Photo Documentary: The ancient octagonal village of Licha in Zhaoqing
The eight symbols of Taoism and the distinct architecture of LiCha BuGua Cun
1) The bagua (Chinese: 八卦; pinyin: bāguà; Wade–Giles: pakua; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: pat-kòa; literally “eight symbols”) are eight trigrams used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either “broken” or “unbroken,” representing yin or yang, respectively. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as “trigrams” in English.
The trigrams are related to taiji philosophy, taijiquan and the wu xing, or “five elements”. The relationships between the trigrams are represented in two arrangements, the Primordial (先天八卦), “Earlier Heaven” or “Fuxi” bagua (伏羲八卦), and the Manifested (後天八卦), “Later Heaven,” or “King Wen” bagua. The trigrams have correspondences in astronomy, astrology, geography, geomancy, anatomy, the family, and elsewhere.
2) The ancient Chinese classic I Ching consists of the 64 possible pairs of trigrams (called “hexagrams”) and commentary on them. There are two possible sources of bagua: The first is from traditional Yin and Yang philosophy. The interrelationships of this philosophy has been attributed to Fuxi in the following way:
The Limitless (Wuji) produces the delimited, and this is the Absolute (Taiji)
The Taiji produces two forms, named yin and yang
The two forms produce four phenomena, named lesser yin, great yin (taiyin also means the Moon), lesser yang, great yang (taiyang also means the Sun).
The four phenomena act on the eight trigrams (bagua), eight eights are sixty-four hexagrams.
Another philosophical description of the source is the following, attributed to King Wen of Zhou Dynasty: “When the world began, there was heaven and earth. Heaven mated with the earth and gave birth to everything in the world. Heaven is Qian-gua, and the Earth is Kun-gua. The remaining six gua are their sons and daughters”.
3) A bagua map is a tool used in modern forms of feng shui to map a room or location and see how the different sections correspond to different aspects in one’s life. These sections are believed to relate to every area or aspect of life and are divided into such categories as fame, relationships/marriage, children/creativity, helpful people/travel, career, inner knowledge, family/ancestors/health, and wealth/blessings.
In this system, the map is intended to be used over the land, one’s home, office or desk to find areas lacking good chi, and to show where there are negative or missing spaces that may need rectifying or enhancing in life or the environment.
For example, if the bagua grid is placed over the entire house plan and it shows the toilet, bathroom, laundry, or kitchen in the wealth/blessings area it would be considered that the money coming into that particular environment would disappear very fast, as if to be ‘going down the drain.’