D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

The Riddle Unravelled

                                                The Riddle Unravelled

The poet would like to digress for a few minutes to discuss the concept of a model form. He had learned from Professor Fyre who was the world's foremost expert in literary criticism that a model of something expressed as a form was important to conceive of and convey an understanding of a concept. However, the poet was also aware that Fryes' critics felt more strongly as the years went by that his in-depth examination and explanation of the forms which had a Biblical bias meant that there was no room for them to advance new interpretations of the concept.

For this reason the poet will present two forms which are related. They will be simply called A and B. These most simple designations will not restrict interpretations of them, but may allow them to flourish. There will be minimum explanation of the forms so that they can speak for themselves and be interpreted in many ways like the poet's image poems. While the basic images taken from The Selden Map will be protected by the Bodleian Library, the poet will allow anyone to use the overlays for educational purposes as long as due credit is given.

As a basic requirement or prerequisite though the reader must understand the relation of the pole star to the polar rectangle that links the Big and Little Dipper throughout Chinese history. The pole star was associated with the highest god or Taiyi whose earthly counterpart was the emperor. During the Han Dynasty the binary companion of the pole star was reintroduced from Zhou times.

As a teacher at the graduate level in China he had to develop the best way to teach the English essay. He was coached by Professor Kretchmer from the State State University at Albany in the program developed and financed by UCLA. The program was overseen by Professor Li Pei who was the founder of TESL in China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). At the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) he was supervised by Professor Luo Xiwen who earned his doctor of philosophy at UCLA and was the foremost translator of the Chinese medical classics which comprise one-half of Chinese classics.

The goal of graduate students at CAS or CASS was generally to complete a PhD abroad or finish a second PhD abroad. They needed an understanding of the English essay so that they could pass the various admission tests. As a result the author developed his own form for the English essay. They might be asked to write, read, speak or listen on any topic, but they always had the form to rely on. There was no need to explain to students why this particular form was preferred except to say that it would help them pass tests and ultimately develop their own critical thought process.

It was believed by the author that the science of the essay must be understood before the art of the essay was practised. In other words, the essay was based on form from which the art could develop. The same is true of the author's poetry which is based on philosophical form from which the freedom can be expressed.

The name of the template is 108. It is a sacred number in Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. From the perspective of The Selden Map one will realize the importance of 108 because it is the latitudinal line of Xian and Lake Baikal.

108 involves number form. The numbers involved express the minimum requirement for an English essay. For example, three paragraphs are needed ie. introductory, body and conclusion. If one doesn't have three paragraphs then it isn't an English essay.

In each paragraph three sentences are required. The introductory paragraph requires a focus statement as the last sentence. The second and third paragraph require a topic sentence. To simplify matters the topic sentence is placed first. There are two support sentences needed for either a paragraph with a focus or topic sentence. If one doesn't have three sentences in a paragraph then it isn't an English paragraph.

The average length of an English sentence is twelve words as estimated by the author. Therefore, each sentence is to have twelve words. This ensures that each sentence has a subject and verb in agreement. When writing sentences each subject must be underlined once and each verb in agreement must be underlined twice with an arrow connecting them.

Numbers are important in 108. Each paragraph has 36 words. Two paragraphs have 72 words. Three paragraphs have 108 words. These are the minimum number of words for an English essay based on this form.

The number 3 is prominent. There are three paragraphs and three sentences per paragraph. This repetition reinforces the importance of three with respect to how an English communicator thinks. In other words, it is teaching Chinese students how to imitate the thought process of native speakers who communicate in English. Normally, Chinese students think in terms of the number 2 or in a binary way.

It is very difficult for a Chinese student to construct each sentence with 12 words--no more or less. It requires discipline. From form is freedom.

Once the student has mastered 108 then he/she can proceed to more complicated forms such as an essay which has a body of two or three paragraphs with sentences of different length in all paragraphs. With a three paragraph body then a focus statement can be developed with three parallel elements which order how the essay is to proceed. Finally, different themes can be learned such as cause/effect, chronological order or analysis. Naturally, twelve themes were taught.

