viously prevailed ; and the very same sentence brings the
review of antiquity down to the time of Shun. But the
chronologers place him in the reign of Hwang Ti, towards
the end of the twenty-seventh century B.C. Other writers
describe the struggle between him and Hwang Ti, in which
dragons, mists, and the invention of the compass play con-
spicuous parts. It is to the credit of the Shu^ and an
evidence of its being a genuine collection of historical me-
morials, that this cursory reference to AT/zih Yu is the only
mention in it of any name older than that of Yao.
The Use of the Chart.
This chart is intended to represent approximately the aspect of
the principal zodiacal stars as seen above the horizon of any
place in central China, at any hour of any day, about the year
In order to apply the chart to a practical purpose, the reader is
advised to cut out a sheet of paper (cardboard is preferable) with
its upper edge exactly fitting the curved line A B O C D, and to
drarw, near to the bottom of the paper, a line coinciding with ' the
hour-line ' on the chart.
This being done, if it be asked what will be the aspect of the
heavens when the Sun sets at the Vernal Equinox, the reader is to
move the line at the bottom of the cardboard along the horizontal
* hour-line' of the chart until the place of the Sun in the Ecliptic at
the Vernal Equinox O just touches the curved top of the paper ;
then all the stars not covered over are above the horizon at the time
of that sunset, viz. in this case Aldebaran, Sirius, Spica, &c. ; the
Pleiades are just setting, Regulus and a Hydrse are very near the
meridian, ^ Centauri is on the point of rising, and a Serpentis is
well up above the horizon. This exactly corresponds with that
state of the heavens which Yao, (alleged in the Chinese records to
have flourished about b.c. 2300,) indicated to his astronomers (Hsi
and Ho) would be the case, viz. that he would find the star (or the
28 THE SHU KING.
Stellar division) Shun Hwo (corresponding, it is said, to a Hydrse)
culminating at the time of sunset at the Vernal Equinox ^.
Again, if it be required to find what constellation is culminating
at the time of sunset at the Summer Solstice, the cardboard must
be moved, as before, towards the right hand until the position of
the Sun at the Summer Solstice, viz. G, just touches the horizon
curve, when it will be seen that a Serpentis and Antares are then
culminating, Regulus and /3 Centauri are just setting, while the
constellations of Aquila and Aquarius are rising ; Vega is a con-
spicuous object above the eastern horizon. This again corresponds
to the indications given by Yao to his astronomers, viz. that they
would find the constellation Scorpio culminating at the time.
Thirdly, to find what constellation is culminating at sunset at the
Winter Solstice, the cardboard horizon is to be moved, as before,
until the Sun at F falls upon it, when the constellations Aries and
Taurus with the Pleiades will be seen near to their culmination.
This is a third correspondence with the indications of the astro-
Lastly, at sunset of the Autumnal Equinox the movable horizon
is to be shifted to the left until the point A falls upon it, where it
will be seen in this position that the stars in Aquarius are cul-
minating at the time. It is scarcely possible that all these indica-
tions of the positions of the stars at these several times of the year
could be simultaneously correct at any other epoch than some-
where about B.C. 2300 or a very small number of centuries before
The reader may easily make for himself many other interesting
applications of the chart. A general notion of the effects of
precession on the positions of the stars may be seen at once by
observing the three positions of the Pleiades, at the three epochs
B.C. 2300, A.D. I, and A.D. 1878, marked in the chart by the letters
K, L, M ; and as the approximate effect of precession is to cause
all stars to move parallel to the Ecliptic and through the same arc,
if the reader will imagine every star to be shifted parallel to the
Ecliptic through spaces equal respectively to K L, L M, he will get
the aspect of the heavens at the epochs a. d. i and a.d. 1878.
The following table has been calculated for the apparent posi-
tions of the principal stars in the years b.c. 2300, B.C. 1500, a.d. r,
and A.D. 1000 ; except in one instance it will be found to confirm
a similar calculation made by Biot for the earliest of these dates.
' See an excellent memoir by Mr. Williams, the late Assistant Secretary of
the Royal Astronomical Society, on Chinese Comets, procurable at the apart-
ments of the Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, London.
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