Printer Friendly

The old astronomical significance of the glyph and the word sui < *swats.

The glyph <[??]>, writing the word sui < *swats 'year, etc.', has often been considered a phono-semantic compound incorporating <[??]>, this writing the once similar-sounding word yue < *wat 'battle-axe'. However, the present study demonstrates in section 1 that such an analysis is untenable with respect to Oracle Bone Inscriptions (OBI) evidence, where found are, e.g., <[??]> for the former, against <[??]> for the latter. Instead, I argue, sound epigraphy would suggest a relation of <[??]> to the graph <[??]>, taking OBI forms such as <[??]> and writing phonologically remote Wu < * muh, fifth of the ten Tian Gan [??] or Heavenly Stems. Moving next to reexamine early usage of the word sui, in section 2 I arrive at minor but arguably significant refinements to the typical OBI-era treatments 'to sacrifice' and 'year'. On their basis, in section 3 I first offer an adjusted view of the etymological status of sui < *swats by reference to Mei Tsu-lin's proposed derivation from a root yue < *wat [??] 'cross over'. More consequentially, recent astronomical suggestions of David W. Pankenier regarding traditional fourth of the Heavenly Stems, Ding [??], are shown there to extend to its neighbor at the fifth position, Wu <[??]> <[??]> an early word *swats 'crossing over (period)' and the early indicative glyph <[??]> so writing appear in this new light to have had a highly specific astronomical significance which neatly corroborates the potentially momentous proposal of Pankenier.


The character <[??]>, traceable to the earliest known stages of the Chinese script, still awaits a satisfying explanation. The question is complicated by the early polysemy of the attendant lexeme (or lexemes?) sui < *swats, generally understood for the Old Chinese stage to mean at least 'to sacrifice', 'Jupiter', and 'year'. (1) Setting aside for the moment the lexicological question, we might count three distinct Oracle Bone Inscriptions (OBI) forms of the graph: (1) <[??]> [Ye san 39.5]; (2) <[??]> [Lu 458]; and, on a very few occasions, (3) <[??]> [Menzies 2235]. (2) The first and unadorned form is to all appearances a depiction of a hafted blade; it is frequently identical to renderings, as <[??]> [Yi 6881], of the glyph writing Wu < *muh [??] traditional fifth of the Tian Gan [??] or Heavenly Stems. (3) The rest are combinations of pairs of dots or slashes, in the case of (2), and in that of (3), of <[??]> "feet," with the same basic "weapon" shape. Graphical variation in early <[??]> is thus manageably delimited: the supplementary elements of (2) and (3), while differently rendered, are consistent) positioned within the weapon's blade, one above and one below the crosspiece, while the <[??]>-type framework, "handle" if at times turned askew or "blade" squared, is a constant.

Composition of <[??]> from a form best equated with this fifth Stem glyph remains transparent through later periods. We may profitably compare Bronze Inscriptions (BI) graphs such as<[??]>; Chen Zhang hu [??] or <[??]> Zihezi fu [??]] to <[??]> Qiang pan <[??]>, for instance, noting for these stages the new prominence of the allograph featuring <[??]> It is puzzling, then, that the relation of <[??]> to <[??]> has largely gone unrecognized. At least, it does seem agreed that the Shuo wen (c. 100 CE) association of <[??]> with <[??]>, a graph earlier taking clearly distinct forms such as OBI <[??]> [Jia 2625] and BI <[??]> [Shi Hu gui <[??]>], is anachronistic. (4) More persistent, though, has been the modern claim, apparently originating with Luo Zhenyu [??] and retained in more recent studies such as that of Mei Tsu-lin, for a structural relation between <[??]> and the glyph <[??]>, this writing the word yue < *wat tattle-axe'. Generally, as in the work of Luo and Mei, it is suggested that to write the similarly sounding word stet < *swats, this <[??]> was redeployed in a purely phonetic capacity. Bare type-(1) <[??]> of early <[??]> is thus considered to be a "rebus" reassignment of <[??]>, type-(2) <[??]> a mysteriously elaborated variant of this first, and type-(3) <[??]> a phono-semantic compound featuring a signific element generally identified (in this respect following the Shuo wen) with <[??]>. (5) Guo Moruo, while maintaining the view of a relation to <[??]>, has instead claimed simply that "anciently, sui <[??]> and yue <[??]> were to begin with a single character and word" [??]. (6) That is, Guo rejects the notion of <[??]> as phonologically motivated--instead, he suggests, the word sui, like (or rather identical to) yue, actually first meant 'battle-axe'. The graph <[??]> is thus seen as fundamentally depictive ("pictographic," if one likes) in its more basic incarnations <[??]>, with the <[??]> type representing "a shift from depictive glyph to ideo-associative character" [??]. (7)

Certainly, Lud, Mei, and Guo are on firm ground with regard to the phonological resem-blance of the OC word *swats [??] to *wat <[??]>. Their approaches, however, also require for credibility a close resemblance of the graphs <[??]> to early forms of <[??]>--a proposition that proves every bit as problematic as the Shut-wen claim for a connection to <[??]>. Paleographic studies report that the graph <[??]> took the quite distinct OBI form <[??]> [Jia 2239], from which it may be seen to progress to BI <[??]> [Yue Fit GILT yan [??]] and eventually to Seal Script <[??]>.(8) Early <[??]> might thus be characterized, in opposition to <[??]> and <[??]>, as "bulbous-bladed," closed ovoid protrusion transitioning over time to open inward hook. In such a light, it is impossible to consider <[??]> identical to <[??]> or to be derived from it, whether from phonological considerations or otherwise. (9) On occasion, late forms of a purported <[??]> have been brought forward in defense of the claimed connection: Guto, and apparently also Mei, turns in particular to the exemplar [??] (?); Guoji Zibai pan [??]], where similarity might indeed be found to <[??]> and more particularly to <[??]>; Mao Gong ding [??]]. (10) However, even allowing that such late evidence might be relevant to original structure, the graph <[??]> on the Guaji Zibai pan turns out certainly not to write yue 'battleaxe' and in fact likely writes sui 'to sacrifice', thus representing a survival of the bare type-(1) OBI forms of <[??]> described above. (11) The unavoidable conclusion, and the jumping-off point for the present inquiry, is therefore that there exists no evidence for a formal link between <[??]> and <[??]> that would support either the proposal of Luo and Mei or that of Gmo. (12) The conventional view of <[??]>, it appears, is a graphological canard that owes its longevity only to the absence of a compelling alternative.

As a first step in the formulation of such an alternative, it is worth recalling Guo's insistence, voiced in opposition to the view of Luo, that the glyph <[??]> does not resemble a typical phono-semantic compound to begin with. As he points out, the form's "feet" are not a signific determinative in any regular sense, while the very particular positioning of these elements with respect to the basic form <[??]> can hardly be without meaning. (13) In accepting this last and more valuable observation, however, we must at the same time reject the view of that author and most others that type-(2) <[??]>, along with <[??]>, was at first simply depictive of some peculiar species of axe. (14) Much more likely is that this form harbors just the same indicative significance, whatever it may have been, reflected in <[??]>. Seeking the nature of this significance, in section 2 I consider the generally agreed upon senses of early sui < *swats primarily in light of the word's occurrences in the OBI. In the cases of 'to sacrifice' and 'year' in particular, I propose minor but ultimately revelatory semantic adjustments. Subsequently, in section 3, beginning from the proposal of Mei for the relation of sui < *swats to a root yue < *wat [??] 'cross over', I offer a unified account of what seem to be several closely related words *swats and of the glyphs that represent them. Of critical importance to this discussion are the recent astronomical assertions of David W. Pankenier regarding traditional fourth of the Heavenly Stems, Ding [??], that can be readily extended to its neighbor at the fifth position, Wu [??]. (15)


Considered here in more detail, with primary reference to the OBI, are the three preliminary senses of sit/ offered above--'to sacrifice', 'Jupiter', and 'year'--and also, more briefly, the matter of concomitant graphical variation. It should be noted that there are appearances of <[??]>-type glyphs in the bone inscriptions for which context is too deficient or opaque for understanding (some of these will be encountered below); thus, it remains entirely possible that there are OBI uses of sui that lie beyond our current purview. Other textually attested OC uses of the word may include simply 'time' (e.g., Lunyu [??], "time does not consort us" [??]), (16) 'harvest time' (e.g., the Zuo zhuan [??], "apprehensive, as husbandman anticipating the harvest" [??]), (17) and 'year of age' (e.g., the Zhuangzi [??] "people live at the upper limit to a hundred years of age" [??]). (18) These might of course all be treated as offshoots of a primary 'year', but, as will be seen, the question is not entirely straightforward.

