Eight Trigrams

Each of the eight trigrams consists of three lines and each line is either divided (- -) or undivided (—), representing yin or yang respectively. The eight trigrams are: qian (☰), kun (☷), zhen (☳), xun (☴), kan (☵), li (☲), gen (☶), and dui (☱). According to the ancient Chinese, the eight trigrams symbolized basic things and phenomena of nature or society and represented heaven, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain, and lake respectively. The ancient Chinese also used the interchanges and transformations of the eight trigrams and what they represented to understand and expound on natural and social changes and to explain why and how they took place.

When Fuxi was the ruler under heaven, he looked up into the sky to observe celestial phenomena and looked down on the land to observe geographical features and examine the images of birds, animals, and all other things that existed on earth. He selected symbols from the human body close by and from various objects far away, and then invented the eight trigrams to explain the miraculous nature and distinguish the states of all things.