Earthly Branches

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Earthly Branches
Chinese Zodiac carvings on ceiling of Kushida Shrine, Fukuoka.jpg
A carving of the Chinese zodiac on the ceiling of the gate to Kushida Shrine in Fukuoka, Japan
Chinese name
Chinese 地支
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Địa Chi
Korean name
Hangul 지지
Hanja 地支
Japanese name
Kanji 地支
Hiragana ちし
12 Branches
Chinese name
Chinese 十二
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Thập Nhị Chi
Korean name
Hangul 십이
Hanja 十二
Japanese name
Kanji 十二
Hiragana じゅうにし

The twelve Earthly Branches or Terrestrial Branches[1] are an ordering system used throughout East Asia in various contexts, including its ancient dating system, astrological traditions, and zodiac.

Origin

This system was built from observations of the orbit of Jupiter. Chinese astronomers divided the celestial circle into 12 sections to follow the orbit of 歲星 Suìxīng (Jupiter, the Year Star). Astronomers rounded the orbit of Suixing to 12 years (from 11.86). Suixing was associated with 攝提 Shètí (η Boötis) and sometimes called Sheti.

History

In correlative thinking, the 12 years of the Jupiter cycle also identify the 12 months of the year, 12 animals (mnemonics for the system), directions, seasons, and Chinese hour in the form of double hours. When a Branch is used for a double hour, the listed periods are meant. When used for an exact time of a day, it is the center of the period. For instance, 马 (the Horse) means noon or a period from 11 am to 1 pm. (The jie qi system provided single hours and 15-degree arcs in time and space.)

Chinese seasons are based on observations of the sun and stars. Many Chinese calendrical systems have started the new year on the second new moon after the winter solstice.

The Earthly Branches are today used with the Heavenly Stems in the current version of the "traditional Chinese calendar" and in Taoism. The Ganzhi (Stem-Branch) combination is a fairly new way to mark time; in the second millennium BC, during the Shang era, the 10 Heavenly Stems provided the names of the days of the week. The Branches are as old as the Stems (and according to recent archaeology may actually be older), but the Stems were tied to the ritual calendars of Chinese kings. They were not part of the calendrical systems for the majority of Chinese people.

Twelve branches

Arctic Side

  Earthly
Branch
Chinese Japanese Korean
(RR)
Mongolian Manchu Vietnamese Chinese
zodiac
Japanese
zodiac
Direction Season Lunar Month Double Hour
Mandarin
Zhuyin
Mandarin
Pinyin
Cantonese
Jyutping
Hokkien
POJ
on'yomi kun'yomi
1 ㄗˇ zi2 chú し(shi) ね(ne) 자 (ja) ᠬᠤᠯᠤᠭᠠᠨ᠎ᠠ ᠰᡳᠩᡤᡝᡵᡳ tí (SV: tử)
Rat
0° (north) winter Month 11 11pm to 1am (midnight)
2 ㄔㄡˇ chǒu cau2 thiú ちゅう(chū) うし(ushi) 축 (chuk) ᠦᠬᠡᠷ ᡳᡥᠠᠨ sửu
Ox

Cow
30° Month 12 1am to 3am
3 ㄧㄣˊ yín jan4 în いん(in) とら(tora) 인 (in) ᠪᠠᠷᠰ ᡨᠠᠰᡥᠠ dần
Tiger
60° spring Month 1 3am to 5am
4 ㄇㄠˇ mǎo maau5 báu ぼう(bō) う(u) 묘 (myo) ᠲᠠᠤᠯᠠᠢ ᡤᡡᠯᠮᠠᡥᡡᠨ mão (non-SV: mẹo)
Rabbit
90° (east) Month 2 5am to 7am
5 ㄔㄣˊ chén san4 sîn しん(shin) たつ(tatsu) 진 (jin) ᠯᠤᠤ ᠮᡠᡩᡠᡵᡳ thìn (SV: thần) 龙(龍)
Dragon
竜 (龍) 120° Month 3 7am to 9 am
6 ㄙˋ zi6 し(shi) み(mi) 사 (sa) ᠮᠣᠭᠠᠢ ᠮᡝᡳᡥᡝ tị
Snake
150° summer Month 4 9am to 11am
7 ㄨˇ ng5 ngó͘ ご(go) うま(uma) 오 (o) ᠮᠣᠷᠢ ᠮᠣᡵᡳᠨ ngọ 马(馬)
Horse
180° (south) Month 5 11am to 1pm (noon)
8 ㄨㄟˋ wèi mei6 び (bi) ひつじ(hitsuji) 미 (mi) ᠬᠣᠨᠢ ᡥᠣᠨᡳᠨ mùi (SV: vị)
Goat
210° Month 6 1pm to 3pm
9 ㄕㄣ shēn san1 sin しん(shin) さる(saru) 신 (sin) ᠪᠡᠴᠢᠨ ᠪᠣᠨᡳᠣ thân
Monkey
240° autumn Month 7 3pm to 5pm
10 ㄧㄡˇ yǒu jau5 ゆう(yū) とり(tori) 유 (yu) ᠲᠠᠬᠢᠶ᠎ᠠ ᠴᠣᡴᠣ dậu 鸡(雞)
Rooster
鶏 (鳥)
Chicken
270° (west) Month 8 5pm to 7pm
11 ㄒㄩ seot1 sut じゅつ(jutsu) いぬ(inu) 술 (sul) ᠨᠣᠬᠠᠢ ᡳᠨᡩᠠᡥᡡᠨ tuất
Dog
300° Month 9 7pm to 9pm
12 ㄏㄞˋ hài hoi6 hāi がい(gai) い(i) 해 (hae) ᠭᠠᠬᠠᠢ ᡠᠯᡤᡳᠶᠠᠨ hợi 猪(豬)
Pig
330° winter Month 10 9pm to 11pm

