Feng shui (Chinese: 風水), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the passage of the now-lost Book of Burial recorded in Guo Pu’s commentary.
Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi.
Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as