English

2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Effects of Geomancy (Fengshui) on Lineage Development in Southern Fujian during the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Chi-Chung Chen

PH.D. Student, Department of History, National Taiwan Normal University

Fengshui (geomancy) is thought of as beyond life and death, and serves as a bridge between ancestors and their offspring. In reality, in addition to its meaning in terms of filial piety, Fengshui is also believed to be able to affect the actual interests of the offspring. The expected benefits according from good Fengshui is the reason why it has been so popular in Chinese society. Due to Fengshui’s exclusion of others and its importance to the flourishing of the lineage, fighting for geomantic resources has often led to disputes between lineages. Indeed, these disputes have given rise to armed and violent fights between lineages.

In southern Fujian, it has been observed that people usually look for assistance from their lineage during these conflicts. The emotions involved in fights against common enemies strengthen the identification with and cohesion within a lineage, and eventually enhance the stability of the lineage. Therefore, the construction of lineage consciousness has in turn increased the emphasis on Fengshui in the society of southern Fujian. Conversely, the popularity of Fengshui has also promoted the development of lineages.

 

Keywords: Ming-Qing, southern Fujian, lineage, Fengshui, contention for resources