I Ching Box

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Mary Malone's I Ching Box


An open rectangular box with a bundle of sticks and folded paper


This object featured in the BBC/HBO television show His Dark Materials, Series 2, based on the original novel The Subtle Knife, which is part of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman. The character Dr Mary Malone is a courageous visionary investigating how Dark Matter affects consciousness in our present day Oxford.

On loan from the production company, Bad Wolf.


You're telling me that when people consult the I Ching, they're getting in touch with Shadow-particles? With dark matter? 
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman


I Ching is an ancient Chinese divination text, used in a practice where bundles of yarrow sticks are used to produce numbers which are then interpreted.  

To coincide with these film objects going on display, the museum is running schools sessions linked to His Dark Materials. These encourage students to reflect on the literary themes and characters in Philip Pullman's novels alongside usual interactions with the collections in the Museum and thinking about the many worlds represented through objects within the displays.


The idea of Dust and Dark Matter being the same thing creates very interesting ideas within the story of His Dark Materials. Dark Matter is something that we already know is essential to how our current universe works but it is still very mysterious as it is nearly impossible to detect.
George, Physics student, Y12, Oxford Spires Academy


Dr Mary Malone is a courageous visionary investigating how Dark Matter affects human consciousness.
Audrey, Year 12, The Cherwell School