A. sui 'to sacrifice'?

Shaughnessy's considered conclusion regarding OBI-era sui, offered in the course of his analysis of the LI gut inscription (see n. 11), is that the word "ought to be interpreted as a type of sacrifice, normatively directed toward an ancestor or ancestors, and ... there seems to be no evidence requiring or even suggesting an interpretation such as 'year' or 'Jupiter'." (19) The latter claim is discussed below; as will be seen, the author is careful to qualify in particular his assessment of 'year'. At issue for the moment is the possibility that stet refers to "a type of sacrifice": somewhat more precisely, it appears that in the bone inscriptions antecedents to the graph <[??]> frequently write a verb encoding a sacrificial action of some kind. (20) This sui behaves more or less straightforwardly as regards syntax, with an associated sacrificial recipient generally marked with the preposition yd [??], e.g., sui yu Shang Jia [??] "sacrifice to Shang Jia" (Heji 32352), or preposed as topic, as Shang Jia sui EP a "(to) Shang Jia sacrifice" (Heji 27056), and an associated sacrificial offering encoded as direct object, e.g., sui lao [??] "sacrifice a penned ox." Most illustrative are cases in which both of these thematic relations are found:
  [??] "Day Bing-Chen cracking: sacrifice to Grandfather Jit
  an ox." (Heji 22055)

Of course, the translation 'to sacrifice' employed here is really only a place-holder generated from the manifestly "sacrificial" contexts in which the word appears; sui in such instances hardly need have meant 'sacrifice' per se. To draw attention to this problem, partial transla-tions like "sui-sacrifice," or simply "stet," "to sui," are on occasion employed, as by Shaugh-nessy. Attempts to avoid such ambiguity by reference to other, better-understood applications of the word(s) sui, as in Guo's suggestion that the meaning 'year' might imply a particular sense 'annual sacrifice' relevant to these contexts, are so far unsupported.(21) An alternative tack may be to shape a rough-and-ready translation based upon the argument structure patterns in evidence: "sacrificial" sui functions as a "dative" verb, in the sense that the frequent construction sui yu [recipient] [theme] encodes a transfer event. This word (and similarly functioning ones) is therefore adequately, if entirely generically, treated as 'give' or, if we explicitly acknowledge the context of such usages, 'convey (to ancestors or spirits by sacrifice)'. Such a "grammatical" rendering awaits refinement with respect to the particulars of the sacrificial behavior involved, but it provides a useful baseline by directly encoding the sense of transfer or caused possession found in these applications.

An extremely frequent predicate that deserves consideration in the above light is bin sui [??], in which we seem to have not verb and object, but rather a pair of verbs bin [??] 'to take as guest, to host' and sui 1t 'to convey (by sacrifice)' forming a serial sequence. Shaughnessy, in considering the subtype wang bin sui wang hai [??], references the following: (22)
  [??] "Day Yi-Hai cracking, Bin tests: the king hosts [bin]
  and conveys by sacrifice [sui]; there is no harm." (Heji 14369)

However, the elliptical nature of such charges--how are we to determine exactly how bin and sui are related?--means an interpretation like that offered here, with sui as a verb, cannot be arrived at directly. Instead, as Shaughnessy suggests, reference must be made to parallel, elaborated charges in which both verbs take objects, that of bin being the ancestor or spirit entertained, and that of sta, as we should anticipate, the offering presented:
  [??] "Day Geng-Xu cracking, Xing tests: the king hosts
  Father Ding and sacrificially conveys (to him) a penned ox; there is
  no harm." (Heji 23183)

Shaughnessy's treatment of this charge, "... the king (will) visit Father Ding and sui a penned ox; no trouble," is basically unobjectionable. (24) However, I have tried to emphasize in translation that bin Y sui X, while syntactically serial, is to be interpreted as describing a single ritual behavior: "in hosting Y, convey by sacrifice X"; "host Y and in so doing convey by sacrifice X (to him/her)," etc.

It is on the basis of bin Y sui X charges that the more laconic bin sui X and bin sui are interpretable as reflections of the same serial verb phrase here treated as "host Y and convey X." Indeed, in Shaughnessy's consideration of comparable usages of sui in the received tradition, supporting evidence may be located for the meaning 'to convey (by sacrifice)': most interesting and presumably earliest is an occurrence from the "Luo gao" [??] chapter of the Shang shu [??]: (25)
  [??] -"On Day Wii-Chen the king performed a steaming rite
  [zheng ill at the new city, conveying [sui] to King Wen
  one red bull and to King Wu one red bull."

It is most straightforward to see here two verb phrases in serial construction similar to the case of bin Y sui X above. In this instance they are zheng ji "sacrifice by steaming, perform a steaming rite" and sui Wen Wang xin nia yi Wei Wang xin nia yi "convey to King Wen one red bull and to King Wu one red bull"; we see here the ditransitive pattern convey [recipient] [theme] found also, on occasion, in the OBI. Understood in this way, the role of the verb sui is entirely consistent with what has been observed from the bone inscriptions, where the issue was the sacrificial transfer of goods to ancestors.

However, Shaughnessy instead treats sui in this instance not as a verb but as nominal object of ji [??] 'sacrifice', offering for zheng ji sui [??] the translation "steam and sacrifice sui." (26) Particular OBI charges have attracted analogous treatments, e.g., those featuring the combination you sui [??]:
  [??] Shaughnessy: "Crack on wuzi: '(We) will offer
  sui to (Ancestor) Zhong Ji; the king (will) visit.'"
  (Ncinbei, Ming [??] 640) (27)

Words and particles you [??], one fundamental of which is apparently a "sacrificial" verb 'to offer', appear in a multitude of contexts in the OBI, with scholarship on the matter well beyond the present scope. (28) Suffice it to say that a V-0 analysis 'offer sui' for OBI you sui, as in Shaughnessy's treatment, is syntactically problematic in a number of respects. (29) Analysis as an emphatic pm-verbal particle in such contexts, following Takashima, is a possibility--though the combination you sui may at times be a compacted serial verb phrase analogous to bin sui above, for we do find charges of form you [X.sub.1] sift [X.sub.2] that could be taken as fuller renderings: (30)
  [??] "Day Yi-ChOu cracking: offer a shoo liquid
  measure and convey to Ancestor Yi five penned oxen."
  (Hifi 32510) (31)

In one you sui example considered by Shaughnessy, resumption of sui may indicate more explicitly that the word is indeed a verb in context. 32 (I have chosen here to translate you as a full verb.)
  [??] "On Day Yi-Wei, make an offering, and convey [sun
  to Grand-father YY thirty penned oxen; it will be Hukn (?)
  to convey [sui]." (Heji 22884)

Thus, while an analysis accommodating nominal usages is conceivable, it is most parsimonious to consider "sacrificial" sui, as attested in the OBI and more sporadically into later periods, always a verb." The interpretation I have tried to justify and will revisit in the etymological comments of section 3 below is 'to convey (by sacrifice)'.

The matter of the OBI graphs representative of this verb will conclude for the moment discussion of "sacrificial" sta. Note first the perhaps natural-seeming association between the "weapon" form of the glyph and the sacrificial contexts in which the word is found: most specifically, Yu Xingwu has suggested that "sacrificial" sui meant "stabbing to death ... in the preparation of the sacrificial victim" [??] ... [??]. (34) Probably, though, the connection i between the graphical "axe" and the semantics 'convey (by sacrifice)' is entirel indirect, as), (2) (je), I will argue below. For now let us consider only how, in terms of the types (1) <[??]> (2) <[??]>, and (3) <[??]> of section 1, this item is first found written. Shima's entry is heade by the renderings <[??]>, indicating that basically (1) and (2) are involved, with the specification that the "blade' tends often (though hardly always) to be squared. (35) The chart below represents one means of representing graphical variation in this case:

Certain information is of course glossed over: the "curved" versus "squared" distinction is not absolute and we find intermediate shapes, while also absent here are frequent rightfacing exemplars as well as the skewed "handle" that eventually comes to predominate in this and similar graphs. A glyph like <[??]> [Jia 1902] might be useful in illustrating all of these peculiarities.


