Helena Wee

Box of Changes

The I Ching, or “Book of Changes” is an ancient Chinese divination text. A system of sixty-four hexagrams are produced from eight basic trigrams. Each of these trigrams are made up of long lines or short lines, and relate to the environment (heaven, earth, lake, mountain) or the elements (fire, water, thunder, wind). Combining two trigrams creates a hexagram.

The system of long and broken lines has a similarity to binary codes used by all computers to perform calculations. An octagonal wooden box displays eight I Ching trigrams. To request a reading a person would choose a trigram by touching the corresponding copper square. This would make it and another trigram light up. The box gauges the environment at time of contact. A full hexagram would then be created. Using the wooden chart, a reading is obtained.