Research Project


The divinatory manual Yizhangjing 一掌經

Dr. Stephanie Homola

One of my major goals at the KHC was to initiate close collaboration with Prof. Dr. Marta Hanson on a joint-project about a divinatory manual called Yizhangjing 一掌經 (The Classic of the Palm). The interest of this manual lies in the use of the hand as a mnemonic device, as well as in a mixture of Buddhist and Taoist terminology for prognostication. We organized a common reading session at the KHC on this document: “A Divination Manual on Hand Mnemonics - The Yizhangjing 一掌經, attributed to the monk Yixing 一行 of the Tang Dynasty”, June 25th, 2014.

This session provided an opportunity to obtain valuable insights from other specialist fellows, particularly from Prof. Dr. Chia-Feng Chang. As a first step in our collaboration, I will work on a partial translation of this manual that should be published, along with an article by Marta Hanson, in an edited volume by Dr. Pierce Salguero on Buddhism & Healing in East Asia.

As a result of this session, Marta Hanson and I launched a Call for Proposals to organize panel with 5-6 other KHC fellows at the 14th International Conference on the History of Science in East Asia, that will be held in Paris on 6-10th July, 2015. One panel will possibly focus on “Numerology and the vernacular” and another on “Visual devices for prognostication.”

During my stay at the KHC, I also edited a forthcoming research note on hand mnemonics that was reviewed by Marta Hanson: “Les usages de la main dans les calculs divinatoires”. Études chinoises, 2014, n° 33-1 (forthcoming).

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