Archaeological site located in Changsha, China. In 1972, a tomb library was discovered there, which contains, among other things, a copy of the I Ching, which is much older than the textus receptus known so far and deviates from it by about 25 %.
If one compares the content of the I Ching from the tomb library of Mawangdui with the Textus receptus, several factors are important: First of all, the Chinese language has the peculiarity that spoken text is ambiguous when heard. If, however, it is written down and is to be interpreted, then on the one hand the figurative expressiveness of the character itself, and on the other hand also the associative ambiguities and variations in meaning that arise during pronunciation must be taken into account; this procedure, however, presupposes that information is available on the various levels of meaning of individual characters at the time of writing, including the historical-political background. For the grave finds of Mawangdui, this means that in order to understand the texts, both the historical context, the historic conditions in the Changsha area, and the personal circumstances of the buried person and his family must be taken into account. Furthermore, it is important to know that the I Ching, as a manual for divination, was mostly consulted in political or governmental matters, from which it follows that the I Ching from the Mawangdui tomb library could also have served as a political mouthpiece. (Cf. Hertzer 67-70.)
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