In ancient China, the Hetu “Yellow River Chart” and the Luoshu (also written ) “Inscription of the River Luo” were two cosmological diagrams. Both Daoists and Confucians employed them to explain the relationship between the hexagrams of the Yijing “Book of Changes” and the universe and human life.
What is He Tu?
The He Tu (河圖), also known as the River Map, is a numerological model that is similar to the Luo Shu (洛書).
Historical Legendary accountsIt traces its roots back to various legends and myths. The most well-known of these was the creation of a mythical creature called the He Tu, whose head was that of a dragon and whose body was that of a horse, which emerged from the yellow river. On the horse’s body were the symbols that created the He Tu map.
The concept of the He Tu map is based on the theory that the universal forces are in a perfect and ideal state of balance. In this perfect state of balance, there are no movements, no evolution, and no time. Therefore, the He Tu map was a useful concept that was used by early scholars to map the Early Heaven.
He Tu map is illustrated below:
Historical Legendary accounts
Fu Xi or Fuxi was a half-snake deity and protoplast who appeared alongside his sister Nüwa in accounts of the creation of humanity and invention of civilization dating back to the Zhou dynasty. One of the stories about him claims that he built the River Map after drawing inspiration from spider webs and other natural phenomena and then using it to create the trigrams that make up the I Ching.
Floods on the Yellow River were a common occurrence throughout Chinese history, often flooding entire provinces and even moving between the north and south sides of the Shandong Peninsula. The Great Flood was a fundamental myth of Chinese culture about a massive flood that was claimed to have lasted at least two generations and was accompanied by storms and famines. According to Chinese folklore, it happened during the reign of Emperor Yao in the third millennium BCE. The River Map is thought to have played a vital role in Yu the Great‘s final successful control of the rising waters between 2200 and 2100 BCE.
Luo Shu Square
The Luo Shu is a mathematical model that combines the factors of directions, elements, and other relevant data on a single platform or chart. As with the He Tu, its origin involves the appearance of a divine tortoise from the Luo River with peculiar markings on its carapace, which became the foundation for the Luo Shu Chart. In contrast to He Tu, the Luo Shu concept represents the dynamic nature of Yin and Yang, which are in perpetual flux.
It is a one-of-a-kind normal magic square of order three. It is typically employed in conjunction with the River Map, or He Tu (called after the Yellow River), in contexts involving Chinese geomancy, numerology, philosophy, and early natural science.
The Lo Shu is part of the legacy of ancient Chinese mathematical and divination I-Ching (易經) traditions and is an important symbol in Feng Shui (風水)—the geomantic art concerned with the positioning of objects in relation to the flow of qi (氣), or “natural energy.”
Why is it essential to analyze He Tu and Luo Shu?
It is always intriguing to learn the origins of Feng Shui, as many analyses will directly or indirectly relate to He Tu and Luo Shu.
If you are a novice in Feng Shui, simply grasp the ancient Chinese concept from which He Tu and Luo Shu originated. It should also be noted that the conceptual ideas of both He Tu and Luo Shu were not invented but rather divinely given to FuXi. Then, the knowledge was passed down from generation to generation.