The origin of the taijitu

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Hello all,


I'm doing a little research for my blog article regarding the taijitu. I'm wondering about its origins.


This page: http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/yinyang.htm (also mentioned in the FAQ) has an interesting viewpoint on it, but it doesn't mention any sources. The basic astronomical / astrological ideas in the above article seem to match with what I know but if possible I would like additional sources for the method of constructing the taijitu. Anybody?

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Wikipedia has some good info. In addition to that, I recently stumbled over this in Wang Mu's Foundations of Inner Alchemy (tl. Pregadio). Not sure if this is what you're looking for, but perhaps it will help.



During the Five Dynasties (907-60), Chen Tuan (ca. 920-89) engraved the Wuji tu (Chart of the Ultimateless) on the walls of a cavern on Mount Hua (Huashan, in present-day Shaanxi). Zhu Yizun's (1629-1709) Taiji tu shoushou kao (Study of the Transmission of the Chart of the Ultimate) says:


From Bottom to top, the Chart depicts:

1 The Gate of the Mysterious-Female (xuanpin zhi men, explained by the alchemical texts to be the One Opening of the Mysterious Barrier at the beginning of the practice)

2 "Refining Essence and transmuting it into Breath"

3 The positions of the five agents, and the "return of the five agents to the source" (wuqi chaoyuan, explained by the alchemical texts to be the operation of Lead and Mercury)

4 The conjunction of Yin and Yang, or "taking from Kan in order to fill Li "

5 On top, "refining Spirit to return to Emptiness," or "returning to the Ultimateless"




Also some images here.

Edited by Daeluin
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