary (see 5.5).

    c. In another part of Su wen 71 the text speaks of zheng sui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “proper years.”

    Qi Bo:

  • Now, the six qi … are always observed in the first month, in the early morning of the first day.…
  • When a period has a surplus, it arrives early;
  • when a period is insufficient, it arrives late.
  • That is the Way of heaven and the regularity of the qi.
  • When a period neither has a surplus, nor is insufficient, that is called a proper year.
  • This period arrives exactly in time.134
  • This concept of proper year is not identical to the concept of proper qi. In fact, the concept of zheng sui may once again be a relic of an earlier stage in the conceptualization of the five periods and six qi doctrine. To go out in the early morning of the first day of the first month, that is, on New Year's dawn, to determine whether this new year's qi has arrived early, is belated, or is on time, is to determine the quality of the entire year's climate through observation here and now, not through calculation possibly years in advance.

    (p.476) 6. Further Concepts Associated with the Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Su Wen

    6.1. Generation Numbers, sheng shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, and Completion Numbers, cheng shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    In the listing of years of balanced qi among the three arrangements in Su wen 70, the last characteristic added to the description of these years is a number:

    • In an arrangement of extended harmony,
    • the virtue of wood reaches everywhere.…
    • Its number is eight.135
    • In an arrangement of ascending brilliance, …
    • The virtue [of fire] is applied ubiquitously.…
    • Its number is seven.136
    • In an arrangement of perfect transformation, …
    • The virtue [of soil] flows into the four policies.…
    • Its number is five.137
    • In an arrangement of secured balance, …
    • its kind is metal; …
    • its depot is the lung.…
    • Its number is nine.138
    • In an arrangement of quiet adaptation, …
    • its kind is water; …
    • its depot are the kidneys.…
    • Its number is six.139

    The association of specific numbers with the five agents mentioned in the above quotation is identical to that introduced in the “monthly commands” (yue ling Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) found in various texts of the late Zhou, such as Li ji, Guan zi, Huai nan zi, and Lü shi chun qiu. Outside of the seven comprehensive treatises and the doctrine of the five periods and six qi, this association appears in the fourth treatise of the Su wen. The origin of this association remains unclear. However, Han commentators have suggested that it was part of a comprehensive numerical system including the numbers one through four as well. Thus Zheng Xuan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen(ca. A.D. 127–200), in his comment on the Li ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, suggested that the sequence from six through nine was derived from additions of the numbers one through five associated with the five agents. These associations had been outlined in the “Hong fan” Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen.

    Shang shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “Hong fan”:

    One is water. Two is fire. Three is wood. Four is metal. Five is soil.140

    (p.477) Kong Anguo Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenof the early Han era is credited with a possibly apocryphal commentary on this sequence:

    All these are generation numbers.141

    Zheng's Li ji commentary to the number eight, associated with the three months of spring, draws on the Xi ci Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencommentary to the Yi jing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wento explain an association of the five agents with numbers ranging from one through ten. (However, this argument appears far-fetched, because the Yi jing commentary did not include any reference to the five agents. Also, the Su wen system and the “monthly orders” never mention the number ten but associate soil only with the number five.)

    These numbers constitute a sequence of the five agents starting from the generation and completion of things by heaven and earth. The Yi [jing] (i.e., the Xi ci Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wencommentary to the Yi jing) states:

    • Heaven is one, earth is two.
    • Heaven is three, earth is four.
    • Heaven is five, earth is six.
    • Heaven is seven, earth is eight.
    • Heaven is nine, earth is ten.142

    The five agents begin with water, followed by fire, which is followed by wood, which is followed by metal, with soil being the last. In the case of wood, the generation number is three and the completion number is eight. If only the number eight is mentioned, this is to emphasize the completion number.143

    In a commentary on the number five, associated with the “central” season (between summer and autumn), Zheng Xuan wrote:

    • The generation number of soil is five; its completion number is ten.
    • One speaks of five only [and never refers to ten, though,] because generation is considered the basic function of soil.144
    The use of the terms “generation numbers” and “completion numbers” without any explanation of their meaning in these Han commentaries and in the Su wen (see below) suggests that they were part of a terminology familiar to Han authors.

