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4. Diagrams as an architecture by means of words: The Yanji Tu

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Chapter Summary

This chapter mainly focuses on Wang Bo's (1197-1274) Yanji tu ("Diagrams on the Fathoming of Initial Stages"), but it also touches on a few other authors, such as Li Yuangang (fl. ca. 1172, author of the Shengmen shiye tu), and Xu Qian (1270-1337, author of the Du Sishu congshuo, both BBCS ed.). Despite the fact that all of these authors and even some of their diagrams have been studied extensively, relatively few research has been dedicated to the formal aspects, interpretive strategies and implications of their diagrams. The chapter first undertakes an inquiry into possible predecessors and models of the particular kind of tu. Secondly, a discussion of the possibilities diagrams is offered for the interpretation of texts in contrast to linear argumentation. Finally, some considerations on diagrams in comparative perspective are provided.

Keywords: Li Yuangang; Shengmen shiye tu; Wang Bo; Xu Qian; Yanji tu



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