Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Origin of Yellow Crane Tower's Fengshui

Yellow Crane Tower is situated in Wuhan (capital of Hubei province), at the junction of Han River and Yangtze River. Swift currents that changed their direction of flow frequently had caused Wuhan and Wuchang to suffer badly due to the floods. This caused headache for the rulers of all dynasties. In the end, the flow of direction of Han River was changed. Wuhan was divided into three cities, forming Wuchang, Hankou and Hanyang, which were separated by rivers.

Wuhan had been the key water passage for generations, it was important for both commercial and strategic plans. In order to grasp the traffic situation of the river, a watching tower was built---Yellow Crane Tower. However, since the Han Dynasty, the tower was destroyed and rebuilt repeatedly due to wars. The battle between warlords destructed the Yellow Crane Tower in Qing Dynasty. It was only until 1984 that an exact-looking Yellow Crane Tower was built at the current location. And, this is the fate of the Yellow Crane Tower.

The third storey of the tower holds an exhibition of the models of towers in the past generations. Due to their different functions, the style of the buildings also differed widely. Restoration of the original look of this historical building is due to fengshui considerations and also to retain the culture.

The basis of the Yellow Crane Tower is the "Eight Trigrams". From the appearance, it seems to have only five (五) storeys but it is actually nine (九)-storey high, which symbolises the power and authority of the emperor (九五至尊). The fengshui of the current location is better than the original, because the tower is built on a "Tortoise Land" surrounded by snakes. Suppression of the tortoises and snakes will prevent them from stirring up waves and reduce the occurrence of floods. Legend has it that the tortoises and snakes were the stomach and intestines of the Xuan Tian deity. In order to turn over a new leaf, Xuan Tian deity put his stomach and intestines into the Yangtze River for cleansing. This move of him touched the Heaven and Earth and he became a celestial being upon attaining immortality. However, the stomach and intestines turned into tortoises and snakes, creating trouble in the seas. Thus, Xuan Tian deity had to send two celestial cranes to subdue the animals. As time goes by, the cranes became the symbol of the Yellow Crane Tower.

I have been to the Yellow Crane Tower in 1994. At that time, not only can I overlook the Tortoise Mountain and Snake Mountain of Wuhan, the magnificent view of the convergence of the three rivers can also be seen. But now, high-rise buildings are everywhere and the beautiful scenery has ceased to exist. Of course, the fengshui is also affected.

Today, Yellow Crane Tower sits at Southeast (Chen-辰) and faces Northwest (Xu-戌). The tower faces the Yangtze River Bridge and the convergence area of the three rivers. In front of it is a sarira pagoda, and the Millennium Bell stands behind the tower. Besides strengthening the fengshui, the two structures also helps to enhance the luck of the devotees.

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