    This familiarity may have been lost in subsequent centuries. Hence the Tang author Kong Yingda Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, in his commentary on the “Hong fan,” offered the following explanation:

    • Heaven at one generates water.
    • The earth at two generates fire.
    • Heaven at three generates wood.
    • The earth at four generates metal.
    • Heaven at five generates soil.
    • (p.478)
      Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

      Diagram 17. The [Yellow] River Chart (He tu)

    • These are the generation numbers of this [sequence]. If it were [only] like this, yang and yin would never have a partner. Hence
    • the earth at six completes water.
    • Heaven at seven completes fire.
    • The earth at eight completes wood.
    • Heaven at nine completes metal.
    • The earth at ten completes soil.
    • This way, yin and yang both have a partner and [all] things are completed.
    • Hence these [latter numbers] are called completion numbers.145

    The so-called [Yellow] River Chart (he tu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen), a diagram associated with the term he tu appearing in the Shang shu but attestable only to the Song era, reflects identical pairings of numbers and agents (see diagram 17).146

    While Su wen 70 continues the association system found in the various “monthly command” texts, referring only to a sequence of five through nine, it is in Su wen 71 that we encounter the complete system, with both halves brought together for the first time. It is not known whether the Su wen 71 system itself was built on an earlier source.

    The complete system is employed in Su wen 71 to designate excess and inadequacy of the qi of the five periods:

    [Huang] Di:

  • Great excess and inadequacy, what are their numbers?
  • (p.479) Qi Bo:

  • When they are greatly excessive, their numbers are completion [numbers]:
  • when they are inadequate, their numbers are generation [numbers].
  • The soil is always [associated] with a generation number.147
  • For example, in geng chen and geng xu years, which are years of an excessive metal period, Su wen 71 lists the following constellation:

    • In the upper [half of the year]: major yang, water.
    • In the center: major shang, metal period.
    • In the lower [half of the year]: major yin, soil.
    • Cold transformation: one.
    • Coolness transformation: nine.
    • Rain transformation: five.148
    And in ding mao and ding you years, which are years of an inadequate wood period, Su wen 71 lists the following constellation:
    • In the upper [half of the year]: yang brilliance, metal.
    • In the center: minor jue, wood period.
    • In the lower [half of the year]: minor yin, fire.…
    • Dryness transformation: nine.
    • Wind transformation: three.
    • Heat transformation: seven.149

    The system introduced above applies only to the periods mentioned in the middle of the two examples quoted. Although the numbers one through nine associated with the qi controlling heaven and with the qi at the fountain comply with generation or completion numbers of their respective five-agents associations, the reason for choosing a generation or a completion number remains unclear.

    6.2. Mansions of Catastrophe, zai gong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    In listing the years associated with insufficient periods, Su wen 71 has the following, at first glance rather enigmatic, statements:

    • Yi chou and yi wei years: …
    • Catastrophes occur in the seventh mansion …
    • Ding mao and ding you years: …
    • Catastrophes occur in the third mansion …
    • Ji si and ji hai years: …
    • Catastrophes occur in the fifth mansion …
    • Xin wei and xin chou years: …
    • Catastrophes occur in the first mansion …
    • (p.480) Gui you and gui mao years: …
    • Catastrophes occur in the ninth mansion …150
    “Mansion,” gong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, refers to the “nine mansions,” a pattern used in the Han dynasty period to designate the four cardinal points (south, north, east, west), the four corners (southeast, southwest, northwest, northeast), and the center.

