Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 3.djvu/61

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INTRODUCTION.

Lü on Punishments, there is a historical reference which would carry us back four centuries beyond the time of Yâo. It is said that, 'According to the teachings of antiquity, Khin Yû was the first to create disorder.' There is no intimation, however, of the time when this rebel disturbed the happy order and innocence which had previously 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 Tî, towards the end of the twenty-seventh century B.C. Other writers describe the struggle between him and Hwang Tî, in which dragons, mists, and the invention of the compass play conspicuous parts. It is to the credit of the Shû, and an evidence of its being a genuine collection of historical memorials, that this cursory reference to Khih Yû is the only mention in it of any name older than that of Yâo.

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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 B.C. 2300.

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 draw, 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 α Hydræ are very near the meridian, β Centauri is on the point of rising, and α Serpentis is well up above the horizon. This exactly corresponds with that state of the heavens which Yâo, (alleged in the Chinese records to have flourished about B.C. 2300,) indicated to his astronomers (Hsî and Ho) would be the case, viz. that he would find the star (or the