Project (2019)

The Cosmic Board Divination in Medieval China: Integrated Studies on the Manuscript of Divination Book

The manuscript Bushishu (Divination Book) copied in the early Tang period (only volume 23 survived) was separated into two fragments. The first part was in Luo Zhenyu’s Dayun Library's collection, published in the Jishi’an Congshu in 1916, and is now preserved at Shanghai Library. The second part was in the Shōmyōji Temple collection and is now archived in the Kanazawa Bunko in Yokohama. Based on investigations and research of the original manuscripts, Xin Yu combined the two fragments, transliterated and annotated the whole text. He made a critical reading of the surviving Bushishu manuscript and compared it with Fangshu documents on bamboo slips and silk texts, divinations in Dunhuang and Turfan documents, Japanese Onmyōdō texts, and the Wuxing dayi compiled by Xiaoji during the Sui dynasty. Xin Yu aims to reveal the formation, transformation, contracture, and practice of the knowledge genealogy of cosmic board divination during Sui and Tang dynasties.

This research is intended to develop a comprehensive understanding of the place of different source materials (historical records, archaeological evidence, bamboo slips and silk texts, Dunhuang and Turfan manuscripts, lost Chinese books kept in Japan, and literature on Sino-foreign relations) in the production of traditional knowledge and the practice of astrology and divination, and to re-think the role of manuscripts and images in intellectual history, folk belief, and daily life. With his research, Xin Yu hopes to cast new, more systematic light on subjects he has been exploring in his researches, including the world image, concepts of life and death, transmission of textual and visual knowledge, and religious rituals.