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The Twenty-Eight Mansions (Chinese: 二十八宿; pinyin: Èr Shí Bā Xiù), hsiu, xiu or sieu 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.
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.
List of mansions
|Number||Name (pinyin)||Translation||Determinative star|
of the East
|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|
of the North
|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|
of the West
|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|
of the South
|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
- Gary D. Thompson chapter 11-24
- Richard Hinckley Allen in Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning
- CBETA T21 No. 1299《文殊師利菩薩及諸仙所說吉凶時日善惡宿曜經》卷1
- "The Chinese Sky". International Dunhuang Project. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- Sun, Xiaochun (1997). Helaine Selin, ed. Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. Kluwer Academic Publishers. p. 517. ISBN 0-7923-4066-3. Retrieved 2011-06-25.
- By Gary D. Thompson:
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