Summary of doctoral thesis: My thesis explores the various manifestations of the early Chinese divination traditions as seen from both palaeographical evidence—old as well as newly retrieved—and the received textual production. More specifically, it focusses on a large set of unearthed sources currently understood as belonging to the shuzi gua 數字卦 (‘numerical cypher’ or simply ‘numerical gua’) corpus. Due to the gua 卦-like shape and the presence of numbers, these cyphers have been indirectly related to the Yi 易 (Changes) traditions. Yet, several crucial issues remain underexplored: What is the nature and meaning of shuzi gua and how can we define them? What features tie them together under the same category, and can any pattern be discerned? To answer these questions, I have devised the analytical map, which is a threefold grid comprising the following criteria: material, visual, and linguistic. The core contribution of this project is establishing a new methodological approach which will be the starting point for a more nuanced narrative about the shuzi gua material avoiding anachronistic relations with later traditions.
Other research interests: Early Chinese divination, Yijing divination tradition and related texts; Chinese palaeography and manuscript culture; Early Chinese systems of thought; Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary studies.