Some Google Treasures on the Yi…

Here is something I posted in Clarity. I’m sure many will find this useful.

Hi all,

This is the little surprise I mentioned the other day in Clarity. I’ve been compiling links to post here, with the little time I have to serious research (for bugging others here I seem to have all the time in the world, but is not true… :D)

I’ve been digging on this for almost two weeks and I advise anybody to do this if you can think of authors and commentators on the Yi. Google has a great service where they are scanning whole libraries and making those texts available to the public. In cases where the books are rare and old and there is no copyright, the whole texts are downloadable in PDF format, what they call “Full View” books.

What started my quest into Google Books are two books I ordered recently in Spanish. Two translations of the Yi that are available in French (the original translation from the Chinese to a Western language) and in Spanish. Oddly enough, although the authors are quoted in any places, such as the Wilhem/Baynes version, and were contemporary with Legge and earlier than Wilhelm in their translations, there are  no translations I could find in English… The authors are not even mentioned in Brad’s Bibliography. They are Charles de Harlez and Yuan Kuang. Doing a search in Clarity, there is nothing about Harlez and for Yuan Kuang there is only one entry by Mary Halpin, here, which was a cross-post from Midaughter. That was more than two years ago.

I wasn’t even aware of the post until I started searching, but, one of the things that prompted me to find more information about these two authors is that they both believe, although with slight differences amongst them, that the “Moving Lines” of an hexagram are not the 9’s and 6’s (Old Yangs and Yins) but the 7’s and 8’s (Young Yangs and Yins). The rationale behind this is that it is the “Young” lines the ones that have the potential for change since they are still growing and gathering energy while the “Old” lines are, by the definition of old and frailty, too rigid for change. Raymond de Becker, the compiler of Harlez works in French under the book “Méthode pratique de divination chinoise par le Yi-King” (Paris, 1950), finds this point of view about changing lines more natural a logical than the one given by Wilhelm and other translations (he quotes Wilhelm in the original German version as when his French book came out the Wilhelm/Baynes was not yet available…)

Well now, that’s a debate to tackle in Clarity!! Makes you wonder if we all had it upside down in our interpretations and the derived hexagrams are completely different from what we are used to… Obviously, the consensus is with the present “status quo”, but what if… 🙂

Now, going back to Google Books, I found several treasures in my quest for more information on this subject. One of them is “The Oldest Book of the Chinese, The Yh-King, and it Authors” by A. Terrien de Lacouperie. This book was published in 1892! It is available nowhere outside some brick-and-mortar libraries or rare books bookstores. Now it is for all to grab in digital format. That link will take you the the page where you can download the whole thing and print.

Other links I found with downloadable information (you’ll be downloading the actual facsimile of the original books!) are as follow, many are in French:

The Yi King of the Chinese as a book of divination and philosophy[/URL] from the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland; published in 1884.

Sacred Literature, 1905

The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East: with historical surveys of the chief writings… 1917.

Outlines of the History of Religion: To the Spread of the Universal Religions. 1896

James Legge, Missionary and Scholar, 1905

Figures Symboliques du Yi-King (Journal Asiatique), 1897

The Sacred Books of China: The Texts of Confucianism, 1899 (This is the facsimile of the original version of James Legge’s translation)

The Religions of Japan from the Dawn of History to the Era of Meiji

Le Yi-King, au VII siecle avant, J.C. (Journal Asiatique), 1893

Chinese Philosophy: An Exposition of the Main Characteristic Features of Chinese Thought, 1898

Histoire ancienne de l’Orient (continuée par E. Babelon), 1881

Charles de Harlez

A search of “de Harlez” in Full View books

What I did was to search in Google Books using the names I found in the bibliography of some of those old works. I invite all those interested to do the same and perhaps you can find things I haven’t had the time to find.

I hope you find this useful,


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