Chapter

Winds, Waters, Seeds, and Souls: Folk Concepts of Physiology and Etiology in Chinese Geomancy

Charles Leslie and Allan Young

in Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780520073173
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910935 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520073173.003.0005
Winds, Waters, Seeds, and Souls: Folk Concepts of Physiology and Etiology in Chinese Geomancy

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Chinese geomancy has at least two faces. One is that of the learned professor, who uses pseudoscientific texts to articulate a theoretical model relating physical features of the environment to categories of space, time, and energetic forces. The other face of geomancy is that of the craftsman who applies geomantic principles to common problems. According to Chinese geomantic thinking, the nature of human fate is determined by the interaction of heaven and earth, of what is above with what is below. This chapter examines this aspect of geomancy among the rural Chinese of Taiwan. It discusses the relation between the living and their ancestors' graves from the perspective of the craftsman who actually exhumes the bones during the secondary burial. It shows how individual and familial well-being depend on the transformation that the bodies of one's ancestors experience in the grave.

Keywords: Chinese geomancy; pseudoscientific text; geomantic principle; Taiwan; ancestor

Chapter.  6643 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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