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Yang Hsiung and the Taixuanjing

Guest Mat

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In the provinces he was doing ethnology, Yang Hsiung described the invention of belt drive around 18 B.C.E. Off-hand, I think it was some 800 years later that it showed up in the West. Yang's magnum opus, the Taixuanjing(he would have never called it jing['classic']), was undoubtedly influenced by other such things:

It leaves me, it enters me.

Good and Evil are shown,

By the four stars of the Plough.

(Taixuanjing, shou II)

This points to the real possibility that Yang and those who conversed at White Tiger Pavilion, knew about oxygen, that is to say, phlogistic air, long before it was 'discovered' in the West by Lavossier or Priestly, the latter having been given credit for the discovery of oxygen. This likely happened on account of experimentation in fermentation and alchemy.



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