Twenty-Eight Mansions

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The twenty-eight mansions of the Chinese astronomy

The Twenty-Eight Mansions (Chinese: 二十八宿; pinyin: Èr Shí Bā Xiù), hsiu, xiu[1] or sieu[2] are part of the Chinese constellations system. They can be considered as the equivalent to the zodiacal constellations in the Western astronomy, though the Twenty-eight Mansions reflect the movement of the Moon through a sidereal month rather than the Sun in a tropical year. Another similar system, called Nakshatra, is used in traditional Indian astronomy.[3]

Overview[edit]

Ancient Chinese astronomers divided the sky ecliptic into four regions, collectively known as the Four Symbols, each assigned a mysterious animal. They are Azure Dragon (青龍) on the east, Black Tortoise (玄武) on the north, White Tiger (白虎) on the west, and Vermilion Bird (朱雀) on the south. Each region contains seven mansions, making a total of 28 mansions. These mansions or xiù correspond to the longitudes along the ecliptic that the Moon crosses during its 27.32-day journey around the Earth and serve as a way to track the Moon's progress. In Taoism they are related to 28 Chinese generals.[4]

List of mansions[edit]

The names and determinative stars of the mansions are:[5][6]

Four Symbols
(四象)
Mansion (宿)
Number Name (pinyin) Translation Determinative star
Azure Dragon
of the East

(東方青龍)
Spring
1 角 (Jiăo) Horn α Vir
2 亢 (Kàng) Neck κ Vir
3 氐 (Dĭ) Root α Lib
4 房 (Fáng) Room π Sco
5 心 (Xīn) Heart σ Sco
6 尾 (Wěi) Tail μ Sco
7 箕 (Jī) Winnowing Basket γ Sgr
Black Tortoise
of the North

(北方玄武)
Winter
8 斗 (Dǒu) (Southern) Dipper φ Sgr
9 牛 (Niú) Ox β Cap
10 女 (Nǚ) Girl ε Aqr
11 虛 (Xū) Emptiness β Aqr
12 危 (Wēi) Rooftop α Aqr
13 室 (Shì) Encampment α Peg
14 壁 (Bì) Wall γ Peg
White Tiger
of the West

(西方白虎)
Fall
15 奎 (Kuí) Legs η And
16 婁 (Lóu) Bond β Ari
17 胃 (Wèi) Stomach 35 Ari
18 昴 (Mǎo) Hairy Head 17 Tau
19 畢 (Bì) Net ε Tau
20 觜 (Zī) Turtle Beak λ Ori
21 參 (Shēn) Three Stars ζ Ori
Vermilion Bird
of the South

(南方朱雀)
Summer
22 井 (Jǐng) Well μ Gem
23 鬼 (Guǐ) Ghost θ Cnc
24 柳 (Liǔ) Willow δ Hya
25 星 (Xīng) Star α Hya
26 張 (Zhāng) Extended Net υ¹ Hya
27 翼 (Yì) Wings α Crt
28 軫 (Zhěn) Chariot γ Crv

These Chinese lunar mansions have been in use too in the ancient Japan.

For example, the « Bansenshukai », written in 1676 by the ninja master Fujibayashi Yasutake, speak at several times about these stars, especially in the book 8, volume 17, speaking about astronomy and meteorology (according to the Axel Mazuer's translation). The original text of this book show a classical picture of these twenty-eight mansions.

One can see this classical picture at this link : http://www.ninpo.org/historicalrecords/bnsnshk8-3.htm

References[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]