Fengshui, or geomancy, is a kind of traditional Chinese practice of determining the location of a house, tomb, or other items that are believed to have a vital bearing on the fortunes of a family, owner, or user. With a long history and tradition, fengshui originated from theories of yin-yang and the five elements.
Various comments and disputes abound about the topic of fengshui with some considering it an integrated science, combining longtime perceptions of the environment, geography, and health, while some believe it is nothing more than just superstition, hindering Chinese innovation in construction and interior design.
The word fengshui first appeared in a book by Guo Pu during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), but its fundamental basis and core thoughts originated from Yijing. At the beginning, fengshui was a kind of practical and simple skill in choosing the residential locations. Later, with the spread of systematic thought of the philosophy of the "harmony between man and nature," and the continuous enrichment and increasing influence of Yijing in social life, fengshui also began to incorporate a grand theoretical system, and accumulated rich experience. It largely influenced and altered the living environments and lifestyles of Chinese people.
There are three major factors in fengshui. The first is the grand environment, or the energy momentum in the specific space-time. The second is the small environment, or the conditions people live in. The third is peoples morals. These factors greatly represent the Chinese notion of harmony of man with nature, and the attachment of great importance to human beings within fengshui theory.
However, in its longtime spread, great mystery and exaggeration have been mixed into fengshui theory, which partly leads to fengshui being considered superstition by some.
In Chinese history, many of the capital sites like Xi an, Luoyang, Beijing, and Nanjing, as well as a number of provinces, prefectures, and county sites were elaborately selected by fengshui masters. Most of these places were chosen because of their encirclement by mountains and rivers, contributing to their advanced economies, cultures, science and technology, industry, and agriculture. Many are still bustling regional centers and have become even more prosperous after thousands of years.
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