Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Fengshui in China: Geomantic Divination between State, Orthodoxy and Popular Religion
Nordic Council of Ministers, NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies.
2011 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

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, etc. This study is quite different, approaching fengshui from an academic angle. The focus is on fengshui's 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. Although Chinese authorities have opposed the tradition for centuries, nonetheless it has been used by almost everyone as an aspect of popular cosmology. Opposing the Chinese collectivist ethos and moralizing from above, fengshui represents an alternative vision of reality, while interpreting essential Chinese values in a way that sanctions selfish motivations and behaviour.

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. Aiming to eschew Western intellectual preconceptions and to penetrate the confused mass of old texts and divergent local practices, the book will be of interest to all scholars seeking to understand an undercurrent of modern China's transformation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2011, 2nd ed.. , 320 p.
, Man and Nature in Asia, 8
Keyword [en]
Fengshui, China, Religion
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:norden:org:diva-4033ISBN: 978 87 91114 79 3ISBN: 978 87 91114 57 1OAI: diva2:846545
Available from: 2015-08-17 Created: 2015-08-17Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Bruun - Fengshui in China - NIAS Press(5775 kB)207 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 5775 kBChecksum SHA-512
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links
By organisation
NIAS - Nordic Institute of Asian Studies
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 207 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 71 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link