The 108 form might be considered as a way to encourage originality. It is very difficult for students to find material to copy where sentences are exactly 12 words, paragraphs are exactly three sentences and essays are precisely three paragraphs. Those who tried to modify someone else's work to present as their own found that the effort was more onerous than presenting original material.


Poem 27

The Banpo Poetry Series


Overlay on I'mage of the Ages

The Elegant Celestial Giza Series



Courtesy of the Bodleian Library



Courtesy of the Bodleian Library


Courtesy of the Bodleian Library

An attempt will be made to interpret the proposed Sun Moon line at the top of The Selden Map. For illustration purposes the poet has chosen to highlight it within the polar rectangle of A or B. Remember though there is only one polar rectangle and the above overlay is for illustration purposes only.  The yellow Sun Moon line runs from the edge of the Moon on the left to the bottom of the compass rose through the empty rectangles, next through the middle of the Peng and then on to the middle of the Sun. 

One might also consider the stars of the polar or quadrilateral rectangle. If North is at the top then Mizar is above Alioth in the upper corner of the left boundary of the rectangle. These stars are of the Big Dipper. The Moon would correspond to Alioth. On the right boundary of the rectangle are their quadrilateral, corner counterparts or Pherkad and Kolchab respectively. They are part of the Little Dipper. This means that the Sun would correspond to Pherkad in the upper right corner.

It is necessary to discuss the ruler. The right end of the ruler goes through the polar rectangle. Traditionally, the area within the polar rectangle is considered to be a void. The ruler then touches the southeast corner of the void rectangles. Its end meets the East Sea boundary.

One important aspect of the Sun Moon line is its angle in relation to the angle of the ruler. The Sun Moon line parallels the ruler. This increases the likelihood that there is a relation between the line and ruler.

For your information the possibility of an eclipse has been investigated as it pertains to the full eclipse of the Sun on December 15, 1610; however, it has been dismissed because this type of eclipse can only come about with a new Moon. The Moon on the map is a full moon. It is unfortunate because this might have been an avenue to date the map.

One might say confidently that the Moon is setting and the Sun is rising. In other words, the Kun is descending and the Peng is rising. This may be interpreted in different ways. Generally, one might say that the land silk route established in the Han Dynasty is declining and the maritime silk route in the Ming Dynasty is inclining. To put it another way the former is closing and the latter is opening.

Trade though is just one part of a  healthy dynasty. The most obvious sign of a decline in the Ming Dynasty was when Emperor Wanli did nothing because of succession issues. One cannot help contrasting it with the succession problems during the reign of Elizabeth I. The queen managed to keep suitors at bay and basically thought of herself as married to England. It was a Golden Age building the foundation for an empire.



The reader is probably not familiar with a device called the hsuan-chi (Needham, v.3, p337). The poet happened to purchase this jade device at an antique shop in Beijing. It is a circumpolar constellation template. It is mounted on a tsung or heng (sighting tube).

Along the edges are three, anthro-zoomorphic motifs known as Taotie (饕餮). It is debated whether the Taotie motif represents god and beast or a single god with two roles of god and beast or possibly both simultaneously (Didier, v.2, p57) "The double sets of eyes... are suggested by the same four stars that constitute the rectangular mouth, which, as we know, are Kochab, Alioth, Pherkad, and Mizar (Didier, p60). The Ming scholar Yang Shen (1488-1559) said that the Taotie likes to eat and drink.

The three Taotie figures are at the corners of three sets of rectangles which are comprised of three rows each containing three rectangles for a total of nine rectangles in each set. One set of rectangles has four criss-cross rectangles with a fifth at the center. The other set of rectangles has four empty with a criss-cross net in the center.

