Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jade Box Records 玉匣记 and date selection in China

  The Jade Box Records (Yu Xia Ji) 玉匣记 is an ancient Chinese book on date selection, written by the famous Daoist monk Xu Xun in 3rd century.

The text provides information about the different days, which are suitable or not suitable for doing almost everything you could imagine:  most beneficial days for marriage, starting a travel, opening a new business, etc.

Certain parts of the Jade Box Records, however, are very disturbing.

For example, the book tells which are the best days for binding the feet of the small girls (chan zu ji ri 缠足吉日). Many Chinese women referred to the information at the Jade Box Records to select a day for binding their daughter's feet. Foot binding was a horrbale custom of applying tight binding to the feet of small girls to prevent further growth, because the small feet were regarded as beautiful at that time.

It's also ridiculous that according to the book, the foot binding should be done on days with Heavenly Virtue 天德 or Lunar Virtue 月德 stars . I wonder what kind of virtue is this to bind the feet?!

Another ridiculous dates are the "auspicious dates for stopping the breastfeeding of the small child" 小儿断乳吉日, which should happen somewhere in the 5th or 7th lunar month. It is sad to see how the date selection dogma in China is controlling such a natural thing as the breastfeeding. The breastfeeding is not related to this in any way. There are no bad or good days for stopping breastfeeding, it's a natural process, which should not be stopped artificially by date selection.
There are also such dates as: "auspicious dates for accepting the slaves" 纳奴婢吉日 and "best days for entering the warehouse" 进仓库吉日...  As you can see, many of these are complete nonsense. Not everything in the classics is good and reasonable.


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