Feng Shui: A Brief History
By Marissa Lada
January 22, 2019
Recently, we began offering Feng Shui consulting services at Board & Vellum, and as part of the launch, we published a blog post to address some basic questions about it: What is Feng Shui? And, What Does Feng Shui Do? While it will get you started, there is always so much more to learn. We thought, ”Why not help out with that and field some questions?” If you'd like to learn more about Feng Shui, please read on.
Let’s briefly explore the history of Feng Shui.
How old is the practice of Feng Shui?
Even though it has gained recent popularity among the new age culture, Feng Shui has been practiced as a highly regarded metaphysical art form in China as far back as 618 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty, where there is the first documented evidence of this practice.
However, Feng Shui’s roots can be traced back even farther, to Taoism, a Chinese philosophy that dates back to the 3rd century B.C. The principles of Taoism revolve around the ancient wisdom and understanding of the interconnectedness of everything around us, otherwise known as universal energy or chi.
Was Feng Shui practiced only in China?
No, Feng Shui is not just an ancient Chinese practice. As far back as 5,500 years ago, a different form of Feng Shui was practiced in India, known as Vastu Shastra. Literally meaning “building science,” it explains how to construct buildings, houses, and cities.
According to Vastu, every building is a living organism with its own energy, and the practice of Vastu is to work with the five elements to create harmony with a space and its users.
How has Feng Shui evolved since then?
The practice of Feng Shui has adapted over the centuries. Originally, it was used by Chinese farmers in the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), who focused on the natural landscape as a way to determine if the energy was suitable for their crops and dwellings. This type of Feng Shui later became known as the Form School, which was the School of Feng Shui documented by Yang Yun-Sang, a master of Feng Shui who contributed to many classic Feng Shui texts still used today.
During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD), a new type of Feng Shui emerged. The Compass School was developed by Master Wang Chih, and utilizes calculations based upon the compass directions, the Bagua map and Chinese astrology for determining the best arrangements for specific energies. It became popular in Northern China, which had fewer mountains and natural formations than the Southern part of China. Branches of this school include Flying Star, Eight Mansions, and Four Pillars.
Feng Shui eventually made its way to the West, where the Black Hat School was formed in the early ’80s by Professor Thomas Lin Yun. Unlike the Compass and Form schools, the Black Hat School does not use the Bagua directions and instead bases the map in location to the entrance of a home. It also focuses more on intuition, placing cures such as I-Ching coins or wind chimes in specific locations to improve the chi. Many traditional Feng Shui Masters do not recognize this school, as it deviates from the original Feng Shui roots and methodology.
Today, Feng Shui widely practiced. Many Top 500 companies and influential people have utilized Feng Shui, including Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, the United Nations, and Disney. Most Feng Shui practitioners in the West use the Black Hat school, while the East still focuses more on the Form and Compass schools.
What type of Feng Shui do you practice at Board & Vellum?
Here at Board & Vellum, a combination of Form and Compass is practiced. As a holistic design firm, it makes sense to understand another aspect of design and how implementing these practices can help achieve an elevated quality of work. This is yet another way Board & Vellum continues to be your advocate!
Interested in our Feng Shui services? Reach out to us today!