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Origins of Chinese Horoscope - 十二生肖


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#1 peshawar6

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:30 PM

anyone know when the Chinese horoscope came about? Was there anything like it by the time of the Zhou?

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#2 Centaur

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:42 PM

Hope the following is of some use:

Chinese Astrology

There has been virtually no research in the west on the history of Chinese astrology, perhaps because Europeans have always been far more interested in the alternative, and highly intriguing divinatory tool, the Book of Changes, or I Ching. The fact that this oracular system should have evolved indicates the extent to which China provided fertile ground for the development of astrology, but Chinese astrology never achieved either the complexity and sophistication, or the dominance as a method of divination, that it did in the west.

The relative geographical isolation of China from the rest of the World accounts for the substantial differences between Chinese and western astrology. For example the circumpolar constellations, those that surrounded the pole star, were considered particularly important, and it was this band that has divided into
the 28 hsui.

However, the possibility of links between Chinese and western astrologers is stronger than might be thought at first. It has been suggested that Indian and Chinese astrologers were in loose contact via the Himalayas, but in fact 2,000 years ago Persia would have been far more accessible to the Chinese than would India. Central Asia until about 1,500 A.D. was always the centre of, or close to the centre of, some powerful Empire, and the entire area, which is now considered remote and inhospitable, was covered by great caravan routes and prosperous trading centres. Thus we can imagine Persian and Chinese scholars meeting and, in discussions on the nature of the Universe, confiding in each other the techniques of astrology. This, however, is pure speculation, and there is no record of a Chinese astronomer visiting Persia until the 13th century A.D.

The coincidence between Chinese and western astrology goes beyond the use of 28 hsui or 12 animal types. A set of predictions exists in the Shih Chi (historical record) of Ssuma Chien, compiled around 100 B.C. but containing much earlier material. The similarity between these omens, which deal with the rising of the planets, their conjunctions and paths through the stars, and the Enuma Anu Enlil is striking, and strong enough to suggest communication between Chinese and Mesopotamian astrologers before 100 B.C.

It is also of interest that natal astrology developed in China at around the time of Christ, at the same period as it was developed in the west by Greeks and Persians. This also suggests that astrologers in China were not unaware of the state of astrology in the west, and while accepting that we have no direct evidence of communication between the two cultures, such evidence may lie in the cities of central Asia long abandoned and lost to nature. The earliest Chinese astrologer who is known to us is Wei Ning, who was born around 550 but of his contribution to the art, and of his predecessors and successors almost nothing is known. Chinese astrology today has spread worldwide with the migrations of the Chinese, and only now is beginning to have an impact on the thought of western astrologers.


Source: Russian Information Network
Site: http://astro.rin.ru/...y/astro7-1.html

#3 LYY

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 11:04 PM

There has been virtually no research in the west on the history of Chinese astrology, perhaps because Europeans have always been far more interested in the alternative, and highly intriguing divinatory tool, the Book of Changes, or I Ching. The fact that this oracular system should have evolved indicates the extent to which China provided fertile ground for the development of astrology,but Chinese astrology never achieved either the complexity and sophistication, or the dominance as a method of divination, that it did in the west.


I Ching may not be the dominance method of dvination in the West, but it is far more sophisticated that recent scientist starts to unlock its real implication and meaning.

It is a pity most Chinese perceive Yi (易) merely as a divinatory tool.

#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 10:47 AM

The chinese horoscope is represented by 12 Zodiac animals known as "Shi Er Sheng Xiao 十二生肖" in chinese. The 12 Zodiac animals are: Cat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. The 12 Zodiacs are closely related to the "12 terrestial branches (12 地支)" seen in the "Gan Zhi (干支)" system of the chinese calendar. For info about Gan Zhi, refer to http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=8330

As for the origin/history of chinese horoscope, refer to the chinese article at
http://zhidao.baidu....on/3423096.html (if you can read chinese).

I'll summarize the main points:

With regard to the origin of Chinese horoscope (in particular the 12 Zodiacs), there were various theories put forth by scholars throughout the history. Historians today were still unable to come into a conclusion to pin-point when the Chinese horoscope exactly arises.

Some people regarded the origin of the Chinese zodiac to be the same as that for “Di Zhi 地支(terrestial branches) and thus can be traced back to pre-historical legendary period. In “Shiji 《史记》” (Records of the Grand Historians), it was recorded that “
Huangdi once built a Jia Zi (甲子) to name his age. Most scholars regarded that the “Jia Zi (甲子) mentioned there refers to the 12 Zodiacs.

The Qing dynasty scholar Zhao Yi赵翼, on the contrary, regarded the Chinese horoscope to originate from the northern nomadic tribes that dwelled in northern China. This theory was largely mentioned in his book “Gai Yu Cong Kao《陔 余丛考》”.

Some scholars even thought that the 12 Zodiacs were foreign imports and regarded that the horoscopes were imported from the Babylon empire into China. The scholar who hold this view was Guo Muoruo 郭沫若. In his book “Oracle Inscription Research – explanation of Zhi Gan《甲骨文字研究•释支干》”, he argued that “the 12 Zodiacs was a product of the middle east that was used to mimic the 12 bureacrats system of the Babylon. It was spreaded to China during Han Wudi’s time (western han dynasty) through the various central asian kingdoms”.

