Five Elements Feng Shui

 Patti Farley

Certificate of Higher Diploma, FSRC, Certified by Master Joseph Yu

 

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History of Feng Shui

Classical Feng Shui began as an interplay of construction and astronomy. Early Yangshao houses at Banpo were oriented to catch the mid-afternoon winter sun at its warmest, just after the solstice. (Some tribes in southern China still refer to this month as "House-building Month.")

Professor David Pankenier and his associates performed retrospective computation on the Chinese sky at the time of the Banpo dwellings (4000 BCE) to show that the asterism Yingshi (Lay out the Hall, in the Warring States period and early Han era) corresponded to the sun's location at this time. Several hundred years earlier the asterism Yingshi was known as Ding. It was used to indicate the appropriate time to build a capital city, according to the Shijing.

The grave at Puyang (4,000 BCE) that contains mosaics of the Dragon and Tiger constellations and Beidou (Big Dipper) is similarly oriented with cosmological accuracy along a north-south axis.

The tombs of Shang kings and their consorts at Xiaotun lie on a north-south axis, ten degrees east of due north. The Shang palaces at Erlitou are also on a north-south axis, slightly west of true north. These orientations were obtained by astronomy, not by magnetic compass.

All capital cities of China followed rules of Feng Shui for their design and layout. These rules were codified during the Zhou era in the Kaogong ji (Manual of Crafts). Rules for builders were codified in the Lu ban jing (Carpenter's Manual). Graves and tombs also followed rules of Feng Shui. From the earliest records, it seems that the rules for these structures were developed from rules for dwellings.

The oldest known Feng Shui device consists of a two-sided board with astronomical sightlines. Liuren astrolabes have been unearthed from Chin-era tombs at Wangjiatai and Zhoujitai. These devices date between 278 BCE and 209 BCE. Today Feng Shui practitioners can select from three types of Luopan or Feng Shui compasses: San He (the so-called "form school," although the compass name means "Triple Combination"), San Yuan (the so-called "compass school," although the compass name actually refers to time), and the Zong He that combines the other two.


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Last modified: 03/02/08

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