B. sui 'Jupiter'?

Often it has been supposed that the meaning 'Jupiter' for sui derives from 'year' and thus postdates it. (36) Whether or not this is the case, 'Jupiter' is found at quite early stages, with the Shuc3 wen entry at <[??]> reading in part "sui [??] is Jupiter; it passes through the twenty-eight Lunar Lodges broadcasting the full cycle of Yin and Yang, in twelve months [advancing] one [Jupiter] station" [??]. [??]. (37) There are also clear Warring States usages, with Shaughnessy proposing as perhaps earliest of all occurrences those in the Zuo zhuan. While we find in that text cases of the form sui zai [ci] [??] "the year (-star = Jupiter?) is in [Station]," for which calendrical as opposed to strict astronomical reference cannot be ruled out, more detailed descriptions are unambiguously 'Jupiter', e.g., "Jupiter has forgone its station to tarry in that of the year to come" [??] [??]. (38) However, it is an open question whether sui 'Jupiter' may be found still earlier, in the OBI. Xu Zhen-tao and his co-authors have cited one charge in support of such a claim, expanded to four in later work. (39) Problematically, though, all but one of these involve treatment of the string wang bin sui, already familiar to us, as "the King hosts Jupiter" in particular charges:
  [??] Xu et al.: "Crack-making on day xinmao [28], Ji
  divined: The King should host Jupiter (sui). It will not
  rain." (Heft 25148)

Nothing about this or the similar examples brought forward by Xu suggests that they are anything other than instances of the generic charge type ("host ... convey ...") examined above. However, there is one exceptional form:
  [??] ... Xu et al.: "We should not perform a you-ritual to Great
  Jupiter (da sui)." (Heji 33692)

The same charge is repeated on a related fragment, Heji 33693, these apparently constituting the only two OBI appearances of the collocation da sui, which is from context manifestly the entity to which the offering in question was to be performed.(40) These deserve attention as potential references to Jupiter, but an assertion based on this evidence alone would be precarious.(41) Also, while by no means necessarily significant, the graphs involved in these charges-<[??]> [Heji 25148], <[??]> [Heji 24247[??]], <[??]> [Heji 33692], and so forth--are formally undifferentiable from those seen to write sui 'convey (by sacrifice)'. (In this regard, it is Guo's suggestion for the allograph <[??]> as writing 'Jupiter' that catches the eye, but, again, inscriptional context is inadequate for clear understanding. (42)) For the earliest stages then, just as Shaughnessy has opined, 'Jupiter' seems not to merit the attention due to 'convey (by sacrifice)'--or, as we will now see, to 'year'.

C. sill 'year'?

Takashima has drawn on the observations of David Pankenier regarding "temporal" sui--"technically, sui refers ... not to a conventional calendar year, but to the twelve month period of the planet [Jupiter]"--to negotiate the relation between the senses 'Jupiter' and 'year'. Takashima's study emphasizes this technical meaning over 'year' as such, considering the reference of sui in its chronological application to be to "the conclusion of Jupiter's twelve month period of visibility." (43) On this basis, we find the development 'Jovian cycle' [right arrow] 'year' attributed to Takashima in the ABC Etymological Dictionary, essentially the opposite of the perhaps more intuitive 'year' [right arrow] 'Jupiter' above. (44) Though the conclusions of section 3 below will cast some doubt on 'Jovian cycle' or 'end of the Jovian cycle' as the primary temporal sense, such a progression does at this stage of discussion lie within the realm of possibility. However, what seems clear is that ordinary 'year' or some related general meaning, in contrast to the technical astronomical sense, is required for very early stages and thus demands independent consideration regardless of whether a 'Jovian cycle' preceded it. Shaughnessy traces sui 'year' to the phrase lai sui [??] of the Hu ding [??], a vessel there dated to the early ninth century B.C.E. reign of King Yi of Zhou [??], and notes as well the ubiquity of the word in the Shi jing. (45) This last text is particularly suggestive, as sui occurs in numerous prosaic contexts where reference seems clearly to be to the regular calendar year rather than to the Jovian cycle. Explicit seasonal reference directly implying the former may even be found in such as "summer days / winter nights / after I pass my hundred years / will I go home to his dwelling-place" [??] ("Ge sheng" [??], Mao 124). Later, and similar in that it also seems conclusively to refer to 'calendar year' and not '(end of the) Jovian cycle', is a line in the Zuo zhuan, sui yun qiu yi [??] "the year has come now to the autumn season." (46)

We have seen Shaughnessy cast a measure of doubt on the status of sui 'year' in the earlier OBI stage. Critically, though, he allows that "another graph, [??], very similar in appearance to [??] does seem to mean 'year' [in the OBI], and is often transcribed as sui," and that "probably ... the meaning 'year' was already associated with the sui word family at this time." (47) Some clarification regarding the epigraphical picture shows that the word sui was well established in this "temporal" sense even at the earliest available stages of the script. From Shaughnessy's <[??]> and <[??]>, first of all, one might suppose that a critical feature distinguishing the former graph (writing '-to sacrifice') from the latter (writing '-year') is the pair of dots familiar from discussion in section 1. However, the difference appears more subtle in Shima, for instance, where <[??]> are provided for "sacrificial" sui against <[??]> for "temporal," while we might compare also <[??]>, Takashima's rendering of the latter form. (48) Now, we have seen already that the pair of dots is not diagnostic in graphs for 'convey (by sacrifice)', on which point Shima is accurately inclusive. Probably unavoidably, however, all authors leave something to be desired in their renderings of the form writing "temporal" sui, in that they suggest a misleadingly absolute distinction from the form writing "sacrificial" sui. In fact, a consideration of appearances within the Heji corpus--these largely in the context of the phrases lai sui <[??]> "the coming sui" with twenty-seven corpus occurrences, and jin sui <[??]> "this sur" with forty-two--reveals that the most basic form for the temporal sense is none other than [??], the fundamental type-(1) graph offered in section I and which has been seen also to write "sacrificial" sui as well as Wit, fifth of the Heavenly Sterns. Note that we have below no hint of the incurving ends suggested by Shima's [??], or indeed of any means of distinguishing the form in general terms from those writing 'convey (by sacrifice)', as all authors imply should be possible:

Numerous other OBI graphs writing "temporal" sui are elaborations f this bsic form that can only be called very close cousins to "sacrificial" sui glyphs like <[??]> and <[??]>. These also clearly feature a pair of marks, as dots or dashes, but in writing 'year' these are positioned more typically towards the "blade" tips, generally in contact though on a few occasions independent:


In particular instances, it is easy enough to see the motivation for Shima's <[??]>. In the case of the glyph at the far right above, for instance, the pair of marks might well e interpreted as inward-angled extensions of the "blade." The same could be said of certain of the glyphs below featuring longer slashes, again especially in the far-right glyph. However, taking all forms shown here together, it seems fair to assert that these two marks were accessory elements conceived of and executed separately from the "weapon" form <[??]>:


These graphs indeed are differentiable in general terms from the complex forms writing 'convey (by sacrifice)', such as <[??]>. However, critical for our purposes below, the two sets can nonetheless be taken together as subtypes of section I's type-(2) glyphs; both are "combinations of pairs of dots or slashes with the same basic 'weapon' shape." Note that this ranalysis (roughly, bare and "dotted" <[??]> writing sui 'convey (by sacrifice)', and bare and "crossed" <[??]> writing sui 'year ) constitutes a realignment of types (1), (2), and (3) of section 1. My concern there was purely with graphical variation; here the issue is the relation of graphic form to two particular polysemes or words, *swats 'convey (by sacrifice)' and *swats 'year', with the constrained structural variation presumably conditioned by this semantic distinction. It is most sensible to consider <[??]> to be what might be termed allographic progenitors of modern <[??]>, sharing an identical though still mysterious first motivation.


Prior to exploring this motivation in section 3, we should briefly consider specific OBI support for the sense generally characterized here simply as "temporal" sta. This item is found overwhelmingly in the bone inscriptions in the context of inquiries about the harvest:
  [??] "Test: this sui the southern lands will receive the
  harvest." (Heji 9739)
  [??] "Day Wii-Yin cracking, test:
  the coming sui the great settlement will receive the harvest."
  (Heji 33241)
  [??] "Day Bing-Yin cracking, Que tests:
  this coming sui we will not in fact receive the harvest."
  (Heji 6411)

There indeed are few temporal" .cur charges inquiring about anything else, exceptions being a few cases in which the concern is rather rain or flooding:
  [??] "Day Gni-Chau cracking, test: this sui there will not
  be great flooding." (Heji 41867)