With regard to the above viewpoints, it was hard to say who is right. However, from various records in Chinese ancient text, it was true that zodiacs originated from China. They were symbolic animals adored by the Huaxia people, totem of worship and products of ancient chinese astrology.

Regarding the records of Chinese horoscope, the earliest ancient text to record that was the “Book of Odes 《诗经》 (Shijing)”. In the chapter “Xiao Ya- Ji Ri 《诗经•小雅•吉日》”, it says “吉日庚午,即差我马” (Auspicious day was during noon, this was the best time to ride a horse for hunting). This placed the reference of noon with a horse. It can thus be derived that during the Spring/Autumn period, the relationship of the Di Zhi and the 12 Zodiac animals had already been well established. In 1975, the bamboo stripes excavated in one of the tomb in Hubei Yumeng county further confirmed the existence of Chinese horoscopes during Spring/Autumn period.

In the excavated bamboo stripes “The book of Day《日书》” , there was a passage named “thief《盗者》 ” and it was recorded various divination appearances with thief where it mentioned the 12 Zodiacs.

The12 Zodiacs that we are familiar with also originated largely from book “Lun Heng《论衡》(Treatise of judgement)” by the Han philosopher Wang Chong 王充. In one of the chapters of his book “Lun Heng – Wu Shi《论衡•物势》” (Treatise of Judgement – Power of Matter), it was recorded:

(Yin is wood, its animal is tiger. Xu is earth, its animal is dog. …Wu is horse..Zi is mouse. You is rooster. Mao is Rabbit.. Hai is pig. Wei is goat. Chou is Cow..Ji is snake. Shen is monkey) – note that “Yin”, “Xu”, “Wu”, “Zi”, “Mao” etc… refers to the “Di Zhi 地支” (terrestial branches of the Chinese calendar system)

By the Age of Fragmentation, the Chinese horoscope was widely used. In the history book “Nanqi Shu – Wu Xing Zhi《南齐书•五行志》”, there was a poetry about the 12 Zodiacs:

“鼠迹生尘案,牛羊暮下来。
虎哺坐空谷,兔月向窗开。
龙隰远青翠,蛇柳近徘徊。
马兰方远摘,羊负始春栽。
猴栗羞芳果,鸡砧引清杯。
狗其怀物外,猪蠡窅悠哉。”

This poetry followed the 12 terrestial branches accordingly and indicated that the Chinese horoscope was already very well-known during that time.

From the various records, it can be inferred that Chinese horoscope was an ancient culture that already existed before Han dynasty.

As to how Chinese horoscope originated, most scholars regarded it originated from the adoration and veneration of animals during prehistoric times. One theory put forth was that during prehistoric times, there was a need by humans to rely on animals bearing a close livelihood with them (such as horse, goat ,cow, dogs etc), to have fear against animals that endanger humans (such as tiger, snakes). With this came forth a veneration and adoration for these animals. With this belief, humans began to use them as symbols to record years and months.
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#5 peshawar6

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 05:20 AM

I Ching may not be the dominance method of dvination in the West, but it is far more sophisticated that recent scientist starts to unlock its real implication and meaning.

It is a pity most Chinese perceive Yi (易) merely as a divinatory tool.



your answer is rather cryptic....do you mind supplying a little more detail as to what you mean?

#6 Bilge

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:20 PM

The 12 Zodiac animals are: Cat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

_____________________________________________________________

It must be Rat, of course... NOT Cat! :lol:


Turkic peoples also used this calendar...I will write the Turkish names:

Rat = SIÇAN = Sıçgan
Cow = SIĞIR = Ud
Tiger = PARS = Bars
Rabbit = TAVŞAN = Tabışgan
Dragon = EJDERHA = Lu
Snake = YILAN = Yılan
Horse = AT = Yond
Goat = KOYUN = Koy
Monkey = MAYMUN = Biçin
Rooster = TAVUK =Taguk
Dog = KÖPEK = İt
Pig = DOMUZ = Tonguz
I'm a historian.

#7 Bilge

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 07:46 AM

Chinese and Mongolian names:


Rat = SHU = Khuluguna
Ox/Cow = NIU = Uker
Tiger = HU = Bars
Rabbit = TU = Toolai
Dragon = LONG = Loo
Snake = SHE = Makkoi
Horse = MA = Morin
Sheep/Goat = YANG = Khoin
Monkey = HOU = Meçin
Rooster = JI = Takıya
Dog = GOU = Mokkai
Pig = ZHU = Khokai


I want to learn the Tibetan, Japanese and Vietnamese names of it...

Edited by Bilge, 30 November 2008 - 05:54 AM.

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#8 albertgold222

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:47 AM

At the the earlier time it have 36 Zodiac animals but because it so complicated they change it to 12 Zodiac for more easy to use.It depend of what time when you born it will count you as real zodiac and if born in different time some are other type zodiac animal.In Taiwan have few master fung shui did explain in tv show one of the person call Master Lin,is because of too complicated I choose 12 zodiac for easy use.




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