Chinese Text and Symbols

Zhong Wen

There is a scattering of Chinese text on this site and a large number of images of the gua. I am in no way fluent in Chinese, but it is important and fun to have some understanding of the language when exploring the philosophical ideas expressed by the ancient sages.

Chinese Characters

Some of this text is in the form of graphics files which should be visible to everyone regardless of the local setup of their computer. An example of such text is given on the left. This says Zhong Wen, literally "middle pattern", the name that the Chinese give to their language.

However, most of the Chinese text on this site is presented using unicode Chinese font characters. For example, the Chinese term for metaphysics is 形而上學 (xing er shang xue) - literally meaning the study of what is beyond form. If you cannot see Chinese characters there, but only four square boxes, then you do not have the appropriate fonts installed on your computer.

Chinese True Type fonts for Windows are easy to get. I recommend either PMingLiU or SimSum. You may already have these fonts on your computer; but if not, both can be downloaded from Steve Marshall's site. Once you have the fonts, use the Windows font installer to add them to your system.

You can also find a good range of Chinese fonts, along with some useful information about the names and styles of the characters at Samuel Xie's font page here.

For Linux or Mac users, I'm afraid you'll have to figure it out for yourselves.

Yijing Symbols

The symbols for the hexagrams are now part of the Unicode definition and there are a number of freely available fonts that support the necessary code range. However, for historical reasons and to maintain the widest range of viewing compatibility, this site continues to use inline images to render the gua.

Alan Wood's Unicode Resources site has a complete list of all the hexagrams and their Unicode numbers. This is targetted at web developers, but will also be of use to anyone wanting to include the symbols in a document.

If you want it, the official Unicode documentation can be found here.

There are a few free fonts that support the required code range for the hexagrams. Perhaps surprisingly, the Chinese character fonts mentioned above are not amongst them!

The Abstract Fonts site provides 3 free fonts with the necessary code page here. However, the first font listed, Kinyru, doesn't work and you should only bother with the DejaVu fonts (you may already have them installed).

If you want to use images to display the various gua, then you can freely download and use the images that I created for this site. They are available as a zip file here.