Zhouyi zhuanyi daquan / Book of Changes

In 1628 Robert Ramsay, a minister, gave us our first Chinese book. It is a commentary by Hu Guang on the classic system of divination given in the Yi Jing, which dates to the Bronze Age. The opening displayed here shows some of the hexagrams which are the key to the work. They have been said to have influenced the binary system which underpins modern computing. The text of this commentary was written in 1412-1413 and this edition was printed in China in 1440 using block printing - several years before the invention of moveable metal type. The library staff in 1628 were clearly unable to read the text as the inscription and binder's title are upside-down.

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