Just as for certain ShE jing occurrences and others above, in these examples it would be odd to see the Jovian cycle utilized to query a seasonal event like the harvest to which this cycle's relation is entirely unfixed. Conventional 'year' is difficult to dispute; at least, we find no counterevidence to it. It is worth noting, however, that these charges might appear to require most minimally a sense 'the time of year at which the harvest occurs' or, for the last, 'the time of year at which the quantity of rain is a primary concern', that is, 'harvest season'. Such an adjustment is less peculiar than it might seem. The seasonal names appearing within the OBI are far from clearly understood; for example, treating the graphic type <[??]> as modern <[??]>, writing gift 'autumn', is a paramount example of transcription from lexical convenience rather than epigraphical rigor (for confirmation, note that the same glyph is also often treated as modern <[??]>, writing xia 'summer'). (49) Further, later usage hardly controverts the possibility of an early sit/ 'harvest season': we have already seen it in the tradition, e.g., the Zue zhuan, while a line from the Shi jing ("Fu tian" [??], Mao 211), "lustrous are those broad fields; at the harvest [or of the harvest] are taken ten thousand shares" [??], might reasonably be seen to reflect 'harvest time' or, alternatively, imatenal of the harvest'. Finally, there is nothing surprising about a development 'harvest season' [right arrow] 'year': harvest time can well be considered the "year-end" season, ripe for metonymic reapplication to the year as a whole, and a similar change has indeed occurred elsewhere in Chinese, with nian [??] 'material of the harvest' [right arrow] 'year'. The meaning 'year' for OBI "temporal" sui, then, remains conceivable if not particularly imposed by the evidence; but we will retain 'harvest season, year-end season' as an alternative in discussion below.50


Two key conclusions have so far been reached. The first, of section 1, is that the glyph <[??]> in origin bore a structural relation to <[??]> and not, as has often been maintained, to <[??]>. The second, of section 2, is that the two most clearly attested OBI-era senses of the word sui < *swats can be most economically treated as 'convey (by sacrifice)' and 'harvest season, year-end season' (or perhaps simply 'year'). This final section will begin with the possibility, advanced by at least Mei Tsu-lin and Axel Schuessler, that the word or words *swats may have been derived from a root yue < *wat [??] 'cross over'. (51) Note first that the conventional and erroneous account of the graphic form <[??]>--that it is a phono-semantic compound featuring phonophoric <[??]>--is probably just as erroneously applied to early <[??]>. When this latter form first appears in the late Warring States and early imperial periods, it also seems to incorporate not <[??]> but <[??]>, a fact apparent by reference not only to the early forms of <[??]> and <[??]> examined already above, but to closely contemporary renderings of the relevant graphs within related materials:


In comparing, for instance, the fourth graph of the first row, <[??]>, and the third graph of the second, <[??]>, both appearing in the Qin Shuihudi [??] bamboo manuscripts, it would approach contrarian to deny a structural relation. Setting aside that author's commitment to phonetic <[??]>, Mei is certainly correct to point out that there is no graph that <[??]>--at first <[??]> plus <[??]> "running figure (?)" resembles so much as <[??]>, post-OBI generally <[??]> plus two <[??]> "feet." (57)

Thus we see that the form <[??]> is all important, since it apparently does not play a phonetic role in either glyph at issue. To foreground discussion of this glyph, we may turn first to the etymological connection between sin [??] and yue [??] that would complement the above graphical one. The suggestion of a link is not exactly new with Schuessler and Mei, given that, as the latter notes, sui [??] was glossed with yue [??] as early as the Shi ming [??]. (58) The linguistic insights that should permit a degree of etymological rigor are relatively new; however, they still have not produced a scholarly consensus. The problem is that a *wat 'cross over, pass over' might entirely reasonably yield directly either 'Jupiter' or 'year; year-end season'. Derivational proposals in Schuessler's Dictionary thus follow the same two pathways familiar from foregoing discussion: first 'Jupiter' ("'passing planet' = 'Jupiter' [right arrow] 'Jovian cycle' [right arrow] 'year") and then 'year' ("'passing time period' = 'year' [right arrow] 'year star, Jupiter'") as first application of morphologically complex *swats. (59)

At this point we might ask what has happened to "sacrificial" sui. It may seem that only Takashima's root 'to cut' will be capable of incorporating this most prominent of the OBI senses--but perhaps it is indeed yue [??] 'cross over' that pertains. Consider that a frequent dictionary gloss for yue is the verb xuanyang [??] 'to broadcast, to make known', with the Hanyu da cidian illustrating this purported meaning with a line from the "Jinyu." [??], chapter of the Guoyau [??]:
  [??] "[Luanwuzi [??],]' displaying upright conduct and
  conforming to the rules and standards, broadcast
  [himself] to the Sundry Lords." (60)

The reader may notice that the translation here (and the dictionary entry) is fudged: yue [??] does not mean xuanyang [??] 'broadcast' above, or at all. This meaning is rather a product of the combination of perfectly regular yue 'cross over' with the preceding causative verb shi [??]: 'to cause' + 'to cross over' = 'cause to cross over = broadcast, convey, transmit'. What is interesting for present purposes is that one of the more widely agreed upon derivational prefixes of reconstructed Proto-Sino-Tibetan is a causative prefix *s-. (61) The segment appears in OC on occasion in combination with final *-s, these together showing a valency-increas-ing force in the production of what are generally "extrovert" causative forms: Schuessler illustrates the point with examples such as, from a root *lak, (si <) *s-lak-s [??] 'to make or cause to eat' = 'to feed'. (62) In combination with transitive *wat 'cross over', these same elements could quite naturally have produced a ditransitive or "dative" verb *s-wat-s 'cause to cross over' = 'convey, transmit', precisely the sense seen above to be required for OBI "sacrificial" sui < *swats. We might usefully consider relevant charges in such a light (even granting that the morphemes involved could well have ceased to be productive at that stage): Heji 22055, for instance, [??], might be "morphologically" rendered as "Day Bing-Chen cracking: cause to cross or cause to pass (= transmit, convey) to Grandfather Ji an ox." (63)

Relevant to the more urgent matter of sui '-year' and sui 'Jupiter' is the role of an identical (or, at least, currently indistinguishable) PST and OC prefix *s- in the formation of common nouns. (64) A new solution to the derivational dilemma may be to suppose that these two items *swats were not derived one from the other, but were instead etymologically identical, both consisting of a prefix *s-supplying denominative force and a root *wat 'cross over'. (65) The two could still have been lexically autonomous, the same morphemes combined in one case to name the "crossing-over planet" and in another a "crossing-over period." (66) It is certainly appealing to consider sit/ 'Jupiter? a direct derivation of this sort. This is because "passing planet," as indicated by Schuessler, could hardly be a more apt name: Jupiter's gradual west-to-east longitudinal advance across the stellar background is to the earthly observer its paramount distinguishing feature. The Shuo wen description of sui [??] 'Jupiter' employs exactly the word yue [??] 'cross over' to describe the planet's motion ("it crosses through the twenty-eight Lunar Lodges" [??]). This property was salient not just to inhabitants of ancient China: neberu, an Akkadian name for the planet Jupiter attested for instance on the MUL.APIN tablets and meaning in other applications 'ferryboat' and 'ferry, ford', is related to the word eberu 'to cross', in a manner precisely analogous to the Chinese case. (67)

However, it is the final, "temporal" sense of sin considered in section 2 above that may be more firmly tied to the semantics of "crossing over" and that at the same time proves ultimately revelatory regarding the origin of the graph <[??]>. The key observation has already been made by Lin Ylguang [??], with his suggestion that "sun 1 shares a sound with yue [??], and <[??]> is the ancient form of <[??]>; the two 'feet' depict an act of crossing over" [??]. (68) The graphic similarity Lin notes has been described in somewhat more detail just above, if one would not want to claim precisely that OBI-era <[??]> could also write the word yue 'to cross, to pass'. (69) More critically, here is just the indicative intent that must underlie not only the graphic form <[??]> attended to by Lin and of which modern <[??]> is a direct descendant, but also its antecedent (or sibling) <[??]>. "Crossing over" offers a compelling and unified characterization of the force supplied by the "feet," dots, or slashes in such glyphs.

