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    Feng Shui in the Garden

    bagua fengshui fengshui garden

    The biggest factor in Feng Shui is to provide people with positive chi; chi is in everything and is an electromagnetic flow that permeates all things. Feng Shui literally just means wind and water. Water is something that sustains life while wind is the force that distributes the water. Typically, you want to block out outside forces with mountains and hoard the water it contains.There are two types of chi at work in an environment, which is yin and yang. Yin chi is suppose to have favorable conditions for the dead, this being things like cold and darkness.

     The Chinese believed that if you didn’t take care of the ancestors, later generations would suffer. Yang chi is the one used by people looking for chi optimization in a house or home, usually characterized by light and warmth. This is a bagua, a tool used in Feng Shui that measures what energies effect what; depending on the direction it is facing, it can either stimulate Chi or destroy it. Certain flowers or things may contribute to the stimulation of chi in certain areas of a garden.

    These are example of how the elements interact. I would say that it is up to the person if you really want to follow these rules. However, try to balance the directional energies with something that compliments it, like red flowers in the south of the garden.

    Jingshan park walkway

    A path that curves is best in Feng Shui because Chi can travel smoothly along the path. More so, this also simulates a river and a natural energy flow.
    Imperial Garden in the Forbidden City
    It is good to be around a body of water because it’s believed that water can bring in more fortune and life through its trapped chi. This is a real pivotal rule and it is what most residents of China think about when they are building towns in a certain area.
    Other tips • Avoid edges

    You want the environment to be natural and rounded. If you can imagine, chi just tends to crash into things if that is the case. • The whole point of Feng Shui is balance. Stimulate the places that are lacking and try to balance out the things that have too much chi. Clutter is bad because it blocks flow.

    Common Misconceptions

    Regularly, Feng Shui is used as a device for poor people to bring in more fortune to their everyday lives. There has been a big popularity in Feng Shui in the United States and people take this as a real trend. The problem is would be that the principles guiding their beliefs seem almost too structured. Remember, there is some science to Feng Shui, but in reality, the practice is best used, not as a meticulous guidebook, but rather, rearranging natural elements in a surrounding for an optimal effect. If you structure something too much with money, is it really a natural environment anymore?

    The Forbidden City A city lost in time

    Some architectural rules: Rule of 9 (and five): Number used in construction of the whole Forbidden City. There are so many places in the palace that use this number for it’s measurements or idea; nine represents the emperor. Five springs up because it’s significant of the five elements and other concepts.

    The color yellow: The Chinese believe to be made out of yellow earth. Yellow represents the earth itself. Used in imperial roof decoration where yellow glaze is used solely by palatial structures.

    Earth is represented by a square - Axial symmetry: The Forbidden city’s palatial structures are on a north and south axis.

    The Hall of Supreme Harmony

    One of the largest wooden structures within China. It has basically been treated as the court of affairs for the state. During the Ming dynasty, this was used by the emperor, but not so much during other dynasties. The terrace has three layers and three sets of stairs. The elevated platform is a sign of status in Chinese architecture, with it’s height being 26 feet. A thing to note about this building is that it has curved roofing, a unique trademark for traditional Chinese architecture.

    Dragon Throne

    There are actually three thrones in adjacent palaces. The best and most popular one is, of course, in the Hall of Supreme harmony. Take a look and see how many rules apply here. While there being a lot of things to note, the Chinese love to conceptualize certain symbols and most all of the embellishments to the palace have meaning.

    Xuanyuan mirror

    Located in the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the Xuanyuan mirror. The mirror is actually made out of glass and is coated with mercury so that it reflects the color of the light around it. (Shea) This is supposed to represent the five phases; also, it represents the first emperor. This is above, being projected out of a mouth of a dragon to the Dragon Throne which serves to “legitimize” the emperor. It’s said that if the emperor wasn’t worthy, the ball in the middle would kill him. (Shea)

    Guardian Lion

    Imperial Guardian Lions

    These lions are suppose to signify protection of the things that they’re guarding under their paws, they’re the king of the beasts.

    The female lion holds a baby, representing protection for life and the people inside the building, while the male lion holds a pearl from the imperial treasury, which means that it protects their fortune.

    This plays on the Chinese Philosophy of Yin and Yang and it is quite a neat addition to a residence or a business.

    The figurines on the roofs of the Forbidden City

    The figure on the end riding a chicken is suppose to remind the emperor to follow his duty. The dragon represents protection against fire, and the other animals, all different and distinct, are mainly a protection against harmful forces to the building. The figure below, which sort of looks like a goblin, is called Chiwen, a hornless dragon known to be one of the nine sons of the dragon king.

    Read more about Feng Shui in the Garden:

    Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. Chinese Architecture. New Haven: Yale UP, 2002.

    Menen, Rajendar. Benefits of Vaastu & Feng Shui: [the Art of Attracting Health, Wealth and Happiness]. Delhi: Pustak Mahal, 2004.

    Shea, Marilyn. "The Palace Museum 故宫博物院." Forbidden City Palace Museum 故宫博物 院 Beijing. N.p., 2009. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.

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