The Document on Rain (Yushu 雨書): Weather and Prognostication in Early China

In: International Journal of Divination and Prognostication
Rebecca Robinson Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong, S.A.R.

Search for other papers by Rebecca Robinson in
Current site
Google Scholar
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



The Document on Rain (Yushu 雨書) is a short manuscript that forms part of the Beijing University collection of Han slips. This text, divided into two sections, has thus far garnered little scholarly attention. However, it presents to us an unusual example of a daybook (rishu 日書)-type manuscript, one which is primarily concerned with the weather. The Document on Rain, while sharing many characteristics of excavated daybooks, is unusual in its treatment of humans. Rather than providing advice on whether or not one should undertake activity on a certain day or engaging in the discourse about whether or not humans can manipulate the weather, the Document on Rain represents an understanding of the weather as a phenomenon that cannot be manipulated by humans, but one which can, perhaps, be understood. The Document on Rain integrates practices of prognostication based on calendrical and sexagenary cycles with theories about rain and its relationship to the symbolic characteristics of the twenty-eight lodges (ershiba xiu 二十八宿). This article analyses some of the predictive methods in the text and situates it within a longer tradition of meteoromantic practices.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 149 97 5
Full Text Views 7 7 1
PDF Views & Downloads 11 10 3