Some cultures assign different animals: Vietnam replaces the Ox and Rabbit with the water buffalo and cat, respectively; Japan replaces the Pig () with the boar () as the character 猪 means Pig in Chinese but "boar" in Japanese; Tibet replaces the Rooster with the bird. In the traditional Kazakh version of the 12-year animal cycle (Kazakh: мүшел, müşel), the Dragon is substituted by a snail (Kazakh: ұлу, ulw), and the Tiger appears as a leopard (Kazakh: барыс, barıs).[2]

Directions

The 24 cardinal directions (ancient Chinese convention places the south (red) at the top).

Though Chinese has words for the four cardinal directions, Chinese mariners and astronomers/astrologers preferred using the 12 directions of the Earthly Branches, which is somewhat similar to the modern-day practice of English-speaking pilots using o'clock for directions. Since 12 points were not enough for sailing, 12 midpoints were added. Instead of combining two adjacent direction names, they assigned new names:

  • For the four diagonal directions, appropriate trigram names of I Ching were used.
  • For the rest, the Heavenly Stems (1-4, 7-10) were used. According to the Five Elements theory, east is assigned to wood, and the Stems of wood are (jiǎ) and (). Thus, they were assigned clockwise to the two adjacent points of the east.

The 24 directions are:

  Character Mandarin name Hokkien name Korean name Japanese name Vietnamese name Direction
1 ㄗˇ zǐ chú 자 (ja) ね (ne) tí (SV: tử) 0° (north)
2 ㄍㄨㄟˇ guǐ kúi 계 (gye) (SK: 규 (gyu)) みずのと (mizunoto) quý 15°
3 ㄔㄡˇ chǒu thiú 축 (chuk) (SK: 추 (chu)) うし (ushi) sửu 30°
4 ㄍㄣˋ gèn kùn 간 (gan) うしとら (ushitora) cấn 45° (northeast)
5 ㄧㄣˊ yín în 인 (in) とら (tora) dần 60°
6 ㄐㄧㄚˇ jiǎ kap / kah 갑 (gap) きのえ (kinoe) giáp 75°
7 ㄇㄠˇ mǎo báu 묘 (myo) う (u) mão (non-SV: mẹo) 90° (east)
8 ㄧˇ yǐ it 을 (eul) きのと (kinoto) ất 105°
9 ㄔㄣˊ chén sîn 진 (jin) (SK: 신 (sin)) たつ (tatsu) thìn (SV: thần) 120°
10 ㄒㄩㄣˋ xùn sùn 손 (son) たつみ (tatsumi) tốn 135° (southeast)
11 ㄙˋ sì 사 (sa) み (mi) tị 150°
12 ㄅㄧㄥˇ bǐng péng 병 (byeong) ひのえ (hinoe) bính 165°
13 ㄨˇ wǔ ngó͘ 오 (o) うま (uma) ngọ 180ㄑ° (south)
14 ㄉㄧㄥ dīng teng 정 (jeong) ひのと (hinoto) đinh 195°
15 ㄨㄟˋ wèi 미 (mi) ひつじ (hitsuji) mùi (SV: vị) 210°
16 ㄎㄨㄣ kūn khun 곤 (gon) ひつじさる (hitsujisaru) khôn 225° (southwest)
17 ㄕㄣ shēn sin 신 (sin) さる (saru) thân 240°
18 ㄍㄥ gēng keng 경 (gyeong) かのえ (kanoe) canh 255°
19 ㄧㄡˇ yǒu 유 (yu) とり (tori) dậu 270° (west)
20 ㄒㄧㄣ xīn sin 신 (sin) かのと (kanoto) tân 285°
21 ㄒㄩ xū sut 술 (sul) いぬ (inu) tuất 300°
22 ㄑㄧㄢˊ qián khiân 건 (geon) いぬい (inui) càn (SV: kiền) 315° (northwest)
23 ㄏㄞˋ hài hāi 해 (hae) い (i) hợi 330°
24 ㄖㄣˊ rén jîm 임 (im) みずのえ (mizunoe) nhâm 345°

Advanced mariners such as Zheng He used 48-point compasses. An additional midpoint was called by a combination of its two closest basic directions, such as 丙午 (bǐngwǔ) for the direction of 172.5°, the midpoint between (bǐng), 165°, and (), 180°.

See also

PDF: A study of the cardinal directions chart

References

  1. ^ Yuval Blum. "Introduction to the "STEMS AND BRANCHES" theory". Mahaya Forest Hill Integrative Health Clinic, Toronto. Archived from the original on 2018-08-27. Retrieved 2018-08-27. 
  2. ^ А. Мухамбетова (A. Mukhambetova), Казахский традиционный календарь The traditional Kazakh calendar (in Russian)

External links

  • Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches - Hong Kong Observatory
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