Geomantic compass, Chinese.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Wooden geomantic compass and perpetual calendar, in the form of bands of concentric rings arranged around a magnetic needle. Geomancy is the art of siting buildings auspiciously. The Chinese geomantic system is known as feng shui. In Chinese thought, feng shui is a system of good and evil influences in the natural surroundings, taken into consideration when designing and siting buildings. Wooden compasses such as this one were used to determine the most healthy position to build a house. The location for building would be chosen so the forces of Yin and Yang were balanced correctly, reducing the chances of illness.