主 办:北 京 中 医 药 大 学
ISSN 1006-2157 CN 11-3574/R

JOURNAL OF BEIJIGN UNIVERSITY OF TRADITIONAL CHINE ›› 2016, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (9): 709-713.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1006-2157.2016.09.001

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On the origin, development and evolution of five-phase theory*

YAN Long, HE Juan#   

  1. School of Preclinical Medicine,Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029
  • Received:2015-12-16 Online:2016-09-30 Published:2016-09-30

Abstract: The theory of five phases is an essential component of philosophic theories in ancient China. However, the contemporary scholars have different views on the origin and the essence of this theory. Based on analysis of ancient literature,the following points of view are proposed. The ancient’s worship of the digit "five" was the basis of formation of five-phase. Formed in the Shang Dynasty late and early Zhou Dynasty,the concept of five phases came from the characteristics of five basic materials in life. Formed in the Western Zhou Dynasty, the viewpoint of restriction in the five phases was derived from the observations of the relationship between the five materials. In the Spring and Autumn Period, the restriction in the five phases was applied to political, military and other fields, and the uncertain restriction in the five phases was discovered.The concept of generation in the five phases which originated in the alternation of seasons was formed in the Warring States Period. It was the production of combination of four-season doctrine and five-material doctrine. Five-phase theory matured during the Warring States Period. The combination of generation and restriction in the five phases completed five-phase theory. Five-phase theory reached its peak in the Han Dynasty. The over-restriction and counter-restriction of five phases were proposed as the improvement of five-phase theory.

Key words: five phases, five materials, four seasons, generation in the five phases, restriction in the five phases

CLC Number: 

  • R226