I Ching (Yi Jing 易经) is the very foundation of Daoism
and Chinese culture. But I Ching that we normally refer
to is just one third of all I Ching that were created by
the ancient Chinese.
This one third of I Ching we know today is actually called "Zhou
Yi (Change in Heaven 周易)", meaning: "the I Ching
compiled during the Zhou Dynasty" (1100 BC – 221 BC).
It consists of three key parts: concepts (li 理),
charts (xiang 象) and numbers (shu 数),
and illustrates three fundamental tenets: transcendence
of all things (bianyi 变易), simplicity of underlying
principles (jianyi 简易) and eternality of unblemished
Dao (buyi 不易).
The other two I Chings are Lianshan (Link to
Mountain 连山) and Guicang (Save in Earth 归藏), both
were evidently compiled before that of Zhou Yi.
Unlike Zhou Yi that starts with the hexagram of Heaven,
in Lianshan the first hexagram is Mountain, and in Guicang
it is the Earth hexagram that tops the rank.
While Zhou Yi is believed to be compiled by Duke
Zhou and Lianshan is allegedly created by Red Emperor
- who was a thousand-year older than Zhou - Guicang is
said to have an even more venerable author: the Yellow
There are purported original text of Lianshan and Guicang
in Books Discovered in Three Ancient Tombs (Gusanfen Shu 古三坟书)
and Lost Classics Recovered by Yuhanshan Studio (Yuhanshanfang Yishu 玉函山房辑佚书), but
both are considered fake by most experts.
In March 1993, large amount of fragmented bamboo books
were unearthed from a tomb dating back to the Qin Dynasty
(221 BC – 207 BC). It contains over 4000 characters and
more than 70 charts on the topic of Guicang. However, a
readable version of any page is yet to be reconstructed.
Three I Chings, apparently, contemplate the universe from
slightly different angles. Zhou Yi places its emphasis
on Heaven, Guicang views the world from the perspective
of Earth, while Lianshan focuses on Mountain, the linkage
between Heaven and Earth.