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S/1531 19th Century Chinese Geomancer's Compass

A rare 19th century geomancer's compass with its removable frame and having Chinese writing on the reverse.

Geomancy (related to 'feng shui' is used in China to determine the most auspicious positioning for burial sites or buildings of different sorts. It is also used to select the best times and locations for important events.

These compasses have a compass needle at the centre, and concentric tables expanding out from the middle, containing data relating to astrology, time of day,directions, the elements and forms of landscape, which are all factors thought to help in deciding the best orientation for the building in question.

The earliest compasses originated in China in the second century BC, and were used for geomancy long before they were used for navigation. The Chinese used them for navigation from around 1000 AD and Chinese ships sailed as far as Saundi Arabia using this method. This knowledge allowed the Chinese to trade with many more nations, becoming more prosperous and influential.

Sold 9 in. (25 cm.) Wide
9 in. (25 cm.) Deep
1 in. (3 cm.) High
Chinese Circa 1850