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Translation of Baoshan  包山 Texts

218-219 | 220 | 221-222 | 223 | Baoshan Bibliography


Slips 218-219
The transcription below follows
 Liu Xinfang 劉信芳, Baoshan chujian jiegu 包山楚簡解詁 (Taipei: Yiwen yishuguan, 2003), 232.

-By Guo Jue, Lee Yong-yun, and Meghan Cai


In the year when Wu Cheng, the envoy of the Eastern Zhou, paid a return visit bringing the tribute at Ji(?)ying, on the yiyou day (i.e., the 22nd day of the sexagenary cycle) of the cuan month (11th month of the Chu calendar), Wu Ji used the Baojia [Protect-the-Household] plastron to divine for the Minister of the Left, Shao Tuo:

[First Charge]

Because his illness is located under the heart (i.e., in his abdomen) and he is short of breath.[1]

[First Prognostication]

The long-term divination is auspicious. On the jiayin day (i.e., the 51st day of the sexagenary cycle) his illness will greatly improve. There is trouble [because] Jupiter is in alignment with Mercury.[2] According to its cause, perform the shuo-sacrifice.

[Second Charge]

Avoid Mercury and choose a favorable month and favorable day to give it [a sacrificial feast]. [218] Moreover, offer the wu a strung-together jade pendant  and quickly offer the sacrifice to it (i.e. the wu) [3]. Perform the yan-sacrifice with one male pig[4] to the Lord of the Earth. Perform a sai fashion [appreciation prayer] to Xing[5] with one white dog and give a cap and sash to the Two Sons of Heaven.[6] On the jiayin day, a rui-sacrifice was performed at Zhengyang[7]. [219]

[1] Shaoqi as a symptom appears in the “Qijiao bianda lun” [Discussion on Enlargement of Joined Vapor] in the Huangdi neijing 黃帝内經[Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor], “people are sick and suffering from shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing” 民病虐少氣咳喘. Wang Bing 王冰 comments that “shaoqi is saying that breath is less and not enough to breathe” 少氣謂氣少不足以息. See Chen, Baoshan chujian chutan, 154.
[2] Liu Xinfang suggests that 王虎 might refer to tuxing 兔星 , the chenxing 辰星(Mercury) in the “Shitian”釋天 Chapter of Guangya 廣雅chen star is called cuan star, or is called tu star, or is called gou star.”辰星謂之爨星,或謂之兔星,或謂之鉤星. See Liu, Baoshan chujian jiegu, 233. By contrast, Li Ling 李零 reads  jian as xian : Jupiter wants to be offered 王虎 which are jade or gem-like objects. See Li, Zhongguo fangshu kao, 274.
[3] According to Liu Xinfang, the second wu is used as a verb and means making sacrifice to the aforementioned wu in accordance with the right ritual. He further suggests that the first wu might refer to Wu Xian 巫咸, a chief shaman in the Chu ci 楚辭.
[4] Li Ling reads 豕古 as jia with the meaning of male pig. See Li Ling, Zhongguo fangshu kao, 291.
[5] Xing is identified as a deity of the inside walkway. It appears on one of the five wooden tablets found in the Baoshan tomb with other grave objects and is identified as the xing of the Five Sacrifices recorded in the received texts, such as the “Yueling” 月令 “Jifa” 祭法, “Quli xia” 曲礼下, “Wangzhi” and 王制 chapters of Liji 礼记, “Jixi li” 既夕礼 Chapter of Yili 仪礼, and the “Chunguan” 春官 chapter of Zhouli 周礼. See Chen, Baoshan chujian chutan, 165-7.
[6] Who this refers to exactly is unclear. Li Ling holds that it is an earth deity in the “Chu Zhanbu zhujian” 楚占卜竹簡 (p. 288), but in his “Formulaic Structure of Chu Divinatory Bamboo Slips” (trans. William Boltz) he thinks this is an ancestor of the tomb occupant (p. 85). Liu Xinfang identifies it as the two daughters of the Emperor (di ) and two deities of the Mount Xiang . Chen Wei agrees with Liu Xinfang in this regard. See Chen, Baoshan chujian chutan, 169-70.
[7] The site report reads the first  graph in the place name as zheng, but Liu Xinfang reads it the same as graph that appears on slip 155, jie . Both sources agree that it refers to a place name. See  Chen, Baoshan chumu, 388; Liu, Baoshan chujian jiegu, 235; Li, Zhongguo fangshukao, 274-5. In my opinion, the characters can be read as , because the original graph in the bamboo slip is almost the same as the graph in slip 99. Cf. Liu, Baoshan chujian jiegu, 93.




Chen Wei 陳偉, Baoshan chujian chutan 包山楚簡初探. Wuhan: Wuhan daxue, 1996.

Li Ling 李零, Zhongguo fangshu kao 中國方術考. Beijing: Dongfang, 2001

Liu Xinfang 劉信芳, Baoshan chujian jiegu 包山楚簡解詁. Taipei: Yiwen yishuguan, 2003.



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