In March 2016, I travelled to WanAn in Anhui Province to research a feature about the shrouded and esoteric history of FengShui compass making going back to the Tang Dynasty and particularly to interview Mr ZhaoGuang Wu 吴兆光 for a feature article in the Patek Philippe International Vol.IV No.2 p.10–15 “Divining the Path to Harmony”
ZhaoGuang’s family has been involved in the manufacture of precision instruments for Feng Shui practice for nearly 300 years. Although it is associated with interior design in the West, ZhaoGuang’s clients are far more likely to be concerned with the fundamental issues of space and architectural design than where to put a vase or screen. The practice of FengShui was refined in this area during the prosperous Song Dynasty when it would have been used to inform the siting of buildings, positions of doors and windows, location of tombs, even town planning.
The history of the factory is a fascinating tale of esoteric knowledge, ancient rites, master craftsmen, secret processes, murder, intrigue, exile and more. With a resurgence in interest in the discipline, with many of the country’s biggest developers embracing the FengShui principles, the Wu family factory is busy once more.
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