    The term “nine mansions” (jiu gong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen) is attestable to the Hou Han shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, juan 59, where it appears in Zhang Heng's Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenbiography. Zhang Heng used it in a petition criticizing what appeared to him an excessive use of unorthodox divination practices:

    I have heard the Sages were familiar with pitchpipes and with the calendar to identify auspicious and inauspicious signs. They strengthened [their findings] by means of turtle and milfoil oracles, and they further [verified them] through the nine mansions. It was through heaven that they recognized the Way. Originally, the [attempts at] divination were exhausted with these [methods].151

    The Tang commentary on the Hou Han shu relied on Zheng Xuan's commentary on a Han text named Yi qian zuo du Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wento explain the concept of nine mansions:

    The Yi qian zuo du states: “Taiyi chooses these numbers to move through the nine mansions.” Zheng Xuan commented: “Taiyi is the name of the spirit of the polar star. He comes down to move through the mansions of the eight tri-grams. After he has moved through four [of these mansions], he returns to the center. The center is where [the polar star] comes to rest. Hence [the Yi qian zuo du] spoke of nine mansions.” … Hence when Taiyi comes down to the nine mansions, he starts [his movement] from the kan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there he continues to the kun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there again he continues to the chen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there again he continues to the sun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. This way, he has [completed] one-half [of his movement]. He turns to the mansion in the center for rest. From there again he continues to the qian Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there again he continues to the dui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there again he continues to the gen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. From there again he continues to the li Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenmansion. His movement has now reached the end of the circle. He rises to take rest in the star of Taiyi and returns to the purple mansion.152

    Given the usual correspondences of the eight trigrams with the cardinal directions (i.e., the so-called Wen wang pattern), the numerical sequence of Taiyi's movement is depicted graphically in diagram 18. The nine mansions diagram represents a magic square; its numbers always form a sum of 15, regardless of whether they are summed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

    The Da dai Li ji, chapter 66, of the first century A.D. is a parallel source for this pattern. It describes the ming tang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenrites of the emperor in terms (p.481)

    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 18. The Nine Mansions

    similar to the movement of Taiyi. A virtually identical pattern appears in Ling shu 77 describing the movement of the wind spirit. The entire system may be a result of the Yi jing exegesis of the Han time.

    The so-called luo shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, a diagram attestable to the Song era but attributed to ancient times by Chinese tradition (as in the case of the he tu), reflects the same pattern (see diagram 19).153

    As the nine mansions diagram shows, the first mansion is north, the third mansion is east, the fifth mansion is center, the seventh mansion is west, and the ninth mansion is south. Hence the statement in Su wen 71 “In xin wei and xin chou years … the catastrophes occur in the first mansion” indicates that there will be a catastrophe in the first mansion, that is, in the north. The earth branches wei and chou correspond to water and hence north. The same applies to the remaining statements.

    Su wen 71 helps to clarify statements such as “catastrophe at three,” “catastrophe at nine,” “catastrophe at seven,” and “catastrophe at one” in the listing of “insufficient” arrangements among the “three arrangements” in (p.482)

    Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Diagram 19. The Luo shu

    Su wen 70.154 The numbers “three,” “nine,” “seven,” and “one” refer to the nine mansions, that is, to geographic regions in the east, south, west, and north, respectively.

    6.3. Southern Policies and Northern Policies

    In Su wen 74, a pattern of distinguishing between years of northern or southern policy is alluded to:

    [Huang] Di:

  • [You,] Sir, have said “investigate where yin and yang are present, and regulate them” …
  • Where yin [qi] is present, how [can this be felt] at the inch opening?
  • Qi Bo:

  • Find out whether a year [is governed by the policy of the] south or of the north and this can be known.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • I should like to hear about this comprehensively.
  • (p.483) Qi Bo:

