Yin Yang Ring – Size 8
Yin Yang Ring
- Yin Yang Ring – Symbol .25″
Yin Yang Symbol
A taijitu (simplified Chinese: 太极图; traditional Chinese: 太極圖; pinyin: tàijítú; Wade–Giles: t’ai⁴chi²t’u²) is a symbol or diagram (图 tú) in Chinese philosophy representing Taiji (太极 tàijí “great pole” or “supreme ultimate”) in both its monist (wuji) and its dualist (yin and yang) aspects. Such a diagram was first introduced by Song Dynasty philosopher Zhou Dunyi (周敦頤 1017–1073) in his Taijitu shuo 太極圖說.
The modern Taoist canon, compiled during the Ming era, has at least half a dozen variants of such taijitu. The two most similar are the “Taiji Primal Heaven” (太極先天圖 tàijí xiāntiān tú) and the “wuji” (無極圖 wújí tú) diagrams, both of which have been extensively studied during the Qing period for their possible connection with Zhou Dunyi’s taijitu.
Ming period author Lai Zhide (1525–1604) simplified the taijitu to a design of two interlocking spirals. In the Ming era, the combination of the two interlocking spirals of the taijitu with two black-and-white dots superimposed on them became identified with the He tu or “Yellow River diagram” (河圖). This version was reported in Western literature of the late 19th century as the “Great Monad”, and has been widely popularised in Western popular culture as the “yin-yang symbol” since the 1960s. The contemporary Chinese term for the modern symbol is 太极兩儀图 “two-part Taiji diagram”.
Ornamental patterns with visual similarity to the “yin-yang symbol” are found in archaeological artefacts of European prehistory; such designs are sometimes descriptively dubbed “yin yang symbols” in archaeological literature by modern scholars.
Modern yin-yang symbol
The Ming-era design of the taijitu of two interlocking spirals has been reported as “yin-yang symbol” in the first half of the 20th century. The flag of South Korea, originally introduced as the flag of Joseon era Korea in 1882, shows this symbol in red and blue. This was a modernisation of the older (early 19th century) form of the Bat Quai Do used as the Joseon royal standard.
Since the 1960s, “yin-yang symbol” is most widely applied to the He tu symbol which combines the two interlocking spirals with two dots. In the standard form of the contemporary “yin-yang symbol”, one draws on the diameter of a circle two non-overlapping circles each of which has a diameter equal to the radius of the outer circle. One keeps the line that forms an “S”, and one erases or obscures the other line. The design is also described[according to whom?][year needed] “pair of fishes nestling head to tail against each other”.
The Soyombo symbol of Mongolia may be prior to 1686. It combines several abstract shapes, including a Taiji symbol illustrating the mutual complement of man and woman. In socialist times, it was alternatively interpreted as two fish symbolizing vigilance, because fish never close their eyes.
The modern symbol has also been widely used in martial arts, particularly t’ai chi ch’uan (Taijiquan), and Jeet Kune Do, since the 1970s. In this context, it is generally used to represent the interplay between hard and soft techniques.
The dots in the modern “yin-yang symbol” have been given the additional interpretation of “intense interaction” between the complementary principles. [21