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Hetu & Luoshu



Vision Reflector

Queensland Bottle Tree
::: Hetu & Luoshu

Hetu and Loushu are two types of magic patterns handed down from ancient China. They are viewed as the very beginning of Chinese culture, and their origins may be found in ancient Chinese legend.

During the rule of Fu-shi, an ancient Chinese sage, a horse with dots on the back emerged from the Yellow River. Fu-shi then developed the Ultimate and the Eight Diagrams out of the pattern on the horse's back, which is known as "Hetu". By the Ultimate, the ancient meant the origin of all things and creatures. The Eight Diagrams symbolizes the eight natural phenomena: sky, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain and lake. So they represent the ancient Chinese's earliest knowledge of the universe, which contains a simple dialectical materialist point of view. It has been suggested that the German mathematician Wilhelm von Leibuiz (1646-1716) was inspired by the Chinese Eight Diagrams to create the binary system. If this is true, then "Hetu" does make some historic contribution to the modern computer science.

Chinese literature dating from as early as 2,800 BC tells the legend of "Loushu". Around 4,000 years ago, there was a huge flood in ancient China. People tried to offer some sacrifice to the Lou River to calm his anger. Then, there emerged from the water a turtle with nine clusters of circular markings on its shell; Each cluster comprised between one and nine dots arranged in a three by three grid pattern. The nine numbers were so arranged that if you added together any three you always got a total of fifteen. Da-yu, the legendary founder of the Hsia Dynasty, got the oracular point of the "Loushu" square, succeeded in controlling flooding, divided his empery into nine parts, and constituted Nine Laws to rule his people.

No matter you believe those legends or not, the black and white dots on "Hetu" or the numbers on "Loushu" reveal great magic anyway. On our display these two magic squares comprising black and white marble stools not only provide the visitors a place to relax but also something to learn.

Back Top 2018/09/14 updated *