  • In a year of northern policy,
  • when the minor yin is at the fountain,
  • then [the vessel movement at] the Inch Opening does not respond [to the physician's fingers].
  • When the ceasing yin is at the fountain,
  • then [the vessel movement on] the right does not respond.
  • When the major yin is at the fountain,
  • then [the vessel movement on] the left does not respond.
  • In a year of southern policy,
  • when the minor yin controls heaven,
  • then [the vessel movement at] the Inch Opening does not respond.
  • When the ceasing yin controls heaven,
  • then [the vessel movement on] the right does not respond.
  • When the major yin controls heaven,
  • then [the vessel movement on] the left does not respond.…
  • [Huang] Di:

  • How about the manifestations [of a disease] in the foot-long section?
  • Qi Bo:

  • In a year of northern policy,
  • when [any of] the three yin is below [at the fountain],
  • then the [movement in the vessels at the] Inch [Opening] does not respond [to the physician's fingers].
  • When [any of] the three yin is above [controlling heaven],
  • then the [movement in the vessels in the] foot [section] does not respond.
  • In a year of southern policy,
  • when [any of] the three yin is in heaven,
  • then the [movement in the vessels at the] Inch [Opening] does not respond [to the physician's fingers].
  • When [any of] the three yin is at the fountain,
  • then the [movement in the vessels in the] foot [section] does not respond.
  • This is the same for the left and the right [hand].155
  • The Su wen offers no clue as to the origin of the concepts of southern and northern policies, and it contains no hint as to which years are to be identified as those of southern or northern policies, respectively.

    Wang Bing listed all years associated with the periods of wood, fire, metal, and water as years of northern policies, because in these years “one faces the north to receive the qi.” Years associated with the period of soil are years of southern policy, because in these years “one faces the south and passes orders.” The meaning of this comment is unclear. It was taken up indirectly, (p.484) though, by Zhang Jiebin, whose Lei jing, juan 23, suggested that only years associated with the heavenly stems jia Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenare years of southern policy, because jia and ji are associated with soil, and soil is the leading agent. In contrast, Zhang Zhicong assumed that only years associated with the heavenly stems wu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenand gui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenare years of southern policy, because these two stems are associated with fire, and fire is the agent associated with the south. Numerous comments by later authors are equally speculative and lack final proof.

    6.4. Qi Interaction, qi jiao Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    “Qi interaction” is a technical term referring to the sphere between heaven and earth inhabited by man. Su wen 68 has the following definition:

    Qi Bo:

  • When talking of heaven, search for it at the roots.
  • When talking of the earth, search for it at the positions.
  • When talking of man, search for it at the qi interaction.
  • [Huang] Di:

  • What is it to say, “qi interaction”?
  • Qi Bo:

  • Amidst the interaction of the qi of the positions of above and below, that is where man resides.
  • {Hence when it is said:
  • “What is above the heavenly axis, the heavenly qi rules it.
  • What is below the heavenly axis, the qi of the earth rules it.
  • The sphere of qi interaction, the human qi follows it,
  • the myriad beings originate from it,”
  • then this is explained [by what was said above].}156
  • Hence qi interaction refers to the sphere where the qi of heaven and of earth interact; it is the space where man resides. Wang Bing commented:

    It is the section below heaven and above the earth, where the two qi [of heaven and earth] interact and unite. Man resides on the earth. Hence man resides in the [section] where the qi [of heaven and earth] interact and unite. Hence all transformations and generations, as well as changes, take place in the [sphere of the] qi interaction.157

    If we follow this interpretation to explain the term Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wenin Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “hence the qi of dust and darkness interact,”158 Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “wind and dryness move uncontrolled, and flow through [the sphere of] qi interaction,”159 Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “the qi of cold and dampness hold on to each other in [the sphere of] the qi interaction,”160 Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “yellow and black dust [cause] darkness and flows [in the section of] qi interaction,”161 and Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “tremendous (p.485) thunder [occurs in the section of] qi interaction,”162 then all these passages refer to a space, not, as some commentators have assumed, to a period of time.

