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Yuan Dynasty
Double Six Magic Square

This iron plate is inscribed with Arabic numbers in a six by six grid. It was excavated from the palace of Prince Anxi in the eastern suburbs of Xi'an. Such plates were buried in the corner of the foundation to ward off evil spirits. The belief in the magical properties of numbers is one of those beliefs that crops up in many cultures. The belief in the good and bad properties of certain numbers had been well seated before this import from the Western worlds in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 1368). The plate is translated on the next page.

During the Northern Song Dynasty, Xi'an was known as Jingzhaofu. Its name was changed to Fengyuan in 1273 under the Yuan Dynasty. In 1275 Prince Anxi, who was a Mongolian prince, built a palace city near Xi'an. It was called Dawang Dian in Chinese and Gan Erduo in Mongolian. Today, it is referred to as Anxi.

China Index >> Shaanxi History Museum >> Yuan Dynasty

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Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010