Feng Shui

When building houses in China, principles of Feng shui is often considered. Feng shui is a very old Chinese practice believed to utilize the Laws of both heaven (astronomy) and earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive Qi.

The words ‘Feng shui’ literally translate as “wind-water” in English. Most of today’s Feng shui schools teach that it is the practice of arranging objects (such as the placement of furniture) to help people achieve harmony with their environment. It is also used for choosing a place to live, plotting a burial site, and agricultural planning.

Early feng shui relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. Chinese often used the celestial poles determined by the pole stars to determine the north-south axis of settlements. According to some scholars they also bisected the angle between the directions of the rising and setting sun to find north. This technique provided the more precise alignments for buildings

The goal of Feng shui as practiced today is to situate the human built environment on spots with good qi. The “perfect spot” is a location and an axis in time. Some areas are not suitable for human settlement and should be left in their natural state. Today, to determine a perfect spot, local manifestations of qi must be assessed for quality. Quality is determined by observations and by using a Luo pan. Pangu Plaza in the picture above is built completely according to Feng shui, as many of the skyscrapers in China are.

The word Qi (ch’i) means literally “air”, in Feng shui, it means “flow of energy” and is used to mean natural energy. To determine the direction of the flow of Qi a Lou pan is used. A Lou pan is a Chinese Compass; it is used in Feng shui to determine the direction of the house. The basic function of loupan is similar to a compass as a direction pointer. In most design, it sits on a wooden base known as the earth plate. The used of a Loupan is to provide precise direction of the house. The compass reflects local geomagnetism both geomagnetic induced currents and that what is caused by space weather. It could be said that Feng shui assesses the quality of the local environment and the effects of space weather.


Old Lou pan compasses, like above, can be found in antique markets such as Beijing Antique City or newly made ones at flea markets all around in Beijing.

Beijing Antique City (former Beijing Curio City) is a four-story building. It is located just to the west of Huawei Bridge on the east-south third ring road, about 300 meters south of Panjiayuan Flee Market. It is the largest Chinese antique trade center in Asia. Beijing antique city has more than 600 dealers, mainly selling the classical furniture and different kinds of antiquities and of course many different antique Lou pan compasses.

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