    There is only one passage in which “qi interaction” appears to refer to a time period:

    • The [time period] before the middle of a year, that is the [time period] ruled by the qi of heaven.
    • The [time period] following the middle of a year, that is the [time period] ruled by the qi of the earth.
    • [The time period] when the upper and the lower [halves of the year] interact and exchange [their qi] is ruled by the qi interaction.
    • [This way] the arrangement of a year is complete.163

    In general, the doctrine of the five periods and six qi divides a year into a first half—preceding the exact midpoint of a year—and a second half—following the exact midpoint of a year. The paragraph just quoted, though, appears to introduce a notion of a transitional period in the middle of the year. At least this is how Zhang Jiebin explained it:

    “Qi interaction” is: the qi of heaven and the qi of the earth exert joint effects. “Ruled by the qi interaction” is: at the time of the third and fourth qi the qi of heaven and the qi of the earth interact. That is, the [time periods of the] third and fourth qi are the [time periods of] qi interaction of a given year. Hence whether a year has droughts or flooding, whether it is characterized by abundance or dearth, and the generation, growth, collection and maturing of things, [all these phenomena] are tied to these altogether four months or 120 days from the middle of the fourth month to the middle of the eighth month.164

    Zhang Jiebin's interpretation is not supported by any collateral evidence elsewhere in the Su wen. One could also conceive of an alternative interpretation in the sense that the eight characters Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “[the time period] when the upper and the lower [halves of the year] interact and exchange [their qi] is ruled by the qi interaction,” is a comment added later, as an isolated attempt to smooth what may have appeared too sharp a transition from a dominating influence of the qi of heaven in the first half of the year to a dominating influence of the qi of the earth in the second half. The original meaning of “qi interaction,” though, is spatial, not temporal.

    6.5. Images, xiang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen

    Xiang, “image,” is a term employed in the seven comprehensive discourses to denote tangible or at least visible phenomena providing evidence of abstract processes. For example, in Su wen 67, Huang Di wonders about what he perceives as an inconsistency in the yin-yang doctrine.165 Qi Bo informs (p.486) him that there is a difference in the application of the yin-yang doctrine to the existence of man and to the phenomena in heaven and on earth. He states:

    Of the numbers [of the pairings whith yin and yang], those which can be counted are [those of] the yin and yang in man.…

    [In contrast, the manifestations of] the yin and yang of heaven and earth cannot be counted and further extended [through enumerations]; they are referred to by images.166

    The Chinese term translated here as “counted,” tui Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, implies the meaning “to expand.” Although the final rationale underlying Qi Bo's argument is difficult to determine, it may well be that it includes a notion to the effect that the yin-yang dynamics in man are limited and hence can be counted by numbers, even if they add up to the tens of thousands:

    • Count their [associations] and [you] can [reach] ten;
    • extend these [associations] further and [you] can reach one hundred.
    • Count these [associations], and [you] can [reach] one thousand;
    • expand them further and [you] can reach ten thousand.167

    In contrast, the dynamics of yin and yang qi in heaven and on the earth are so manifold that they escape any attempt at enumeration; at best they are revealed through “images.”

    Hence Su wen 68 states:

    • Root and tip are not identical;
    • their qi correspond to different images.168
    Su wen 70 elucidates in more detail:
    • When the qi begins, there is generation and transformation.
    • When the qi disperses, there is physical appearance.
    • When the qi spreads, there is opulence and parturition.
    • When the qi ends, the images change.169

    What exactly are to be considered “images” in heaven and on the earth is indicated by various statements in the seven comprehensive discourses. For example, the entire appearance of a particular season is regarded as an image typifying specific constellations of qi. In its listing of arrangements of great excess, Su wen 70 identifies these arrangements with the image of certain seasons:

    • An arrangement of effusive growth, …
    • its image is spring.…
    • An arrangement of fire-red sunlight, …
    • its image is summer.…
    • (p.487) An arrangement of prominent mound, ….
    • its image is late summer.…
    • An arrangement of firm completion, …
    • its image is autumn.…
    • An arrangement of inundating flow, …
    • its image is winter.170

    In other words, all the phenomena and processes characterizing a particular season form an “image” characteristic of a specific constellation of periods and qi.

