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Houses, People and Good Fortune: Geomancy and Vernacular Architecture in Japan

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image of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

The paper seeks to analyse Japanese vernacular architecture in terms of geomancy. There is a widely held belief that the orientation and shape of the house, as well as the location of the various rooms and objects (e.g. altars, water basins, stoves) therein, have profound impact on the wellbeing of its residents. The main features of the geomantic compass are outlined, and it is argued that the northwest-southeast and northeast-southwest axes are of particular importance. Whereas the former is seen as representing wealth and the continuity of the household, the latter represents danger and the threats that face the household due to its reliance on other households for in-marrying 'strangers' (i.e. women).

Affiliations: 1: Institute and Museum for Anthropology University of Oslo


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