An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Za yinyang 雜陰陽

Jan 1, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald

Za yinyang 雜陰陽 "Miscellanea about Yin and Yang", also called Za yinyang shu 雜陰陽書, was a book on the philosophical Yin-Yang school written during the early Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE). The bibliographical chapter Yiwen zhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 says it was 38-chapters-long, but the author is not mentioned.

Yan Zhenzong 姚振宗 (1842-1906), who wrote a critical investigation of the Yiwen zhi, is of the opinion that the text was a mixture of various statements of Yin-Yang teachings compiled by the imperial bibliographer Liu Xiang 劉向 (79-8 or 77-6 BCE). Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (1911-1992) points at the fact that the Za yinyang was probably similar to the texts Rujia yan 儒家言 and Daojia yan 道家言, also collections of various statements of Confucian and Daoist masters whose authenticity was not clear.

The book is lost today, but it was still quoted during the Northern Wei period 北魏 (386-534) in Jia Sixie's 賈思勰 agronomical treatise Qimin yaoshu 齊民要術. The texts of the Yin-Yang school focused, among others, on astrological phenomena, medicine and divination, all aspects that have a relation to agriculture.

Gao Liushui 高流水 (1996). "Za yinyang 雜陰陽", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升, ed. Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Chengdu: Sichuan renmin chubanshe), 432.
Lü Zongli 呂宗力 (2015). "Chenwei yu Qimin yaoshu 讖緯與《齊民要術》", Zhongguo nongshi 中國農史, 2015 (1): 116-127.