    However, elsewhere the Su wen speaks of a very different type of images. Su wen 67 states:

    • In the operations of change and transformation,
    • heaven hangs the images,
    • while the earth completes the physical appearances.…
    • [You] look up to these images; even though they are far away, they can be recognized.171

    The images in heaven are the stars. They change their color and

    • they may be joyful or angry,
    • they may be anxious or mournful,
    • they may be moist or dry.
    • These are the regular [appearances] of the [heavenly] images.
    • They must be examined carefully.172

    From the perspective of an observer on the earth, the movement of some of the stars in heaven appears somewhat erratic. The names given in Su wen 69 to different types of movements suggest that a metaphysical notion of stars as watching man on earth had here entered what was otherwise an entirely naturalistic doctrine.

    When in pursuing their path they remain stationary [at one place] for a long time, or when they move contrary [to their regular course] and keep [their position for a while] and decrease in size, this is called “they inquire into what is below.”

    When in pursuing their paths they vanish, when after they have vanished they come [back] quickly, and when they pass through in curves, this is called “they inquire into neglect and transgressions.”

    When they remain stationary for a long time and then [return in] a circle, when they alternately leave and come close again, this is called “they deliberate catastrophes in relation to [the people's] virtue.”173

    Not surprisingly, therefore, in what may be a later commentary on this paragraph, the stars were seen as portents of imminent good or bad luck.

    • (p.488) When the rays [of the stars] are twice as big in size as normal, the transformations [they cause] will be severe;
    • when they are three times as big as normal, the disasters [they cause] are about to break out.
    • When they are half as small as normal, the transformations [they cause] will be diminished.…
    • {These are [reactions following] an inquiry into the transgressions and virtues of that below.)
    • {Those who display virtue, they are rewarded with good luck; those who commit transgressions, they are punished.) …
    • {Hence,
    • when [the stars] are big, then joy and anger are close.
    • When they are small, then misery and luck are far away.)174

    Notes:

    (1.) For an earlier comprehensive attempt to present and explain the doctrine of the five periods and six qi in the Huang Di nei jing su wen, see Fang Yaozhong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su WenAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen and Xu Jiasong Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Huang Di nei jing su wen yun qi qi pian jiang jie Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su WenAppendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (Beijing: Jenming weisheng chubanshe Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, 1984). For many of the cosmological systems discussed below, see also Kalinowski 1991.

    (2.) Su wen 71-458-3. This reference and all subsequent references to the Su wen refer to Huang Di nei jing su wen Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (Beijing: Renmin weisheng chubanshe Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, 1983), with the first number referring to the Su wen treatise, the second to the page of the 1983 edition, and the third to the line on that page.

    (3.) Their first appearance is on oracle bones of the Shang dynasty (about 1500 B.C.), where they were already used in sixty possible combinations to count days. The practice of using these combinations for counting years is only attestable to the beginning of the first century A.D. (i.e., the end of the Former Han dynasty). See Needham 1986: 3:396.

    (4.) Possibly these ten characters were names of the days of the ancient Chinese ten-day “week,” xun Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen. See Needham 1986: 3:397.

    (5.) The twelve branches have been applied to the twelve months since ancient times; this seems to have been their primary usage. See Needham 1986: 3:398.

    (6.) Su wen 68-393-4.

    (7.) Su wen 67-374-5.

    (8.) Su wen 66-368-13.

    (9.) Su wen 67-370-4.

    (10.) Su wen 67-370-12.

    (11.) These correspondences can be derived from various sources, for example, the Huai nan zi. They appear also on the “cosmic board”; see below.

    (12.) Harper 1978–79: 1–10.

    (13.) Su wen 69-417-1.

    (p.490) (14.) Su wen 70-419-6.

    (15.) Su wen 70-419-8.