Certainly it is true that 'crossing-over period' (or 'crossing over again', Schuessler's morphological interpretation of "temporal" sun based on a proposed derivation instead from an iterative prefix *s-) could have been straightforwardly applied to mean 'year' or the like by means only of a conceptual metaphor associating space with time. (70) It seems unlikely, however, that the motivation for this usage was purely metaeholical. Why, after all, should this "crossing over" have been indicated in the glyphs <[??]> with respect in particular to the form <[??]>, identical to certain early renderings of the graph writing the Heavenly Stem Wu [??]? David Pankenier's recent general suggestions of original astronomical reference for the Stems and their sister cyclical set, the DI Zhi [??] or Earthly Branches, are extremely relevant to this question. In particular, Pankenier has argued persuasively that traditional fourth of the Stems, Ding [??], is to be associated with the Warring States asterism Ding [??], incorporating the pair of Lunar Lodges #13 Ying Shu [??] 'Framer of the Hall' and #14 Bi [??] 'Wall' to its east and corresponding to the Western tradition's Square of Pegasus.(71) Note that at this early epoch--the Shang and Zheu periods--the apparent stellar motion of the sun along its ecliptic path around the new year period would have carried it through the western asterisms Capricorn and Aquarius, which occupy, alongside Pankenier's proposed Ding [??] in Pegasus, the traditional "northern" region of the Chinese celestial sphere:

The shifting position with respect to the stellar background of the sun at this time, as it reached its southern horizontal extremes towards the winter solstice of mid-to-late December, would have been detectable indirectly by careful attention to helical risings and settings of the region's stars--or indeed, if such could be imagined, to the changing positions of other stars or asterisms known by early observers to be removed from these by particular intervals. The precise stellar locus of the solstice has, of course, shifted over time from east to west along the ecliptic, as indicated by the larger, left-to-right arrow in the diagram. However, even absent precision in this regard, I would argue that the first motivation for the glyphs <[??]> could now hardly be clearer: the transit of the sun through a hypothetical stellar form <[??]>, neighbor to Ding [??], its crosspiece below conceived as connecting Altair in Aquila to co Capricorni at the tip of the prominent wedge of the Western "goat-fish," would have occurred in close proximity to the solstice over the course of the second millennium B.C.E. Such a passage could thus, at such a time, have made a distinctive stellar augury of the year's culmination:


It is easy to see why the graph <[??]> itself, if at first an unembellished rendering of the early asterism of this winter region, could have stood unproblematically for both the word Wu [??] '(asterism name)' and sui 'year' or 'year-end period'. Nor is such a hypothetical asterism particularly idiosyncratic with respect to surviving traditions. The weapon form provides a credible correlate or predecessor to the obscure stellar entity Beifang Xuan Wu [??] 'Dark Martialism of the North' considered to occupy this region of the sky on the Si Xiang [??] 'Four Images' delineation of the celestial sphere. Moreover, the word Wu < *muh fit itself might reasonably be seen as a derivative of mao < *mu [??] 'lance', a possibility suggested by Gianni Wan. (72) This association is attractive not simply because the graphical "weapon" <[??]> is thereby joined to a weapon name that is at least tolerably apt, given some centuries for potential semantic shift. Of still more interest is that the fuller name of Lunar Lodge #10 Nu [??] 'Girl', determinative star at [??] Aquarius, is none other than Wunu [??], where we find in Wu < *moh [??] both a close phonological match for Wu < *muh [??] and a graphical link to <[??]>. (73) Early <[??]> and classical <[??]>, then, could well have written the same departing-tone relative of mao < *mu [??]. (74) We may add Pankenier's recent reminder of a Han-era asterism Yue [??] 'Battle-axe' in just the same region, appearing in the "Tian guan shu [??] of Sima Qian [??] and said there to be an alternative appellation for the Lei [??] '(Army) Fortifications' running from s Aquarius and east, paralleling the ecliptic. (75) With this "Battle-axe" thus corresponding in large part to the lower portions of the "handle" suggested in the diagram above, we come to see the proposed astral Wu [??] as having a rather rich array of resonances with textually attested astronomical conceptions.


More importantly here, the sun's passage beneath the stellar weapon's "blade" and very close to its two tips can account ideally for the graphs <[??]> and <[??]>--both can now firmly be said, by their iconic modification of depictive <[??]>, to be of the traditional zhishi [??], or "indicative," type. Moreover, because these forms appear to have been graphic representa-tions of the first phenomenal motivation for a word sit/ 'crossing-over period' (= 'year-end period' or 'year'), it is most unlikely that this word is to be considered a semantic extension of some other, like lupiter'.(76) Both graph and word--whether our morphological interpretation of the latter is to be 'crossing-over period', 'crossing over again', or some similar reading--had entirely literal dimensions, referring to an annual, year-end "crossing over of an astronomical variety.

Concerning the difficult matter of dating, interpreting sui as '[solar] crossing over [of Wu [??]]' = 'year-end period' or 'year' might make the most sense in the circumstances of a crosspiece transit closely coincident with the solstice, as would have been the case during the late second millennium B.C.E. Shang period. However, the possibility of a more ancient date, like the early second millennium, could also be considered. At such a remote era the west-to-east (right-to-left in the diagram) solar transit from the region of hl Sagittarii to Deneb Algedi ([??] Capricorni), these defining the approximate range of the proposed asterism's blade, would have reached completion just ahead of the solstice. For such an early state of affairs, the particular etymological construal '[solar] crossing over [of Wu [??]]' = 'year-end season, harvest season' (and only later [right arrow] 'year') might be preferred, with the apparent motion of the sun through Wu [??] naturally defining a chronological period of approximately one month just at the end of the calendar year. (77) This has considerable attraction, for we have seen that 'year-end season', as opposed to 'year', may be the more readily defensible interpretation of "temporal" sui in the OBI. Just as significantly, the familiar word sui 'year' can in fact more generally be said not to mean 'year' as such, as it tends to be used in particular reference to the passing of the year: we have seen sui bu wo yu [??] (bunyu 17.1), bai sui zhi hou [??] (Shi jing, Mtio 124), and several other early examples that really refer to time or the year as it passes, and this sense continues into the present as 'year of age', with age traditionally iterated at each "passing" of the new year.

The idea of a relatively early date for the astronomical calendrical concepts referenced by the Heavenly Stems (and Earthly Branches), and thus presumably for the formative stages of the Chinese script, while still unsubstantiated by material evidence, is no longer entirely fantastic. Pankenier seems prepared to consider the possibility that attention to the stellar form Ding began at such a moment, exploring for instance the potential significance of the massing of the five visible planets in the region of the Square of Pegasus in 1953 B.C.E. (78) Indeed, more generally, the author has stated that "the calendrical use of the cyclical signs is considerably more archaic [than the late Shang ancestral cult] and may have originated in a pre-Shang culture." (79) Perhaps, then, our sui < *swats [??], indicative character based upon the fifth Stem glyph and astral form <[??]> [??], will prove a linguistic and paleographic relic of this same remote era of East Asian prehistory.


Heji [??]: Guo Moruo [??], and Hu Houxuan, eds. Jiaguwen heji [??]. Beijing: Zhonghua, 1982.

Jia: [??] Dong Zuobin [??], ed. Xiaotun di er ben: Yin xu wenzi jia bian [??]. Nanjing: Academia Sinica, Institute of History and Philology, 1948.

Jimbun [??]: Kaizuka Shigeki [??], ed. Kyoto daigaku jimbun kagaku kenkyujo zo kokotsu monji [??]. Kyoto Daigaku Jimbun Kagaku Kenkyujo, 1959.

Lu [??]: Sun Haibo [??] et al., eds.Jiaguwen lu [??]. Henan, 1938; reprint Taipei: iwen, 1971.

Menzies: James Mellon Menzies, ed. Prehistoric China, pt. I: Oracle Records from the Waste of Yin. Shanghai: Kelly and Walsh, 1917.

Nanbei [??]: Hu Houxuan [??], ed. Zhan hoou nanbei suo jiagu lu [??]. Beijing: Laixunge Shudian [??], 1951.

Qidn bian [??]: Luo Zhenyui [??], ed. Yin xu shuqi qian bian [??]. N.p., 1913; reprint Shanghai, 1932.

Xu [??]: Luo Zhenyu [??], ed.Yin xu shuqi xu bian [??]. N.p., 1913.

Yi [??]: Dong Zuobin [??], ed. Xiaotun di er ben: Yin xu wenzi yi bian [??]: [??]. Nanjing: Academia Sinica, Institute of History and Philology, 1948.

Yi [??]:Shang Chengzuo [??], ed. Yin qi yi cun [??]. Nanjing: Jinling Daxue Zhongguo Wenhua Yanjiusuo [??]. 1933.

Ying [??]: Li Xueqin [??], Qi Wenxin [??], and Sarah Allan, eds. Yingguo suo cang jiagu ji shang bian [??]. Beijing: Zhonghua, 1985.

Ye san [??]: Huang Jun [??], ed. Ye zhong pianyu san ji [??]. Beijing: Zun Gu Zhai [??], 1939.

Zheng [??]: Wang Xiang [??], ed. Fu shi Yin qi zhengwen [??]. N.p., 1923.

Zhu [??]: Jin Zutong [??], ed. Yin qi yi zhu [??]. Shanghai: Zhong Fa Wenhua Chuban Weiyuanhui [??], 1939.

(1.) For the phonological representation of the language of, roughly, the Shang and Zhou periods, employed throughout are the Minimal Old Chinese forms of Axel Schuessler's ABC Etymological Dictionary of Old Chinese (Honolulu: Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 2007) and Minimal Old Chinese and Later Han Chinese (Honolulu, Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 2009).

