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Xuan Kong is a branch of the ancient art of Feng Shui that originated in China around 4,000 BC, and is a system for aligning the layout of buildings to positive auras of beneficial spiritual emanations. Whereas traditional Feng Shui principles are focused entirely on the location and direction of objects, Xuan Kong includes the element of time, or astrological alignment, in these designs. The process incorporates the elements of Ying-Yang, which represent complimentary opposites in nature, and other principles of Chinese mysticism such as the 5-elements of earth, fire, wood, metal, and water.
Traditional Feng Shui techniques as well as Xuan Kong expand upon the five elements by classifying them into eight trigrams, with each of the eight trigrams composed of one of the original five elements, plus elements of family relationship, symbology, body parts, and groups. The five elements are expanded upon in the eight trigrams to include hard wood and soft wood, as well as hard metal and soft metal. Further incorporation of calculations in Xuan Kong include the Lo Shu numbers of 1 to 9, which are categories for periods of years, the five elements, and the eight trigrams, as well as a compass direction, and I-Ching values of land, such as swamp, mountain or plain land, and values of natural forces such as wind or thunder.
The interior design principle of Xuan Kong is often referred to as the flying stars method, as the Lo Shu numbers are a series of nine numbers in a square of three by three, which are used to break up divisions of rooms into different meanings and values. The time and space method of Xuan Kong goes a step further than Feng Shui by also breaking up the division of rooms and buildings along 20-year cycles, or periods of Yun, with a grand cycle equaling nine Yuns of 180 years. Each cycle represents a different form of Ch'i or Qi, which is the vital energy of a time and place.
This expansion of Xuan Kong incorporates both a time and space method into interior layouts and gives periods in history favorable or unfavorable orientations based on elements displayed in a certain pattern during that time period. The period of the year 2004 to 2023 is favorable to stars 8, 9, and 1 on the Lo Shu flying star or magic square layout for locations within a room. These determinations for favorable interior design aesthetics also depend on the principle of cardinal directions, which is determined using a Luopan, a Chinese magnetic compass used by Feng Shui practitioners.