    (16.) Su wen 70-420-2.

    (17.) Su wen 70-420-3.

    (18.) Jupiter corresponds to wood; Venus (see end of quote) belongs to metal. Metal comes to subdue wood when the latter is present excessively.

    (19.) Su wen 69-403-5.

    (20.) Su wen 67-373-4.

    (21.) Su wen 66-369-5.

    (22.) Su wen 68-387-10.

    (23.) Su wen 71-495-3.

    (24.) Su wen 71-458-8.

    (25.) Su wen 71-494-14.

    (26.) Su wen 66-363-2, 67–371–5.

    (27.) Su wen 66-361-2.

    (28.) Su wen 66-362-3.

    (29.) Su wen 71-499-9.

    (30.) Su wen 71-478-1.

    (31.) Su wen 68-389-5.

    (32.) Su wen 68-392-9.

    (33.) Su wen 68-393-7.

    (34.) Fang Yaozhong and Xu Jiasong 1984: 24.

    (35.) Su wen 68-396-7.

    (36.) Su wen 68-397-1.

    (37.) Su wen 71-458-8.

    (38.) Su wen 71-494-14, 66–369–5, 68–387–10, 74–503–6.

    (39.) Su wen 67-370-5.

    (40.) Su wen 66-369-1.

    (41.) Su wen 71-475-12.

    (42.) Su wen 74-525-3.

    (43.) Su wen 74-511-5.

    (44.) Su wen 70-446-7.

    (45.) Su wen 71-458-6.

    (46.) Su wen 71-460-1.

    (47.) Su wen 71-460-11.

    (48.) Su wen 71-461-2.

    (49.) Su wen 74-504-1.

    (50.) Su wen 67-371-5.

    (51.) Su wen 70-443-4.

    (52.) Su wen 71-494-6.

    (53.) Su wen 68-387-5.

    (54.) Su wen 68-389-4.

    (55.) Su wen 67-372-2.

    (56.) Su wen 70-446-7.

    (57.) Su wen 70-446-6.

    (58.) Su wen 70-448-12.

    (59.) Su wen 70-452-3.

    (p.491) (60.) Su wen 74-508-10.

    (61.) Su wen 74-508-11.

    (62.) Su wen 74-511-6.

    (63.) Su wen 71-477-13 to 71–478–8.

    (64.) Su wen 13-83-5.

    (65.) Su wen 25-163-4.

    (66.) Su wen 68-391-6.

    (67.) Su wen 67-369-11, 79–561–2.

    (68.) Su wen 71-467-5.

    (69.) Su wen 71-476-14.

    (70.) Su wen 70-446-8.

    (71.) Su wen 71-470-1.

    (72.) Su wen 71-458-4.

    (73.) Su wen 71-502-5.

    (74.) Su wen 71-476-11 ff.

    (75.) Su wen 74-534-5.

    (76.) Su wen 71-475-9.

    (77.) Su wen 69-408-2 to 69–412–8.

    (78.) The “four ropes” refer to the “four corner months,” i.e., the final months of each season. In one model of five-agents correspondences, these months are regarded as the time when the agent soil rules.

    (79.) Su wen 69-413-1 to 69–413–14.

    (80.) Su wen 70-427-2 to 70–435–4.

    (81.) Su wen 71-462-3.

    (82.) Su wen 71-478-4.

    (83.) Su wen 71-479-4.

    (84.) Su wen 69-413-2.

    (85.) Su wen 70-436-1.

    (86.) Su wen 70-437-5.

    (87.) Su wen 69-413-7.

    (88.) Su wen 69-413-10.

    (89.) Su wen 74-518-8.

    (90.) Su wen 74-521-5.

    (91.) Su wen 74-530-7.

    (92.) Su wen 74-525-1.

    (93.) Su wen 74-534-6.

    (94.) Su wen 74-525-4.

    (95.) Su wen 74-525-5.

    (96.) Su wen 74-525-7.

