f?.  ZODIAC FOLIOS: CAPRICORN AND AQUARIUS

 

I anticipate that the missing folio f74 depicts Capricorn and Aquarius to complete the year.  The Capricorn folio is assigned to the month of December and the events for this month are shown below.

December

13th
13th
16th
21st
27th

Saturn at quadrature

Earth at Perihelion

Winter Solstice

Venus greatest elongation west.

Mercury greatest elongation east

 

The Aquarius folio is assigned to the month of January and the events for this month are shown below.

 

January

1st
30th
 

New Moon

2nd new Moon after Winter Solstice = New year?

 

Aquarius (January) in the year 1055 AD would have covered the end of the year and the start of the New year as it contained two New Moons, the New year starting on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice (standard formula for calculating the Chinese New Year for 2000 years) in December (Capricorn).

  

1054 AD

1055 AD

December

January

January

16th

1st

30th

Winter Solstice

New Moon

New Moon =New Year?

 

 

Saturn at quadrature in Capricorn would indicate the presence of a male nymph.  Earth at Perihelion would probably be depicted in a similar way (undetermined) to the Earth at Aphelion in Cancer.  This although undetermined is of interest because it is one of the few times the Earth may be depicted as a nymph.  The Winter Solstice as in Cancer would be expected to be depicted by a crowned nymph, but this being a major even in the Chinese calendar I would expect the crown to be more elaborate than the one in Cancer, not only this but it is also the beginning of the Chinese Solar year and some kind of solar imagery may be associated with the crown.  The Winter Solstice is called Dōng Zh, "The Extreme of Winter." in China, it sets the timing of the Luna calendar (always required to fall in month 11 and the timing of the New Year) but also the solar calendar which is necessary to aid with farming (the Luna calendar does not follow the seasons in a useful way for planting and harvesting).  The position of the Sun along the ecliptic is divided into 24 markers based around the Solstices and Equinoxes and so the Winter Solstice is the most important point out of all the astronomical features of the year and Capricorn is likely to display this importance, possibly having 24 main folio markers around the outer circle.   Another two markers would probably align the Sun with the NCP and NEP and indicate a supernovae, possibly SN 5 BC?  As in Virgo the greatest elongation of Venus may be depicted by a female nymph, but in a plain barrel signifying dawn rather than a tub.  Mercury may be shown as a male or female nymph in a barrel with dotted line signifying dusk.  These two planets are particularly well placed for observation this month.  No "Conjunction Nymphs" would be expected to be present.

 

The main feature of Capricorn is that it may be shown with a star being held by the central "Sea goat" figure, representing the position of SN 5 BC?  Given its implications and the fact that this is one of the folios that was deliberately removed it is likely to be more elaborate and distinctive than the other stars held by central figures, singling it out for attention, and have religious symbolism found with it.

 

Aquarius would probably contains the same New Year features as shown in Pisces, possibly with horizontal barrels and nymphs emerging from them (undetermined).  Capricorn likewise probably shows nymphs in barrels if this is a feature of winter.  The two nymphs at the top of the Sagittarius circles standing in front of barrels which may depict a solar eclipse may alternatively be the start of this process of nymphs being depicted in barrels in winter, in which case Capricorn, and particularly Aquarius, would show the majority if not all the nymphs in barrels increasingly shown with patterned barrels.  

 

Apart from various conjunctions of stars and planets with the Moon, there are no outstanding astronomical events in this month, the only significant events involving Uranus which is not one of the five classical planets and not "officially" discovered until 1781 (Although John Flamsteed catalogued it as 34 Tauri in 1690).   The Aquarius folio may therefore be immersed mainly in Lunar astronomy and the calculation of the year cycles, and the nymph suggested to represent the lunar New Year in Pisces may figure heavily in the imagery on this folio, along with "Conjunction Nymphs".  Other subject may may include star cycles such as the appearance of Sirius at sunset, or Arcturus, Spica, Vega and Altair in the dawn sky.  Also Taurus, the Pleiades and SN 1054 high in the night sky.

 

Following on from the "Barrels" section I have suggested that Capricorn and Aquarius would be shown with complete circles of nymphs, Capricorn with one reflecting the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year or three if the third circle reflects a major solar event, and Aquarius with two - the default value.  Both may show nymphs in barrels lying on their side starting from the middle of the Capricorn circle of nymphs, possibly related to the solar year and indicating the start of a Solar New Year.

 

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Copyright 2010 P. Han