YintelligenceTM: The Mapping of the Pre-Heaven or FuXi Hexagrams to the Post-Heaven or King Wen Hexagrams


The Yijing易經belongs to the famous group of the five classics. In the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Four Books and Five Classics四書五經 were the subject of mandatory study by those Confucian scholars who wished to become government officials. The Yijing (Faure & Javary, 2002) consists of 64 figures called hexagrams 卦 formed by six Yin (broken) or Yang (unbroken) lines and commentaries on each of these hexagrams and their lines. The whole set of the hexagrams and their interdependencies make a dynamic model for the understanding or the anticipating of the different steps change goes through. The Yijing does not predict the future but gives a snap-shot of the actual situation and the holistic potentialities which may be deployed or not in order to better adapt to the on-going change. The different stages of a change are explained by the Yin-Yang polarity and the never-ending transformation of old-Yin 老陰in young-Yang少陽, old-Yang老陽, young-Yin少陰 and old-Yin again. The 64 hexagrams are built by pairing the 8 basic trigrams obtained by adding to each bigram a supplementary Yin or Yang line. Figure 1 depicts a 4-regions space (East/young Yang, South /old Yang, West/young Yin, North/old Yin) and a cyclic movement. A forthcoming article will explain the relation between this space organization and the whole set of 64 hexagrams as a network. The cyclic change is of major interest. Purpose: The 64 hexagrams of the Yijing are organized in 16 “first degree” nuclear families (Javary, 1997), which may be consolidated in 4 “second degree” nuclear families. There are another 16 families organizing the 64 hexagrams in a different structure. In the literature they are called the pre-heaven先天 hexagrams (Schlumberger, 1987), and in this paper they are referred to as the FuXi伏羲 hexagrams. They form 16 cyclic families, whose structure will be analyzed in this paper. This cyclicity induces a “predecessor-successor” relationship between the hexagrams belonging to the same FuXi family: H1H2H3H4H1. While the 4 members of each nuclear family are centered on a “master” hexagram that corresponds to a common inner lines’ structure, each FuXi family is cyclically structured and we call the hexagrams belonging to the same family FuXi related. Each Wen hexagram corresponds exactly to a FuXi hexagram. This correspondence reflects the respective trigrams’ arrangements of King Wen and FuXi. The trigrams of the FuXi hexagram and those of the corresponding Wen hexagram occupy the same locations in the FuXi and the King Wen arrangements displayed in the Figure 2. This paper explains the relation between the Wen hexagrams and their corresponding FuXi hexagrams based on structural and semantic properties. Summary: It has been demonstrated, that the pre-heaven and post-heaven hexagrams are pairwise related through specific relations defined by the opposition of the post-heaven hexagrams and 2 members of particular nuclear families which have opposite envelopes. Basically, the links between pre-heaven or FuXi hexagrams and post-heaven or Wen hexagrams are based on the hexagrams’ structure, especially on the opposition of 2 hexagrams. Two FuXi related hexagrams are connected to each other by a “predecessor-successor” like relation, the pre-heaven or FuXi hexagram somehow gives the necessary prerequisite which the post-heaven hexagram must own. In a pair of opposite hexagrams, the one possesses the complementary dimensions which are absent in the other. All these links may be represented using the trigrams deployed adequately on two circles, one with the pre-heaven trigrams, the FuXi arrangement, and the second with the post-heaven trigram or King Wen arrangement. Two corresponding trigrams are identically positioned in the two circular arrangements. The logical and sophisticated system applied to link the Wen to the FuXi hexagrams again reveals how subtly the whole system of 64 hexagrams has been conceptualized and evidences a new and original insight into the structure of the Yijing.

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Felley, G. (2013) YintelligenceTM: The Mapping of the Pre-Heaven or FuXi Hexagrams to the Post-Heaven or King Wen Hexagrams. Chinese Studies, 2, 197-203. doi: 10.4236/chnstd.2013.24032.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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