Geomantic feng shui compas, Chinese.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

Geomantic feng shui compas, Chinese.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Geomancy is the art of siting builidings 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, which is taken into consideration when designing and siting buildings. Geomantic compases consist of bands of concentric rings arranged around a magnetic needle. The most important of these, the 24 directions ring (third from the centre), is used to determine the facing direction of a site. These compases were used to find the most healthy position to build a house, so that the forces of Yin and Yang were balanced correctly, reducing the chance of illnes. This one is made of wood.

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