The Yijing: Alternative Visions and Practices

October 24-25, 2017


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
Hartmannstraße. 14,
91052 Erlangen

Since the publication of Kidder Smith, et al., Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching in 1990, there have been many illuminating studies of Yijing commentaries. In these studies, the Yijing commentaries are read as historical documents revealing the changing identity of the literati and the constant interplay between culture and politics. What is lacking, however, is a close study of the Yijing divination. While it is true that the Yijing had been transformed from a collection of oracles into a moral and philosophical text at the dawn of imperial China, the classic (including its earlier form, the Zhouyi) was often used as a manual of divination. In fact, the Yijing divination was even more deep-rooted and widespread if we take divination to mean not only the mantic arts to seek guidance from gods, spirits and ancestors, but also the manifold human efforts to alleviate the fear of the uncertainty of life.
To demonstrate the significance of the Yijing divination, this workshop will examine the various methods that the Yijing text and its sixty-four hexagrams were used to address the serendipity of life. It will cover the divination practices from the Western Zhou (1046-771 BCE) to contemporary times, such as the stalk divination, numerology, and the cosmic charts. In examining these divination practices, this workshop will highlight the importance of divination to a broad spectrum of inquirers, ranging from high officials in the imperial court to farmers and laborers in a small town. From predicting the future to prescribing medicine to an ill person, this workshop will show that the Yijing was indeed part of the everyday life of the Chinese people, especially when they faced the ups and downs in life.

For more information, please contact Dr. Zhao Lu (


Poster Flyer


October 24, 2017

10:00 a. m. Welcome Address
Michael Lackner and Hon Tze-ki
10:10 a. m. Placing the Zhouyi in BCE Stalk Divination Traditions: Views from Newly Discovered Texts
Constance A. Cook and Andrea Bréard; Discussant: Zhao Lu
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
11:20 a. m. Predicting Success: The Song Literati Uses of Yijing in Divination
Liao Hsien-huei; Discussant: Stéphane Feuillas
12:10 p. m. Prediction based on the Past: Yang Wanli's Commentary on the Zhouyi
Stéphane Feuillas; Discussant: Liao Hsien-huei
1:00 p. m. Lunch Break
2:30 p. m. Body, Yijing, and Medicine: A Case Study on the Mingmen (Gate of Life) in Song-Ming China
Chang Chia-Feng; Discussant: Constance A. Cook
3:20 p. m. Coffee Break
3:40 p. m. Simplified Procedure and Extended Divination Objects: Explosion to Plum Blossom Yi Numerology
Tao Yingna; Discussant: Chang Chia-Feng

October 25, 2017

10:00 a. m. Predicting a Regime Change: The Yijing Studies in Early-Twentieth Century China
Hon Tze-ki; Discussant: William Matthews
10:50 a. m. Coffee Break
11:20 a. m. Reducing Uncertainty: Six Lines Prediction in Contemporary China
William Matthews; Discussant: Hon Tze-ki
12:10 p. m. Roundtable Discussion
Discussant: Michael Lackner
1:00 p. m. Lunch Break
2:30 p. m. Continued Roundtable Discussion
3:30 p. m. End

International Consortium for Research in the Humanities

"Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe."

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hartmannstr. 14
91052 Erlangen
Telefon: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64340
Fax: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64360