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How old are the animal names of the Chinese signs?

 
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Deb
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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3915
Location: England

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:01 pm    Post subject: How old are the animal names of the Chinese signs? Reply with quote

I'm interested in this since having a conversation with Vic Ketis at the recent FAA conference. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend his lecture on Chinese astrological methods because it was the same time as one of mine. I got the impression from Vic that the familiar names of the Chinese signs (Rat, Pig, Dragon, etc) are not as old and well-attested historically as most of us assume they are.

Does anyone have any information about when the Chinese zodiac divisions became commonly associated with the animals used today?
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jup



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
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Location: hong kong

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The use of animal signs were found in ancient Chinese text in AD 1, as a way to represent the yin/yang five elements so people in general could remember easily.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm - that had always been my understanding. Hope I haven't misrespresented Vic's views. I'll send him an email and clarify this. I do remember some controversial point being made that there are assumptions about these names, which were not used historically in the way we tend to think they are today.

Thanks for responding jup
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jup



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, the zodiac division is represented by other Chinese characters which relate to the yin/yang of the five elements. Such division/ astronomy can be traced back to I Ching.
The animal signs were used probably for the convenience of common people. And the 12 animal yearly signs indeed is about the Jupiter cycle.
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Deb
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Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, (my memory is coming back a little ...) that was the sort of thing he was saying Smile Thanks for clarifying the point of confusion.
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Lunlumo



Joined: 04 Sep 2007
Posts: 252
Location: Münster, Germany

Posted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I know the Chinese animals were attributed to forces that had been found centuries before - i.e. the earthly stems (as opposed to the heavenly stems). It seems these animals had been referred to the 12-years' cycle also outside China, e.g. among Turkish populations.
Even today Chinese astrologers in China often do not mention the animals -which does not mean that they avoid them:
2012 - commonly named "Yang- Water / Dragon": Chinese astrologers would as a rule in this case often just say: 9 / V - an abstract way of expressing it.

I have been trying to grasp the fundamentals of Chinese astrology for some time - but it takes patience... but it's worthwhile doing so. There is so much to be learned about individuals.

What I suggest: One might take an example of a Four Pillars Chart (Bazi Suanming) - and discuss it in detail. The relations between the pillars may at first sight be simple - however, they turn out to be most intricate once you have tried to gain more than just a superficial insight.

Free Four Pillars charts: http://www.fourpillars.net/
Mark: Free chart Four pillars 1.1.
LL
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