Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday extracts: Feng shui and village planning

Our landmarks are our lake and our wall, and both of them are the result of the superstition and mythology of ancient times. When our ancestors arrived in the valley of Cho they examined the terrain with the greatest of care, and we honestly believe that no village in the world has been better planned than the village of Ku-fu. Our ancestors laid it out so that it would be sheltered from the Black Tortoise, a beast of the very worst character, whose direction is north and whose element is water and whose season is winter. It is open to the Red Bird of the south, and the element of fire and the season of summer. And the eastern hills where the Blue Dragon lives, with the element of wood and the hopeful season of spring, are stronger than the hills to the west, which is the home of the White Tiger, metal, and the melancholy season of autumn.
Considerable thought was given to the shape of the village, on the grounds that a man who built a village like a fish while a neighboring village was built like a hook was begging for disaster.

Barry Hughart. Bridge of Birds. 1985.

I first read this years ago and fell deeply in love with its charming approach to life and fate. I'm sure Chinese life was never anything like this - but it should have been.


snafu said...

Apart from the fancy names, it seems like a real common sense approace to planning. Incidentally, why is it that ever since I can remember, there has been a housing shortage in the UK? It was on the news again this morning.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. I love this description of the ideal village .. wouldn't it be great to design our own .. I'd base mine on an old English common and pond surrounded, set back at a distance, housing .. with picket fences .. perhaps a cricket pitch and the sound of bat on ball .. a pub .. and a wood nearby for some peace and quiet at times ..

Love the FF55 .. cheers Hilary