Liu Ji - the chinese Nostradamus

This is a joint study of the prophecies attributed to Liu Bowen in circulation in Taiwan during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Liu Bowen was the courtesy name of Liu Ji, an eminent adviser to the Ming dynasty founder Zhu Yuanzhang (Ming Taizu, r. 1368- 1398). Since the late seventeenth century during the Ming-Qing transition, however, under the name of Liu Bowen, Liu Ji has been systematically mythologized as a legendary figure, becoming known as a clairvoyant prognosticator and an ingenious builder of imperial cities in modern times.

Liu Ji (1311-1375), the Chinese military commander and adviser to the first emperor Ming, ZhuYuanzhang is known to historians for his famous treatise on the use of gunpowder in firearms (Huolongjing). Less known is his works on astronomy, magnetism, feng shui, and other topics "supernatural" that Liu Ji approached them. In the latter category, he wrote a fascinating book, "Shaobing ge" (Baked Cake Ballad), a collection of prophecies of future events.
Its projections are shrouded in mystery, it was used as an abstract and allusive language. However, they seem to be amazingly accurate in predicting future events (such as the arrival of Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Chinese Republic in 1911). These prophecies were compared with those of the famous Nostradamus, although 200 years earlier than that predicted Frenchman.

In addition to a profusion of prophecies attributed to him during periods of social and political crises, he is best known as the author of a prophecy book prophesying the events of China during the last six hundred years with incredible accuracy and proposing means of salvation.

The earliest edition of Shaobing ge which the authors have seen or in their possession was printed in the late Guangxu period (1875-1908) but it was probably based on much earlier cruder manuscripts. The book has been well received in Taiwan since that time. The second part examines Taiwanese publications under Japanese colonial rule attesting to the popularity of Liu Bowen's alleged prophecies. The first source was discussions on the origin of the Shaobing ge and its purposes by Taiwanese scholars published in the Sino-Japanese Taiwan daily newspaper Taiwan Riri Xinbao, dated November 20 and December 3, 1898, the thirty-first year of Meiji. There one commentator suggested that the author of Shaobing ge may have been an adviser to the leaders of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the mid-nineteenth century, and pointed out that several individual prophecies later collected in the Shaobing ge were already well known in Taiwan at that time. Another Taiwanese publication gives information that Liu Bowen had been adulated by the local people as a deity of salvation and the Shaobing ge had been cited by ringleaders of the anti-Japanese Taiwanese uprising in Tainan in 1915 to presage victory. The third part of the paper examines the worship and distribution of Liu Bowen's alleged prophecies known as Liu Bowen chen or Liu Bowen xiansheng xianchu jiujiebei wen by a group of followers of the banned sectarian organization known as Yiguan Sect in the city of Gaoxiong in southern Taiwan in the 1960s. It reproduces the recently declassified police records of the Guomindang Government on these episodes with an analysis of the contents of the prophecies and the motives of the worshippers. It shows that the worshippers harbored no political agenda but aspired to blessings from Liu Bowen for a healthy and happy life.


Basing its calculations on the cycles period of 50 years, the Chinese Nostradamus prophesied that 50-year period, 1860-1910, would be as follows:
"Powerful nations will seek to subjugate the weak, while the oppressed nations and people will rise to fight to get rid of their leaders devoid of character. People in China also will shake and revolt against their foreign rulers from the northern borders of the state. China will be weak and divided and suffer because of those conflicts and other disasters. "
In a magazine, a person who has studied the prophecies wrote the following:
"In more specific terms, Liu Ji stressed that his people will be part of large floods in pig years (1873), Serpent (1887) and goat (1893) and in 1911, another year-pig. He indicated that in the 24 years since the flood largest country will face great difficulties and dangers, and "The wise man in the name of the Moon" will appear to lead the destiny of the country. "The wise man in the name of the Moon" is the name of the birth of Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China (...) China Taiping Rebellion was weakened by the actions and revolutionaries, since 1860. The flood occurred in 1877, the year of the pig. There were wars with France, England, and Japan in 1865, 1884 and 1895 each, bringing humiliation and loss of territory to the Manchu dynasty. The final crisis occurred in 1911 when the Chinese revolution broke out to overthrow the Manchu dynasty, exactly 24 years after the great flood of the Yellow River. Other important historical events of this period of 50 years, were: Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905; Japanese conquest of Korea din1911, Spanish-American War of 1898-1899 and the annexation of French Indochina din1883 ".
Can it be called the prophet as "the Chinese Nostradamus"? Some think so. Others, on the contrary, argue that, while Liu Ji was really an important figure in China century XIV, much of "Shaobing ge" was written hundreds of years later, after many of the events it "predicted" occurred already being fraudulently awarded to Liu Ji.

In 1368, after eight years of Liu's service, Zhu Yuanzhang unified China. When Zhu founded the Ming dynasty and became historically known as the Hongwu Emperor, Liu was one of his most trusted advisors, but the relationship between Liu and the emperor eventually deteriorated in a manner similar to the way that Liu had become estranged from the Yuan government. In 1375, Liu rejected a man, Hu Weiyong, for appointment to high office. Hu Weiyong later obtained an audience with the Hongwu Emperor and slandered Liu by telling the emperor that Liu was plotting to establish his own power. After convincing the emperor of Liu's treachery, Liu was ejected from office, and Hu Weiyong was promoted.

The shock and shame of being groundlessly dismissed from office destroyed Liu's health, and he quickly died. Within five years of Liu's death, the man who had slandered Liu to achieve office was himself
suspected of plotting against the Hongwu Emperor. In the subsequent orgy of the emperor's paranoid efforts to root out the conspiracy, 30-40,000 people were executed.

The precise cause of Liu's death is considered uncertain by modern scholars. Some scholars believe that Liu was poisoned by the Hongwu Emperor himself, not because Liu failed his duty, but because the emperor was envious and even fearful of his knowledge and influence. Other sources have pointed out that the Hongwu Emperor did kill many people shortly after Liu lost his official position, but they are uncertain about whether Liu was part of this group.

                                                              photo credit: google.com

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