    (97.) Su wen 74-526-2.

    (98.) Su wen 71-488-12.

    (99.) Su wen 74-525-4.

    (100.) Su wen 74-526-1.

    (101.) Lei jing 27.30; Zhang shi lei jing, 636.

    (102.) Su wen 74-526-4.

    (103.) Su wen 74-526-14.

    (104.) Su wen 74-516-5.

    (p.492) (105.) Su wen 74-519-5.

    (106.) Su wen 74-522-8.

    (107.) Su wen 74-523-4.

    (108.) Su wen 71-478-2.

    (109.) Su wen 71-478-2.

    (110.) Su wen 71-477-9.

    (111.) Su wen 71-488-15.

    (112.) Su wen 71-492-9.

    (113.) Su wen 71-491-11.

    (114.) Su wen 71-489-6.

    (115.) Su wen 71-491-6.

    (116.) Su wen 71-493-3.

    (117.) Su wen 68-391-8.

    (118.) Su wen 71-476-14.

    (119.) Su wen 65-391-5.

    (120.) Su wen 71-476-10.

    (121.) Su wen 71-476-12.

    (122.) Su wen 68-392-2.

    (123.) Su wen 66-365-6.

    (124.) Su wen 68-392-2.

    (125.) Su wen 68-391-6.

    (126.) Su wen 70-426-4.

    (127.) Su wen 71-473-12.

    (128.) Su wen 71-458-11.

    (129.) Su wen 70-428-2.

    (130.) Su wen 70-419-7.

    (131.) Su wen 68-391-6.

    (132.) Su wen 68-391-5.

    (133.) See Su wen 71-462-4, 462–13.

    (134.) Su wen 71-475-5.

    (135.) Su wen 70-420-6.

    (136.) Su wen 70-422-1.

    (137.) Su wen 70-423-2.

    (138.) Su wen 70-424-3.

    (139.) Su wen 70-425-4.

    (140.) Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 188 center.

    (142.) see Yi jing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Xi ci-shang Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 81 below.

    (143.) Li ji Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen 6, Yue ling Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 1354 above.

    (144.) Ibid., 1372 center.

    (145.) Shang shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Hong fan Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 188 center (Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen).

    (146.) See Shang shu Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Gu ming Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 239 above. The Xi ci Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen commentary to the Yi jing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen has the following phrase: “Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen,” “a chart coming out of the [Yellow] River”. See Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 82 center.

    (147.) Su wen 71-489-4.

    (148.) Su wen 71-484-3.

    (p.493) (149.) Su wen 71-479-5.

    (150.) Su wen 71-478-4.

    (151.) Hou Han shu 59, vol. 7, 1911.

    (152.) Ibid., 1912, note 1.

    (153.) The phrase Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “a writing coming out of the Luo River,” appears in the Xi ci Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen commentary to the Yi jing Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, in the same context as Appendix The Doctrine of the Five Periods and Six Qi in the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen (see above). See Shi san jing zhu shu, vol. 1, 82 center.

    (154.) Su wen 70-428-5 to 435–3.

    (155.) Su wen 74-507-7.

    (156.) Su wen 68-397-3.

    (157.) Su wen 68-397-3, note 67.

    (158.) Su wen 70-443-1.

    (159.) Su wen 71-463-7.

    (160.) Su wen 71-460-6.

    (161.) Su wen 71-469-7.

    (162.) Su wen 71-489-6.

    (163.) Su wen 71-475-12.

    (164.) See commentary to Su wen 71-475-12.

    (165.) Su wen 67-370-7.

    (166.) Su wen 67-370-11.

    (167.) Su wen 67-370-10.

    (168.) Su wen 68-388-3.

    (169.) Su wen 70-451-7.

    (170.) Su wen 70-436-1.

    (171.) Su wen 67-372-6.

    (172.) Su wen 69-417-7.

    (173.) Su wen 69-416-2.

    (174.) Su wen 69-416-5. (p.494)