The I Ching (pronounced yee jing)

Also known as the Book of Changes, the I Ching is the first and most important book of the ancient Chinese texts called the Five Classics. It has had a significant philosophical influence outside of China, particularly in Japan and Korea, but also on Western art since the end of the Second World War.

Originating early in the Chou dynasty (about 1122-256 B.C.), the I Ching, in its most primitive, was used to divine or predict the future. Containing figures made up of broken and unbroken lines, these were later combined to form symbolic figures called trigrams. Over time, evolved, each representing certain qualities and concepts. Eventually, the trigrams were combined to form 64 six-line figures called hexagrams.

Interpretations, called judgments, explained the general significance of every hexagram in an associated text. Each line, beginning from the bottom, was given a meaning to guide one's actions.

Someone who wishes to consult the I Ching follows a specific process which involves dividing special sticks or coins to select a hexagram. These are used to form a hexagram which is then interpreted by referring to a related subtext.

By the 500's B.C., the I Ching had also developed into a book of philosophy with Confucius teaching it as a book of moral wisdom. The Ten Wings were written by his followers to comment on the I Ching.



Click hexagram 
numbers to see
associated lycon.

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