Feng Shui History

Feng shui began in the mountains of China

No one really knows the true beginning of feng shui history. Many people believe it began more than two thousand years ago in the mountains of the southwestern area of China and others believe it may be more than six thousand years old.

Feng Shui History: The Beginning

The origin of feng shui has been lost in the history of humanity. Many researchers and practitioners of feng shui believe this ancient art existed long before humans knew how to write. Scientific and archeological research has uncovered artifacts that substantiate this belief. Feng shui symbols have been found on artifacts at various excavation sites that can be dated to the earlier period. The earliest artifacts were found in 1988 during the excavation of an ancient grave and date to approximately 4000 B.C.

The earliest known records relating to the art and science of feng shui date to the Han Dynasty, between the years 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. During this time in the rugged mountainous area of the southwestern region of ancient China, the principles of feng shui were used to find the perfect spot for homes, villages and graves where auspicious chi was able to flow freely.

Throughout the following centuries, the practice of feng shui continued to develop. New findings added to existing theories and the results were refined resulting in the formation on the Form School of feng shui.

The Tang Dynasty: The Form School of Feng Shui

The years of the Tang Dynasty, 618 to 906 A.D., saw the existing principles of feng shui come together in the Form School, also known as the Landscape School. The purpose of this basic classical form of feng shui was to locate places in the landscape that had good chi to keep the people protected. The locations of gravesites also had to be able to protect the chi of the deceased and to give support to their decedents. Emphasis was placed on the importance of the landscape and features of the area such as bodies of water and mountains.

The Form School of feng shui clearly illustrates the belief that all things from the littlest stone to a magnificent mountain are living and charged with chi that has the power to be energizing or destructive. Feng shui masters of the time taught the principles and beliefs to build all structures in harmony with the universe. Structures that were harmonious with the energy fields of the universe would benefit from good chi.

Yahn Yun Sung, who is considered by many to have developed the Compass School of feng shui, made many important contributions and refinements to feng shui in 888 A.D. His many teachings and written works are considered classics in the study of the history of feng shui.

The Song Dynasty: The Compass School of Feng Shui

Shortly after the Song Dynasty came into power in 960 A.D., Wang Chih further refined and refined the practices of Yahn Yun Sung. His feng shui principles and practices are the basis of much of the Compass School as it is known and studied today.

Incorporated into the Compass School of feng shui are many aspects and practices of the Form School. The additional practices and principles of the Compass School developed in southeastern China where the landscape of the countryside is flat plains. This school of feng shui uses a more scientific approach than the practical approach of the Form School. The directions of the compass, mathematics, numerology and the I-Ching are important aspects of the Compass School. The trigrams of the I-Ching are arranged into the octagonal shape of the Ba Gua used to analysis the energy of a given space.

Feng Shui from the Ming Dynasty to the Chinese Cultural Revolution==

Remaining popular throughout the Ming and Ching Dynasties, from 1368 to 1911, feng shui was discouraged by the Chinese government when the Ching Dynasty fell. Although it was further discouraged when the Communist government took over in 1949, many practitioners of feng shui continue to practice.

Sadly many of the books and other items relating to feng shui were destroyed during the Chinese cultural revolution, which took place from 1966 to 1976. Most of the feng shui masters and practitioners left China seeking safety in places where there were Chinese communities including:

  • Taiwan
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • London
  • Malaysia
  • San Francisco
  • Vancouver

As feng shui found its way to the western world, it has continued to grow in popularity as more people embrace the importance of benefits of chi in their lives.

Present Day Feng Shui

The practice of feng shui has spread throughout the world as millions of people in all countries practice it. Today's Chinese government is more liberal and feng shui is once again accepted and practiced in China.

The traditional schools of feng shui, the Form School and the Compass School, are often blended together as practitioners refine and develop variations of the ancient art and science of feng shui.


Throughout feng shui history there has always been the underlying appreciation and knowledge of the importance of chi.

Feng Shui History