(2.) Jiaguwen zidian [??], ed. Xu Zhongshu [??] (Chengdu: Sichuan Cishu, 1988), 143, and Gu wenzi gulin [??], ed. Li Pu [??] et al. (Shanghai: Shanghai Jiaoyu, 1999-2004), vol. 2, 266-69, group all these types together under a single entry sui [??], while other reference works--Jiagu wenzi gulin [??], ed. Yu Xingwu [??] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1996), 2395-97, and Shima Kunio's [??] Inky) lnkyo bokuji sorui [??], 2nd rev. ed. (Tokyo: Kyuko, 1971), 340-48--segregate the forms in various ways but without introducing any alternative modern transcription to <[??]>.

(3.) This last glyph is structurally somewhat diverse, with "blades" found convex <[??]> [Y] 1123; Jia 3636] as above, as well as concave <[??]> [Zhu 522; Jia 264] and straight <[??]> [Jia 62] at the OBI stage.

(4.) <[??]> writes xu < *smit swit, traditional eleventh of the Earthly Branches, with Shun win stating that the graph <[??]> "follows <[??]> with <[??]> as phonetic" [??]; see Shun win fie zi zhu [??], comm. Duan Yucaai [??] (Taipei: Ylwen, 1974), 69a. The suggestion is now properly rejected--see, for example, Guo Moruo [??], "Shi Sui" [??], in Jitiga winzi ydnjiu [??], (Beijing: Xinhua, 1952), 66.2-67.1.

(5.) This last form independently writes the word bis < *bah 'step'. Specifically, Mei Tsu-lin ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'. 'Month', 'Foot' and 'Vulva'," Tsing-hua Journal of Chinese Studies 12.1 [1979], 118), remarks that our OBI-era type-(1)/(2) <[??]> above "is simply another graph for [??], yiieh 'battle-axe'," and further that "[??] sui 'year' in one type of graphic representation [that is, our type (3)--JS] ... has [??] pu 'to walk' as its signific and <[??]> as its phonetic." Luo's analysis of type-(3) <[??]> ("[the graph] follows <[??]>, with <[??]> as phonetic" [??]) may be found in his Yin xu wenzi leibian [??] (N.p., 1923), 2nd juan, 11, or see Gu wenzi gulin, 2.269.

(6.) Guo, "Shi Sui." 71.2.

(7.) Guo, "Shi Sul," 71.1. These suggestions are associated (71.2-73.1) with what might seem a counterintuitive view of the lexeme's semantic development: 'axe' [right arrow] 'Jupiter' [right arrow] 'year'. However, Ken-ichi Takashima ("Lan-guage and Paleography," in Studies in Early Chinese Civilization: Religion, Society, Language and Paleography, ed. Michiharu Ito and Ken-ichi Takashima [Osaka: Kansai Gaidai Univ. Publications, 1996], vol. 1, 418-25), has recently presented a broadly similar proposal (roughly, 'to cut' [right arrow] lovian cycle' [[right arrow] 'year']).

(8.) The OBI graph <[??]> is transcribed as <[??]>. at Met wenzl gii lin, 2425, Ga wenzi galirt, 9.984, and Jiagawin zidian, 1377, and appears in the OBI to write the name of a geographic region.

(9.) In fact, this clear distinction has been recognized by Takashima ("Language and Paleography," 418). The matter is dealt with there by suggesting that a phonetic element <[??]> might be common to <[??]>, <[??]>, and others, while below I will pursue an alternative etymographical account.

(10.) See Guo, "Shi Sui," 68.1, 2. Mei ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 118) does not identify his forms specifically, though only <[??]> seems to resemble the rendering of "BI <[??]>" there provided.

(11.) Indeed, <[??]> are the standard transcriptions of <[??]>; see for instance Yin-Zhou jinwen jicheng [??], ed. Qiu Dexiu [??] et al. (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1984-94), #10173, as well as Jinwen bian [??], ed. Rong Gang [??] (Changsha: Shangwu, 1939), 830. However, the GuOjl abai pan inscriptional context is "bestow [this vessel] therewith to X and therewith to regulate the Man regions" [??]. Thus, not only is the pan glyph formally difficult to reconcile with [??]--with Jinwen bian in fact noting that its "form is the same as <[??]>"[??] (!)--but further, on syntactic grounds, would seem to write not a noun 'battleaxe' but a verb indicative of the vessel's perceived purport. There is good support for the view that the verb in question is sui '-to sacrifice': as will be seen below, unadorned type-(1) <[??]> along with type-(2) <[??]>, regularly writes such a verb in the OBI, a sense better attested there than 'Jupiter' or 'year'. Note also that Edward L. Shaughnessy (Sources of Western Zhou History: Inscribed Bronze Vessels [Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press, 1991], 95-100) has made a cogent argument for this meaning for sui in the earlier Li gun [??] Rtc inscription and as the predominant early sense of the word.

(12.) It seems that only the Shi Ke xu [??] (itching #4467, 4468) forms of <[??]>. <[??]>, might be said to provide any support for such a connection, if indeed the standard transcriptions are correct. These stand somewhere intermediate between <[??]>[[??]] and <[??]> [[??]]--and in any case it would be odd to found an epigraphical argument upon this single piece of late evidence alone.

(13.) See Guo, "Shi Sui," 71.1, where the author finds it unlikely that the element <[??]> should have been graphically decomposed in <[??]> (though he may be overstating the case in claiming that "in the creation of characters by the ancients there are no such cases" [??]. Of similar effect is Mei's remark that <[??]> is "the only graph in the Shun wen [??] with [??] pu 'walk' as the signific" ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 119).

(14.) GO speculates ("Shi Sui," 71.1) that the dots here suggest holes for the purpose of hanging the "weapon," holes which eventually in the creation of <[??]> were found "by analogy to the human form, precisely like left and right feet" [??], [??]. Yu Xingwu's equally unsatisfying assertion is that the dots "mark the open spaces within the incurving bends at upper and lower cusps of the axe's blade" [??]; see Yu, "Shi sui" [??], in Jiagu wenzi shilin [??] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1979), 68. There is no shortage of similar accounts--suffice it to say that Mei is correct in reporting that "most paleographers agree that the two dots or two short horizontal lines do represent a feature of the blade of a cutting instrument" ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 118).

(15.) See Mei, "Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 117-21, and David W. Pankenier, "'Heavenly Pattern Reading' [??] and the Origins of Writing in China," paper presented at the Columbia University Early China Seminar on Writing and Literacy in Early China, New York, February 7-8, 2009, 18-32. A revised version was published as "Getting 'Right' with Heaven and the Origins of Writing in China," in Writing and Literacy in Early China, ed. Feng Li and David Branner (Seattle: Univ. of Washington Press, 2011), 19-50. It must be noted that John C. Didier (In and Outside the Square: The Sky and the Power of Belief in Ancient China and the World, c. 4500 BC-AD 200 [3 vols.], SinoPlatonic Papers no. 192 [Sept. 2009]) has considered potential astronomical as well as cosmological significances of early Ding 1-, but with attention to a very different region of the celestial sphere; see below, section 3.

(16.) Chapter 17.1; see A Concordance to the Lunyu, ed. D.C. Lau, Ho Che Wah, Chen Fong Ching et al., Institute for Chinese Studies Concordance (Hong Kong: Commercial Press, 1995), 1/47/23.

(17.) Thirty-second year of Duke Zhao [??]; see A Concordance to the Chunqiu Zuozhuan, ICS (1995), B10.32.3/405/1.

(18.) "Dao Zhi" [??]; see A Concordance to the Zhuangzi, ICS (2000), 29/88/18.

(19.) Shaughnessy, Sources of Western Zhou History, 97. Note that the LI gui form is <[??]>.

(20.) This much is agreed upon by most commentators. Takashima ("Language and Paleography," 424-25), however, proceeds differently: he interprets the OBI verb so written not as sui but gui < *kwats [??], meaning in his view 'to cut; that which has been cut' (this arguably a sensibly "sacrificial" semantics) and related to, among others, yue < *nwat [??], there 'break; regulate', and yue < *[g] wat [??] 'axe'. It is this sense of "cutting" or "regulation" that Takashima considers to have been material in generating a related name, sui, for the Jovian cycle.

(21.) Guo ("Shi sui 74.1) comments that "as regards the rite being named sui [??] perhaps this was because it was conducted once a year" [??]. However, this seems doubtful given Guo's location of charges associating "sacrificial" sui with every month save the twelfth (74.2-75.2). There is, at any rate, no prima facie reason to assume that 'year'or 'Jupiter') is pertinent to the sacrificial verb.