The poet interprets the criss-cross symbols to be abstract representations of fish-nets. The symbols of fish nets and fish often appear on Banpo Pottery of Yangshao culture near Xian. The poet interprets the nets to mean that the Taotie in stylized form is capturing the fish in the abstract form of a net and consuming them. The empty rectangles represent the void. However, there is one more fish net than void rectangles and the fish net is in the critical location of the center.

There are perhaps nine rings around the center hole of the hsuan-chi depending on how one counts them. The most elaborate, inner ring is composed of three, ungulate horns of the Taotie interspersed with three elogated fish nets. It is almost as if the smaller, outer fish nets around the outside edge of the disk are capturing smaller fish while the three, inner larger nets are capturing larger fish. It is clear that nothing escapes the mouth of the Taotie.

The true celestial pole called cheng chi is in the center of the hsuan-chi. The template shows the rotation of Beta Ursae around it at four excursions on summer and winter solstice forming a rough square around the polar point. It should be noted that the Han Pole star was abandoned and Alpha Ursae Minoris (Polaris) adopted at the end of the Ming.

Professor Brook has written articulately about the ruler on The Selden Map. With respect to space he argues that the ruler beneath the compass rose may be of Hong Kong measurement of 14.7 inches. This may explain why "The map has been drawn to a scale of about 1:4,750,000." Interestingly, he puts forth the argument that the ruler also has a temporal aspect with regard to sailing times wherein one inch on the ruler corresponds to a day's sailing.

However, the ruler may have a more fundamental, temporal aspect as yet unexplored which may impact sailing times. The ruler's length may match the time from a full Moon to a dark Moon (new Moon) in terms of days or 14.7 days. The poet does not believe this to be a mere coincidence, but rather reflects phases of the Moon. If the length of the ruler is doubled then a full cycle is completed in 29.4 days. What this means is that on A (overlay) if one measures the length from the full Moon on The Selden Map to Quanzhou and then continues to the intersection of the East and South Sea then one needs two ruler's length which would be 29.4 days. At the middle of the eight-point, starred rectangle is a dark Moon which may have correspondence to the middle of the empty rectangles.

Keep in mind that the poet became aware of phases of the Moon images in Kun with respect to overlapping, face images. He saw these as waxing and waning of the Moon. In addition, there is a white image of a whale descending.

The Kun is right above the image of the Moon. In other words, the full Moon is beginning its descent. It will continue on until a full cycle is completed with another full Moon.



Courtesy of the Bodleian Library

The overlay called D on The Selden Map illustrates other matters which are sublime, ridiculous or somewhere in between according to the tastes of the reader as arbiter. As a hint though the poet will draw the reader's attention to the location of Beijing where the emperor rules. The 14.7 inch ruler can be seen in the background and the image of the Emperor is also outlined as he blows the wind.

Before one jumps to the conclusion that Beijing is not at the cross hairs of an approximate square then one might want to consider that the earthly is opposite to the heavenly which Jude the Obscure would recognize. One will also not want to miss the length of the X lines that cross close to Beijing. The contrast between the Yanran Square and the empty rectangles is also evident and obvious. That's about the least that can be said.


Thin, yellow, tracer lines have been added to show how the dimensions of certain symbols were defined.

Courtesy of the Bodleian Library

Let's not though become so obscure as the Moon behind the clouds on The Selden Map or as abstruse as a riddle wrapped in an enigma. Rather, let's tell how it relates to you. The old full Moon with Sun set is an allusion to your ancestors. The full Moon which is beginning to wane with Sun rising above represents your parents. In the line between them at the center is the dark or new Moon which is you.

In the Kun one finds a similar line of three generations. There is the ancestral descending to the bottom which corresponds to the errant knight or the old Moon with Sun set. He is a maternal great grandfather of John Selden's mother who is a descendant. On the other end is the new Moon representing the Sun-Moon of his parents. John Selden's father was also named John Selden. The Moon is apparently setting in the West as his mother's side is declining, but the Sun is seemingly rising in the East as John Selden's father's prospects are increasing. The future, jurist John Selden represents the dark or new Moon in the center.

D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi


Kun II