Qíbó (歧伯)

this is the name of the Yellow Emperor’s primary interlocutor in the dialogues of Nèijīng. Most translators choose to leave it untranslated (in pinyin) as a proper name. Yet, among all possible names, the authors of Língshū and Sùwèn chose Qíbó (歧伯). When is a name not just a name, and what might this name suggest? I’ve chosen to render the names of the noble advisors and teachers who participate with the Yellow Emperor in these dialogues one time in each chapter into English, for readers who are not literate in classical Chinese. Then, these proper names will be left in pinyin, as is typical in other translations. How much significance should one place on these names? Who knows? How much significance do we put on the many suggestive names used in western literature?

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