The Chinese sexagenary cycle

The Chinese sexagenary cycle, also known as Stems-and-Branches, is a cyclic numeral system of 60 combinations of the two basic cycles, the ten Heavenly Stemsand the twelve Earthly Branches.

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tiānɡān jiǎ bǐnɡ dīnɡ ɡēnɡ xīn rén ɡuǐ
天干:

 

dìzhī chǒu yín mǎo chén wèi shēn yǒu hài
地支:

Ten Heavenly stems are a set of characters that were used to indicate order in ancient China. They are associated with the concepts of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements of natural. Heavenly stems were already in use during the Shang Dynasty at the latest and now also used in classify the level.

Twelve Earthly Branches are only stand for twelve animal sign of Chinese Zodiac,but also twelve months. From the Eastern Han Dynasty, ancients used them for dates and decided the Chiese Zodiac animal according from the year of birth. The ten Heavenly Stems and the twelve Earthly Branches are the elements of an ancient Chinese cyclic character numeral system.They were used for dates as early as the Shang Dynasty, and were used with the twelve Earthly Branches in the Sexagenary cycle from the Eastern Han Dynasty.

In the arrange of Stems-and-Branches, Jia and Zi is the first of the ten Heavenly Stems and the twelve Earthly Branches respectively.

The combination of the first decade: Jia-Zi Yi-Chou Bing-Yin Ding-Mao Wu-Chen Ji-Si Geng-Wu Xin-Wei Ren-Shen Gui-You

From the second decade, the Heavenly Stems arranged from the beginging. Then the combination show the malposition of sort.

The combination of the second decade: Jia-Xu Yi-Hai Bing-Zi Ding-Chou Wu-Yin Ji-Mao Geng-Chen Xin-Si Ren-Wu Gui-Wei

The combination of the third decade: Jia-Shen Yi-You Bing-Xu Ding-Hai Wu-Zi Ji-Chou Geng-Yin Xin-Mao Ren-Chen Gui-Si

The combination of the fourth decade: Jia-Wu Yi-Wei Bing-Shen Ding-You Wu-Xu Ji-Hai Geng-Zi Xin-Chou Ren-Yin Gui-Mao

The combination of the fifth decade: Jia-Chen Yi-Si Bing-Wu Ding-Wei Wu-Shen Ji-You Geng-Xu Xin-Hai Ren-Zi Gui-Chou

The combination of the sixth decade: Jia-Yin Yi-Mao Bing-Chen Ding-Si Wu-Wu Ji-Wei Geng-Shen Xin-You Ren-Xu Gui-Hai

Every sixty year is a basic cycle of the Chinese sexagenary. In China, the sixty year old man also called Hua Jia.

This year(2012) is Ren-Chen year and it is also a Dragon year

Further Reading:

http://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:128930

 

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