11 responses to “Fingers and Thumbs”

  1. Steve (Syz) says:

    So are the DIP and PIP joints on the middle and ring fingers not counted? Seems like that way we could take our counting hexadecimal!

    • Sima says:

      Trust you to have all the lingo down.
      Yes, you could indeed count hexadecimal this way, though it would rather spoil the circle.

      • Steve (Syz) says:

        now that’s embarrassing — I was reading 1-12 from left to right, top to bottom. It seems a little more sensible as a circle.

        • Katie says:

          I did the same thing if it makes you feel any better. System makes more sense now. :) I haven’t come across it before either. What’s it all about? (Besides counting to 12 of course.)

        • Sima says:

          Just to be clear, this works anti-clockwise. You start at the base of the forefinger (bottom right pic), and move upwards, reaching ‘twelve’ at the base of the middle finger.

          • Steve (Syz) says:

            oh, so you read this bottom to top, right to left. Of course. 😉

          • Sima says:

            I was a little hasty to put this up and make claims about the direction in which you count. I’m still looking into exactly how you count like this, but it seems that I got it wrong from beginning to end. The beginning being that one uses the left hand, not the right…

          • Steve (Syz) says:

            What??? Making your lovely hand modeling obsolete?

            Hey, maybe you can just reverse the images…

          • Sima says:

            The images will indeed need to be reversed. And the starting point is at the base of the ring finger (on the left hand). Otherwise, all good!

  2. Steve (Syz) says:

    I forgot to ask the obvious question: Is this a relatively common Chinese counting method that I’ve simply never come across, or is it something more esoteric?

  3. Sima says:

    Steve, Katie, I’ve no idea whether it’s widely used or not, that’s why I’ve put it up. I’d be very interested to know whether anyone else has/does come across it. I suspect it’s more likely to be known by older people.
    It was shown to me as a simple counting, or memorisation, method, but it was added that one might use it for the twelve animal years or for Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches 天干地支.

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