Research Project


The Evolution of Chinese Horoscopy from the Tang to the Ming

Jeffrey Kotyk

My proposed research project is a study of the Xingxue dacheng 星學大成 (Great Compendium of Star Studies) in thirty fascicles by Wan Minying 萬民英 (1521–1603), a Chinese manual of astrology. I will focus on identifying the significant developments of horoscopic material originally adopted from the Chinese translation of Dorotheus (都利聿斯經), a Hellenistic astrologer (c.75), while also examining the introduction of Chinese concepts and ideas into horoscopy. In order to fully understand the material at hand, I will produce a lexicon of terms, in which Chinese terms are cross referenced, where applicable, with the corresponding Greek and Indian terms. This will shed light on the differences between Chinese and Western traditions. I will then identify developments and misunderstandings of horoscopic techniques, while making comparisons with Western traditions. There are other works from the Ming period that will be of use. The Daoist canon includes a Rumen chongli zhezhong kanyu wanxiao lu 儒門崇理折衷堪輿完孝錄 (DZ 1471), a manual of geomancy (kanyu 堪輿) of unknown authorship from the mid-Ming period, which includes a significant amount of material concerning horoscopy, in addition to clear definitions of astrological vocabulary.

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