Feng Shui, the intuitive art of balance and harmony, originated thousands of years ago. Like any other form of art, its history & origin also comprises of many interesting facts. During ancient times, the Chinese shamans, diviners and sage-kings proclaimed the Compass, the Pa-k'ua (eight trigrams), and the Theory of change, as the three building blocks of Feng-shui. As per the legend, the compass was initially used for navigation, during the ruling period of Yellow Emperor in China.
Later, this navigational compass was modified and used in Feng Shui. At
the outset of Chou dynasty (1122-207 BCE), King Wen originally employed
pa-k'ua to illustrate patterns of change in the natural world. By 8th
century BC, Chinese started using the pa-k'ua and the theory of change
to encourage the flow of positive energy in a city or a palace.
Consequently, the kingdom prospered in harmony and wealth. During the
period of Han dynasty (206 BCE-219 CE), the art of K'an-yu, the study of
energy carried in landforms, was founded.
The study was supported by the Taoists like Huang-shih Kung and Ch'ing
Wu, who said that geological bodies, mainly mountains and rivers, are
full of essential energy. Dragon veins are known to be the pathways of
energy in mountains, while those in waterways are called Water dragons.
In those times, the Chinese followed this theory on land's energy, not
only to make the sites for kingdoms, but for the burial sites as well.
The T'ang dynasty (618-906 CE) and Sung dynasty (960-1279 CE) were
proved to be the golden periods of k'an-yu.
During the times of T'ang, the geomantic compass (Lo-p'an), along with
its twenty-four directions and seventeen rings, was integrated into
K'an-yu practice. Yang Yun-sun was the chief k'an-yu master of the
period. He was the one, who founded the Three Periods (San-yüan),
Three Combinations (San-ho) and Feng-Shui schools. He also conceived
that one could chart the energy in mountains simply by looking at the
features of contiguous valleys. In the Sung period, Hsü Jen-wang
prolonged the idea of 'Three Periods School', to incorporate buildings
He founded the Hsüan-k'ung (Mysterious Subtleties) school to
evaluate buildings by using the Flying Stars System, which mingles
information about the facing direction of a building, the year of its
construction and the pa-k'ua in order to trace favorable and unfavorable
energies within the building. The Hsüan-k'ung School became popular
seeing that cities developed outlying from natural landscapes. The last
development phase of Feng-Shui was overlapped by the Ch'ing dynasty
(1644 -1911) and the Republic China period (1911-1949).
In the beginning of Ch'ing period, Pa-chai (Eight Mansions) school was
established by Jo-kuan and Tao-jen. The theory of Pa-chai is exclusively
applicable to residences; it also endeavors to go with the occupant's
guardian star. Throughout the Republic years, the Hsüan-k'ung
school used the principles of Landform Classification, the compass and
the Flying Stars system, to assess the Feng-shui of buildings.
In the same period, the San-yüan school extended to take in the
study of residential and commercial buildings. The San-ho school in
contrast, remained committed to the study of mountains, valleys and
waterways. Acknowledged as the Four Schools of traditional Chinese Feng
Shui, the schools of San-yüan, San-ho, Hsüan-k'ung and Pa-chai
are still practicing the studies. Infact, today, Feng Shui has become
one of the most widely used art forms.