Doctors, Diviners, and Magicians of Ancient China. by Kenneth J. DeWoskin

By Kenneth J. DeWoskin

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Extra resources for Doctors, Diviners, and Magicians of Ancient China. Biographies of Fang-shih

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Orphans and Two charts showing the alignment of various counters for a particular day in the cycle of ten. In the center are the graphs for yang (top) and yin, surrounded by markers for the four quarters of the sky, twelve earthly branches, twelve solar seasons, and finally combined branches, stems, and hexagrams. ) INTRODUCTION Voids is often mentioned as a technique useful for military intelligence and strategy. Wind Angles (Feng-chiao): The wind from eight angles (four sides and four corners) is observed for its direction, strength, and other qualities.

The disdain that Ssu-ma Ch'ien expresses for the fang-shih in Emperor Wu's court is echoed if not directly quoted by later historians, even those who dedicate special chapters. Having noted that the tension between the disdain for the characters which is expressed and the interest that is implicit in the narratives reaches a peak with'~~Y~ij, in asking the question of what purpose was to be served by inclusi~n-ofJar;g­ shih at all, beyond the bland justification that as a group they had some influence on their times, we might concentrate attention on Fan Yeh and the History of the Later Han.

Contactwlth'the lmmortalscarriedwithitthe'possibility of acquiring secret formulas or, even better, the elixirs or herbs of immortality themselves. By virtue of the fact that immortality is demonstrable only by something not happening, the biographies in this group are the least specific in their narration of actual events. There are claims about the subjects, what. they ate, how youthful they looked and how aged they really were, and what remarkable powers over nature they had achieved. The immortal is characteristically'eremetic,\ and he emerges into public view only in the rarest of circumstances.

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