(22.) The "lexical" transcription of OBI <[??]> as <[??]>, writing hai 'harm', is maintained here for convenience; its correctness need not concern us as such charges' general force is clear.

(23.) The fragment is also Qidn bian 7.20.2, as Shaughnessy (p. 97) cites it. The translation here, and below in all cases where no source is indicated, is my own.

(24.) See Shaughnessy, 97, where the charge is cited as Jimbun 320.

(25.) See A Concordance to the Shang Shu, ICS (1995), 41/38/4. The "Luo gao" text is examined for instance at "Sh1 sui," 74.1, and Shaughnessy, 98. Both authors (Guo, 64.1; Shaughnessy, 98 n. 45) also present a line from the Mozi [??], "Ming gui [??] (A Concordance to the Mozi, ICS [2001], 8.3/54/2), which we might translate, "on the auspicious day Ding-Mao, the Zhou ruler prayed to the altar of the earth and to the quarters, conveying (offerings) to the earth and to his deceased father so as to extend his allotted years" [??]; note here the pattern sui yu [??] [recipient].

(26.) Shaughnessy (p. 98) translates, "Wuchen (day 5); the king was at the new city; (he) steamed and sacrificed sui to King Wen, one red ox, and to King Wu, one red ox." This treatment results in more arguments for the verb sacrifice than can be properly accommodated. Legge (The Chinese Classics, vol. 3: The Shoo King [Taipei reprint, Tinxue, 1969], 451) recalls Guo's unlikely suggestion of 'annual sacrifice' for sui, but takes measures to achieve what seems to be the appropriate syntax: "On the day Mow-shin, the king in the new city performed the annual winter sacrifice, offering a red bull to king WAn, and the same to king Woo."

(27.) For the translation, see Shaughnessy, 97.

(28.) For the OBI verb you [??] as 'to offer < cause to have', see Takashima, "The Early Archaic Chinese Word Yu in the Shang Oracle-bone Inscriptions: Word-family, Etymology, Grammar, Semantics and Sacrifice," Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientate 8 (1980): 88-92. For more extensive consideration, see also David S. Nivison, "The Pronominal Use of the Verb Yu (*giiig) in Early Archaic Chinese," Early China 3 (1977): 1-17, and Takashima, "Language and Paleography," 210, 246-47, 261-88, and 304-48.

(29.) Difficulties of such an approach include at least that 1) familiar sui yd Y X would become, when preceded by you, "offer sui to Y, X," with the dangling final argument of n. 26 above; 2) in occasional instances in which prepositional phrase and object are found reversed, like [??] (Heji 22088), we would be forced to still more peculiar accommodations, here perhaps "offer sui, an ox, to Xia Yr'; 3) because yd Y phrases more often appear immediately following the verb, a V-0 'offer sui' analysis of you sui would seem to predict apparently unattested you vii Y sui "? offer to Y sui" to outstrip ubiquitous ybu sui yu Y"? offer sui to Y."

(30.) For an analysis of you as an emphatic particle, see Takashima, "Language and Paleography," 258-88. particularly 278-83 for examples parallel to the present ones with sal. The serial verb treatment is found for instance in Zhang Yujin [??], jiaguwen yufa xue [??] (Shanghai: Xuelin, 2001), 254-59.

(31.) The object of ybu 'offer' in such constructions is often, as above, a quantity of liquid--besides shao < *diauk [??] 'liquid unit', also sheng < *[??] 'liquid unit' and chang < *thranh [??] 'wine'. As regards sheng [??] in particular as a measure, see Takashima, "Language and Paleography," 208; charges take forms such as [??] ... "indeed offer a sheng liquid measure and convey to Mother I ... I" (Ying 1967).

(32.) Shaughnessy, 97, where the fragment is given as Jia (there Jiabian) 2386.

(33.) Occasional OBI combinations such as zhi sui [??], for instance, would also be treated as serial verb sequences (here, 'ascend and convey') as opposed to verb-object, as preferred for this case by Takashima ("Language and Paleography," 389-90: "offer up ... that which has been gui-cut").

(34.) Yu ("Shl shi (?)" [??] Jiagu wenzi shilin, 166) makes the connection partly by reference to the same gui [??] to which Takashima draws attention, his gloss being ci [??] 'to stab'.

(35.) Shima, Inky[degrees] bokuji sorui, 341.1.

(36.) So Shaughnessy, 99-100, where the cross-cultural recurrence of the designation "year star" for Jupiter is noted, and also implicitly Mei ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 117-21).

(37.) See Shuo wen jie zi zhit, 69a.

(38.) Shaughnessy, 99. The quotation is from the twenty-eighth year of Duke Xiang [??]; see A Concordance to the Chunqiu Zuozhuan, B9.28.8/297/26.

(39.) See Xu Zhen-tao, F. R. Stephenson, and Jiang Yao-tiao, "Astronomy on Oracle Bone Inscriptions," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 36 (1995): 399; and Zhentao Xu, David W. Pankenier, and Yaotiao Jiang, East Asian Archaeoastronotny: Historical Records of Astronomical Observations of China, Japan and Korea (Amsterdam: Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, 2000), 20-21. Charges cited in the latter appearing on Heft 24247 and Hifi 24266 are substantially identical to the above.

(40.) A second charge found on both fragments features <[??]> in a context--[??]--equally difficult to interpret in terms of regular understandings of the word sui.

(41.) Another possibility, brought to my attention by Takashima though not accepted as unambiguous reference to Jupiter by him (pers. comm., Oct. 2010), is the combination of sui [??] with the verb xing [??] 'arise': the Jia 2124 (= Heji 339) charge [??] is considered to refer to Jupiter in, e.g., Rao aingyi [??] and Zeng Xiantong [??], Sui Xian Zeng Hou Yi Mu zhengqing mingci yanjiu [??] (Hong Kong: Chinese Univ. Press, 1985), 55, the idea there being that this oracle concerns an inauspicious position or motion of Jupiter. However, a conventional "sacrificial" interpretation might be preferable: compare, e.g., Heft 34426, where we read [??], plausibly "in conveying (by sacrifice) ten penned oxen, [they] indeed will/did rise up."

(42.) See Guo ("Shi Sui," 67.2); the charge in question reads ... [??] ... [??] ... [??] ... [??] ... (Heji 13475). By treating <[??]> as <[??]>, the author is able to imagine the fragment to describe an eclipse of the moon (yue shi [??] "the moon was eclipsed") and thus to have an astronomical flavor. See also Shima, Inkyo bokuji setrui, 340.4-341.1, for this and two still less informative OBI appearances of <[??]>.

(43.) David W. Pankenier, "The Bamboo Annals Revisited: Problems of Method in Using the Chronicle as a Source for the Chronology of Early Zhou, pt. 2: The Congruent Mandate Chronology in Yi Zhou slzu," Bulletin of the Journal of Oriental and African Studies 55 (1992): 500 n. 55; Takashima, "Language and Paleography," 418, 424.

(44.) Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 485. We find there fuller "'Jupiter' [right arrow] 'Jovian cycle' [right arrow] 'year'," but Takashima is concerned in his study with the claimed relation of "temporal" sul to the Jovian cycle rather than with sui 'Jupiter' as such.

(45.) Shaughnessy, 99-100.

(46.) Fifteenth year of Duke Xi [??]; see A Concordance to the Chunqiu Zuozhuan, B5.15.4/89.12.

(47.) Shaughnessy, 97 n. 43.

(48.) See Shima, lnkyo bokuji storui, 340-41, and Takashima, "Language and Paleography," 418-19.

(49.) For the treatment <[??]>, see, e.g., jiaguwen zidian, 783; for <[??]>, e.g., Gu wenzi gulin, 5.660. Probably neither--whether from the lexical or the epigraphical standpoint--is correct.

(50.) 'Year-end season' in order to emphasize that a hypothetical early sui 'harvest season' ([right arrow] 'material of the harvest'; [right arrow] 'year') does not entail an etymological commitment to the physical act of harvesting. English 'harvest' (and note Old English /wriest 'autumn') does indeed appear to derive from a Proto-Indo-European root *kerp 'pluck, harvest (v.)' < (s)ker 'to cut': see, e.g., Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, ed. J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams (Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997), 258. One might thus imagine a similar avenue of development in the Chinese case, via the root 'to cut', as Takashima has proposed. However, I prefer to account for the word sui [??] without reference to the likes of yue < *wat [??] 'axe' or gill < *kwats [??] and yue < *nwat [??] '-to cut': note that Schuessler (ABC Etymological Dictionary, 520, 596) cites suggestions for yue [??], yue < *wat [??] 'Viet' and also yue < *nrot [??] 'cut (the feet)' as Austronesian in origin.

(51.) See Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 485, and Mei, "Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 117-21.

