Taixuanjing

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The text Tài Xuán Jīng ("Canon of Supreme Mystery", Chinese: 太玄經) was composed by the Confucian writer Yang Xiong (53 BCE-18 CE). The first draft of this work was completed in 2 BCE (in the decade before the fall of the Western Han dynasty). During the Jin dynasty, an otherwise unknown person named Fan Wang (Chinese: 范望) salvaged the text and wrote a commentary on it, from which our text survives today.

The Taixuanjing is a divinatory text similar to, and inspired by, the I Ching (Yijing). Whereas the I Ching is based on 64 binary hexagrams (sequences of six horizontal lines each of which may be broken or unbroken), the Taixuanjing employs 81 ternary tetragrams (sequences of four lines, each of which may be unbroken, broken once, or broken twice). Like the I Ching it may be consulted as an oracle by casting yarrow stalks or a six-faced die to generate numbers which define the lines of a tetragram, which can then be looked up in the text.

A tetragram drawn without moving lines refers to the tetragram description, while a tetragram drawn with moving lines refers to the specific lines.

The monograms are:

  • the unbroken line (TXJ 1.svg ⚊) for heaven (Chinese: ; pinyin: tiān),
  • once broken line (TXJ 2.svg ⚋) for earth (Chinese: ; pinyin: ),
  • twice broken line (TXJ 3.svg 𝌀) for man (Chinese: ; pinyin: rén).

Numerically the symbols can counted as ⚊ = 0, ⚋ = 1, 𝌀 = 2, and grouped into sets of four to count from 0 to 80. This is clearly intentional as this passage from chapter 8 of the Tài Xuán Jīng points out the principle of carrying and place value.

Chinese English

推玄筭:
家 一置一,二置二,三置三。
部 一勿增,二增三,三增六。
州 一勿增,二增九,三增十八。
方 一勿增,二增二十七,三增五十四

Push Profound Calculation:
First Part: one sets one, two sets two, three sets three.
Second Part: one doesn't add, two adds three, three adds six.
Third Part: one doesn't add, two adds nine, three adds eighteen.
Fourth Part: one doesn't add, two adds twenty-seven, three adds fifty-four.

Translation[edit]

An English translation by Michael Nylan was published in 1993.

  • Nylan, Michael (1993). The Canon of Supreme Mystery: A Translation with Commentary of the T'AI HSÜAN CHING. SUNY series in Chinese philosophy and culture. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0-7914-1395-0. 

Unicode[edit]

Tai Xuan Jing Symbols
Range U+1D300..U+1D35F
(96 code points)
Plane SMP
Scripts Common
Symbol sets Tai Xuan Jing
Assigned 87 code points
Unused 9 reserved code points
Unicode version history
4.0 87 (+87)
Note: [1][2]

In the Unicode Standard, the Tai Xuan Jing Symbols block is an extension of the Yì Jīng symbols. Their Chinese aliases most accurately reflect their interpretation; for example, the Chinese alias of code point U+1D300 is "rén", which translates into English as man and yet the English alias is "MONOGRAM FOR EARTH".[1]

Block[edit]

Tai Xuan Jing Symbols[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1D30x 𝌀 𝌁 𝌂 𝌃 𝌄 𝌅 𝌆 𝌇 𝌈 𝌉 𝌊 𝌋 𝌌 𝌍 𝌎 𝌏
U+1D31x 𝌐 𝌑 𝌒 𝌓 𝌔 𝌕 𝌖 𝌗 𝌘 𝌙 𝌚 𝌛 𝌜 𝌝 𝌞 𝌟
U+1D32x 𝌠 𝌡 𝌢 𝌣 𝌤 𝌥 𝌦 𝌧 𝌨 𝌩 𝌪 𝌫 𝌬 𝌭 𝌮 𝌯
U+1D33x 𝌰 𝌱 𝌲 𝌳 𝌴 𝌵 𝌶 𝌷 𝌸 𝌹 𝌺 𝌻 𝌼 𝌽 𝌾 𝌿
U+1D34x 𝍀 𝍁 𝍂 𝍃 𝍄 𝍅 𝍆 𝍇 𝍈 𝍉 𝍊 𝍋 𝍌 𝍍 𝍎 𝍏
U+1D35x 𝍐 𝍑 𝍒 𝍓 𝍔 𝍕 𝍖
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 10.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

History[edit]

The following Unicode-related documents record the purpose and process of defining specific characters in the Tai Xuan Jing Symbols block:

Version Final code points[a] Count L2 ID WG2 ID Document
4.0 U+1D300..1D356 87 L2/02-089 N2416 Cook, Richard; Everson, Michael; Nylan, Michael (2002-02-11), Proposal to add monogram, digram, and tetragram characters to the UCS 
L2/05-267 N2998 Proposed annotations for Annex P -- reference N2988, 2005-09-15 
L2/05-260 N2988 Kawabata, Taichi (2005-09-21), Proposal to correct the Character Names for Tai Xuan Jing (U+13D00 ~ U+13D05) 
L2/05-281 N2998R Proposed annotations for Annex P -- reference N2988, 2005-09-28 
L2/06-088 N3837 "11.4", Unconfirmed minutes of WG 2 meeting 47, 2006-02-22 
  1. ^ Proposed code points and characters names may differ from final code points and names

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Unicode character database". The Unicode Standard. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  2. ^ "Enumerated Versions of The Unicode Standard". The Unicode Standard. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 

External links[edit]