Fengshui in China: Geomantic Divination Between State Orthodoxy and Popular Religion
For well over a century, Chinese fengshui, or geomancy, has interested Western laymen and scholars. Today, hundreds of popular manuals claim to use its principles in their advice on how people can increase their wealth, happiness, longevity, and so on. This study is quite different, approaching fengshui from an academic angle. The focus is on its significance in China, but the recent history of its reinterpretation in the West is also depicted. The author argues that fengshui serves as an alternative tradition of cosmological knowledge, which is used to explain a range of everyday occurrences in rural areas, such as disease, mental disorders, accidents, and common mischief. The study includes a historical account of fengshui over the last 150 years augmented by the results of anthropological fieldwork on contemporary practices in two Chinese rural areas.
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