(52.) Taowen [??]: see Gu wenzi gulin, 2.200, and Gu taowen zi zheng [??], ed. Gao Ming [??] and Ge Yinghui [??] (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1991), 229.

(53.) Shan'di [??] manuscripts: see Gu wenzi gulin, 2.200.

(54.) Taowen: see Ga wenzi gulin, 10.977; Gu taowen zi zheng, 107.

(55.) Shuihudi manuscripts: see Gu wenzi gulin, 10.977.

(56.) Taowen: see Gu wenzi gulin, 9.985; Gu taowen zi zheng, 107.

(57.) Mei remarks upon the two graphs' structural similarity at "Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 119.

(58.) The "Shi tian" [??] section; see, e.g., Si ku quan shu [??] (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji, 1987), vol. 221, 386a.

(59.) Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 485; emphasis is mine and is meant to draw attention to associations with the root semantics "passing." Schuessler makes reference in the first case to Takashima, "Language and Paleography," vol. II (notes), 131, and in the second to Mei, "Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 117-32, but both proposals as presented in the Dictionary are to differing extents interpretive. As noted above (n. 44), Takashima is not concerned with 'Jupiter' as such, while he remains largely agnostic regarding the connection to yue [??], suggesting an alternative root 'to cut' ("Language and Paleography," vol. I, 418, and pers. comm., October, 2010). Thus the "'passing planet" portion of this proposed derivation should be taken as original with Schuessler. As for Mei's discussion, 'Jupiter' does not appear there either, though it is probably implied. Note again that Shaughnessy (99-100) does explicitly speak in favor of 'year' [right arrow] ('year star' = ) 'Jupiter'.

(60.) A Concordance to the Guoyu, ICS (1999), 4.106/91/8.

(61.) For the prefix, see Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 52-53.

(62.) Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 38, Table 4-1, and 38-50 for general discussion of the issues involved.

(63.) We might also note in particular the harmony of this treatment with the LI gui context, where at issue is the conveyance of the news of the Shang defeat to the Zheu ancestors: see Shaughnessy, 95-100.

(64.) Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictionary, 54-55. Also compare the examples in Laurent Sagart, The Roots of Old Chinese (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1999), 73, that approximate agentive nominalization, e.g., (zheng <) *teg [??] 'to steam' [right arrow] (zeng <) *s-tou-s [??] 'steamer'. to which might be added (mie <) *met [??] 'eradicate' [right arrow] (xu <) *s-mit [??] 'eradicator' = 'axe'.

(65.) It is harder to account in a morphologically satisfying way for the appearance of the suffix *-s in these proposed nouns--a difficulty common to the proposals of Schuessler ( just below) and of Takashima as well--though note this segment's presence in Sagart's *s-tag-s (n. 64). 66. Consider for example that English broiler 'a device for broiling meat', broiler 'a chicken suitable for broiling', and broiler 'a very hot day' are all broil + suffix -er: etymological triplets and of course homonyms (as well as homographs), but, as none is a semantic extension of any other, not "polysemes" in the regular sense. Nor does -er here perform exclusively "agentive" nominalization, just as seems to have been the case for Proto-Chinese denominative *s-.

(67.) For the meanings and etymology of Assyrian Akkadian neberu, see Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, ed. lgnace J. Gelb et al. (Chicago: Oriental Institute of the Univ. of Chicago, 1956-), vol. 11, pt. II, 145-46, and vol. 4, 10-13. For neberu 'Jupiter' in the MUL.APIN, see Hermann Hunger and David Pingree, MUL.APIN: An Astronomical Compendium in Cuneiform (Horn, Austria: Ferdinand Berger & Siihne, 1989), 28-29 and 126, where the authors' translation of Tablet I, i 37 (pp. 28-29) reads in part, "the star of Marduk, the Ford (neberu), Jupiter, (it) keeps changing its position and crosses the sky." We might prefer by comparison to the Chinese case a translation with the force "that which crosses" ("Forder"?) to the authors' "Ford" for neberu here, the confusion being that the same word (or, if this proves too confining, morphological aggregate) also refers in the Babylonian tradition to a point among the fixed stars. In addition, ibbir 'crosses' of this inscription is directly comparable to the use of yue M in the Shuo wen description.

(68.) See Gu wenzi gulin, 2.269.

(69.) I tentatively suggest, however, that the OBI form found in Shima (Inkyo bokuji sorui, 341.1) as <[??]> might have written yue 'to cross'. On occasion in the Bronze Inscriptions and continuing to the Warring States bamboo manuscripts we do find its apparent descendants, as <[??]>, writing sui [??]. Why this is at least conceivable will be clear in relation to the discussion below.

(70.) This is essentially the force of Mei's suggestion: that author ("Sino-Tibetan 'Year'," 117-21) offers in light of a Tibetan skyod-pa 'to pass, to elapse (of time)' that the basic meaning of OC sui [??] may have been 'the passage of time'. For iterative *s-(which Schuessler speculatively suggests to have preceded the more general denominative application) and the meaning 'passing over again' for "temporal" sui, see Schuessler, ABC Etymological Dictioncuy. 53-54.

(71.) Central to the argument, for which see Pankenier, "Getting 'Right' With Heaven," 37-50, are the lines Ding zhi fang zhang, zuo yu Chu Gong [??] of the Shu jing ode "Ding zhi fang zhbng" [??] (Mao #50), translated by the author as "when [the asterism] Ding just culminated, [Duke Wen] started work on the Chu palace." This early square-shaped asterism--its employment at the moment of culmination to achieve north-south axial alignment of built structures thus clearly attested--is insightfully recognized by Pankenier as having been functionally named: the verb ding < *dens [??], to which Ding T is there convincingly related, means 'to true, fix, set straight'. Note, however, that John Didier, In and Outside the Square, vol. 2, esp. 234-46, strenuously rejects Pankenier's suggestion of a connection to the Warring States asterism Ding 1,2 . In explication of Ding [??], Didier attends rather to a hypothesized stellar quadrilateral composed of Mizar, Alioth, Pherkad, and Kochab and framing in early periods the north celestial pole.

(72.) Pers. comm., April, 2010. A relation of Wu < *muh [??] to wu' < *ma? [??] seems less likely due in part to phonological distance in Old Chinese.

(73.) "Wunu [??]" is the term found throughout the classical corpus, including in Sima Qian's [??] "Tian guan shu" [??], while later alternative renderings include homophonous "Wunu [??]" as well as "Xunu [??]" Interestingly, the Zuo zhuan, in the tenth year of Duke Zhao [??], records the appearance of an ominous new "star" (xing [??]) in Wunu [??], an event on the basis of which the death of the ruler of Jin [??] is forecast for the seventh month of that year on, it would now seem significantly, the Wu-Zi [??] day; see A Concordance to the Chunqiu Zuozhuan, ICS (1995), BI0.10.1/345/27. The prophecy is found "fulfilled" in the Chun-Qiu [??] chronicle's entry for that seventh month, which notes the death of Marquis Biao of Jin [??] on Wu-Zi--recall that the Earthly Branch Zi [??]. was independently associated with this region of the sky, matched to the Jupiter Station Xuanxiao [??] and to Lunar Lodges #10 Nu [??], #11 Xu [??] and #12 Wei [??].

(74.) The "exopassive" force of OC *-s/-h might suggest an early *muh meaning, for instance, 'lanced, axed', thus 'region of the sky which is (or woman which is?) cut by lance or axe'.

(75.) Pankenier, pers. comm., November, 2010; see Shi ji [??]. comp. Sima Tan [??] and Sima Qian (Beijing: Zhonghua, 1985), 27.1309. Pankenier remarks also that a later asterism Fuyue [??] 'Broadaxe' is found associated with three variously named Aquarii stars; arguably we are dealing here with a conception archaic even in early Han times.

(76.) As has been seen, I would prefer to take ('crossing-over period' >) '-year' and 'Jupiter' as independent derivations--though 'Jupiter' as a later extension of the former (that is, "year-star") is not ruled out by these new astronomical observations.

(77.) One month to a rough approximation: given the approximately 2h1Om of difference in right ascension separating h 1/2 Sgr and 8 Cap, the proposed stellar blade defines with reference to the ecliptic slightly more than one-twelfth of the full 24 hours, or around a month of solar transit.

(78.) Pankenier, "Getting 'Right' with Heaven," 45-48.

(79.) Ibid., 20

COPYRIGHT 2012 American Oriental Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Smith, Jonathan
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Previous Article:Ganitasarakaumudi: The Moonlight of the Essence of Mathematics, by Thakkura Pheru.
Next Article:Mesopotamian scholarship in Hattusa and the Sammeltafel KUB 4.53.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters