Professor DREW HOPKINS
ASIA 31304 HJ (2554)
20 November, 2012
WIND&WATER: FENGSHUI IN THEORY&PRACTICE
Fengshui 風水 is a Chinese system of geomancy believed to use the laws of both Heaven and Earth to help one improve life by receiving positive qi. Qi is an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as life energy, life force, or energy flow. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. The literal translation of "qi" is breath, air, or gas. The term fengshui 風水 literally translates as "wind-water" in English. Fengshui 風水 was widely used to orient buildings often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of fengshui 風水 being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Fengshui 風水 was suppressed in China during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity. Currently the Yangshao and Hongshan cultures provide the earliest evidence for the origin of fengshui 風水. Fengshui 風水 relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. Cosmography that bears a striking resemblance to modern fengshui 風水 devices and formulas was found on a jade unearthed at Hanshan and dated around 3000 BC. An example of cosmography is a grave at Puyang contains mosaics, a Chinese star map of the Dragon and Tiger asterisms and Beidou oriented along a north south axis. The presence of both round and square shapes in the Puyang tomb, suggests that cosmography was present in Chinese society. Beginning with palatial structures all capital cities of China followed rules of fengshui 風水 for their design and layout. These rules were codified during the Zhou era in the Kaogong ji. Rules for builders were codified in the carpenter's manual Lu ban jing. Graves and tombs also followed rules of fengshui 風水, from Puyang to Mawangdui and beyond. From the earliest records, it seems that the rules for the structures of the graves and dwellings were the same. The history of fengshui 風水 covers 3,500 plus years before the invention of the magnetic compass. It originated in Chinese astronomy. Some current techniques can be traced to Neolithic China, while others were added later. The Chinese used circumpolar stars to determine the north south axis of settlements. They bisected the angle between the directions of the rising and setting sun to find north. This technique provided the more precise alignments of the Shang walls at Yanshi and Zhengzhou. Rituals for using a fengshui 風水 instrument required a diviner to examine current sky phenomena to set the device and adjust their position in relation to the device. It was the first task for a Fengshui 風水 master to select a site that would protect from harsh winds, because Qi can be scattered by wind. Also, water was needed in order to retain Qi. A good site is needed to ensure the thriving of people. Before a land can be proclaimed fit for people to settle, people use Fengshui 風水 to establish the health of the environmental surroundings as well as health and fertility of the soil itself. The people must ensure healthy waters. Fengshui 風水 seeks a landscape wellbeing. It tells if the spot is a good place to settle down and start a family. In Fengshui 風水 a landscape needs to have good soil to farm, water nearby to drink, clean , and use and must be somewhere with wind levels in the middle meaning not too much wind or too little wind. For a site to be an ideal site it needs to follow four steps. First, a good site should be open to one side, so as for it to receive Qi. This means that a site needs to be covered by land or hills all around except for one side which becomes the entrance. The other sides are covered by trees, hills or mountain walls. Second, a good site must have water to...