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The design on this pendant is the Yin Yang (taijitu) symbol. You are probably familiar with this one:
I searched all over for this symbol as a pendant. I could never find it. So about 20 years ago I had one made for myself by a silversmith. Recently, I thought others would like to have one. So I had these manufactured. These may be the only ones available on the planet.
This target looking symbol came before the one you usually see. It is part of a chart built by Zhou Dunyi (image on the right). A really old Chinese teacher (1017-1073 CE). He was a Confucian but this symbol has been used by Buddhist and Taoist and others. If you wear this, people will often ask you what it means. This is a great conversation starter.
It is 1-1/4 inches (31.75mm) in diameter and about 3/32 inch (2.38mm) thick, very close to the size of a U.S. Half Dollar. It is Antique Silver Plated and filled with Soft Enamel. It comes in a red draw string bag, a black beaded chain and a pin you can stick to the back of the pendant to make it into a lapel pin.
Perhaps some of you are familiar with the other version of the tài jí symbol, as illustrated by Zhou Dunyi. This version of the symbol, while historically older than the more popular tài jí tú , still utilizes the Fire and Water trigram positions of the Pre-Heaven sequence. On the left is the trigram for Fire, and on the right is the trigram for Water. The characters to the left and right of the symbol say: ”yáng, motion” and ”yìn, repose” (Louis, 2003). The center of the circle represents wú jí (無極), a balanced and undifferentiated state of yìn-yáng (Wikipedia), loosely translated as ”there is no extreme” (Schuessler, 2007), or no ridgepole” (Robinet & Wissing, 1990). While this particular diagram is attributed to Zhou Dunyi, there is an older symbol that is quite similar. This older symbol is attributed to the Buddhist scholar, Zong Mi, of the Tang dynasty, who used the symbol to denote a balanced consciousness in which ”the true and the false” are blended (Louis, p. 177). Although Zong Mi was Buddhist, some scholars have suggested that the diagram itself may not be purely Buddhist in origin, due to the fact that the original colors were red and black (Robinet & Wissing, 1990). Red and black are the traditional Chinese colors for Fire and Water, respectively, suggesting cultural influences beyond Buddhism. Furthermore, since this diagram was a product of the Tang dynasty, the Daoist ideas of nèi dān (内丹) or inner alchemy, were already established (Robinet & Wissing, 1990).
©Dr. Phil Garrison and Ancient Chinese Medical Theory , 2014.