井底之蛙

6/20/2008

Summer is here

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 1:13 am

Today is the first day of summer here in Pennsylvania, which must mean it is time for a reading from 呂氏春秋 Lüshi Chunqiu LSCQ is best described as a philosophical encyclopedia of the Qin period, probably composed around 239 B.C.E. In part the book is a guide to rulers, and of course Chinese rulers were very interested in the seasons and the changes in the universe since activities in the human world correlated with the patterns of nature and a big part of being ruler was understanding this and taking advantage of this. 1 Apparently our Summer is a bit later than theirs, as the sow-thistle has already blossomed here and the Chinese did not get to the longest day of the year until the second month of summer. Still a good reading if you want to understand Chinese cosmology and rulership.

CHAPTER 1 ALMANAC FOR THE FIRST MONTH OF SUMMER2
4/1.1
A. During the first month of summer the sun is located in Net, At dusk the constellation Wings culminates, and at dawn the constellation Serving Maid culminates.
B. The correlates of this month are the days bing and ding, the Sovereign Yan, his assisting spirit Zhurong, creatures that are feathered, the musical notczhi, the pitch-standard Regulator of the Mean, the number seven (the element of human nature ritual propriety, the faculty vision), acrid tastes, burning smells, and the offering at the furnace. At sacrifice, the lungs are given the preeminent position.
C. The small green frogs croak, the earthworms come out, the royal vine develops, and the sow-thistle flowers.
D. The Son of Heaven resides in the left apartment of the Hall of Light. He rides in a chariot of cinnabar-red, pulled by vermilion horses with black tails and bearing vermilion streamers. He is clothed in vermilion robes and wears vermilion jade ornaments. He eats beans accompanied by fowl. His vessels are tall and large.
  1. see Sellmann, James D. 2002. Timing and Rulership in Master Lü’s Spring and Autumn Annals (Lüshi chunqiu). Albany: State University of New York Press. []
  2. from Knoblock, John and Jeffrey Riegel. 2000. The Annals of Lü Buwei: A Complete Translation and Study. Stanford: Stanford University Press. []

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