Bagua Zhao Huiqian

Ba Gua diagram from Zhao Huiqian's (趙撝謙) Liushu benyi (六書本義, 1370s).

The Ba Gua (Chinese: 八卦; literally "eight symbols") are eight trigrams related to Ba Xian and used in Daoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken," representing yin or yang, respectively. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as "trigrams" in English.

The trigrams are related to taiji philosophy, taijiquan and the wu xing, or "five elements".[1] The relationships between the trigrams are represented in two arrangements, the Primordial (先天八卦), "Earlier Heaven"[2] or "Fu Xi" bagua (伏羲八卦), and the Manifested (後天八卦), "Later Heaven,"[2] or "King Wen" bagua. The trigrams have correspondences in astronomy, astrology, geography, geomancy, anatomy, the family, and elsewhere.[3][4]

The ancient Chinese classic, I Ching (Pinyin: Yi Jing), consists of the 64 pairwise permutations of trigrams, referred to as "hexagrams", along with commentary on each one.

Trigram Relationship

Ba Gua Sun Moon Thunder Wood Water Fire Volcano Cyclone
7LeftUpYang~YinDownRight8 777 888 788 778 878 787 887 877
Position Full Yang Full Yin Yang Above Yin Below Yang Middle Yin Middle Yang Below Yin Above
Ba Xian Han Xiang-Zi Lan Cai-He Cao Guo-Jiu He Xian-Gu Li Tie-Guai Lü Dong-Bin Zhang Guo-Lao Zhuang-Li Quan
Ba Xian Personality Philosopher Emotioner Emperor Tao Yin Pilgrim Leader Warrior Peacer
Name Qian Kun Zhen Sun Kan Li Ken Tui
Millennial Instrument Flute Basket Flower Castanet Lotus Flower Calabash, Iron Crutch Sword Drum Hand fan
Hour 10h30 ~ 13h30 22h30 ~ 1h30 13h30 ~ 16h30 1h30 ~ 4h30 16h30 ~ 19h30 4h30 ~ 7h30 19h30 ~ 22h30 7h30 ~ 10h30
Season ( 45 Days ) Mid Summer Mid Winter Summer ~ Autumn Winter ~ Spring Mid Autumn Mid Spring Autumn ~ Winter Spring ~ Summer
Chinese Zodiac Sign Sheep Tiger Cat Phoenix Mouse Snake Monkey Dog
8 Mai Mantis Links Du Mai Ren Mai Yang Wei Mai Yin Qiao Mai Dai Mai Chong Mai Yang Qiao Mai Yin Wei Mai
Family Father Mother Old Son Old Daughter Middle Son Middle Daughter Young Son Young Daughter
Feng Shui Number 9 1 2 8 7 3 6 4
Cardinal direction (Arctic~Antarctic) S ~ Equator Line ~ N Pole North ~ South Pole SW~NW NE~SE West Sunset East Sunrise NW~SW SE~NE

Relation to other Principles


Derivation of the bagua

There are two possible sources of bagua. The first is from traditional Yin and Yang philosophy. This is explained by Fuxi in the following way:

兩儀生四象: 即少陰、太陰、少陽、太陽、

The Limitless (無極; wuji) produces the delimited (有極; youji), and this demarcation is equivalent to the Absolute (太極; taiji).
The Taiji produces two forms, named yin and yang (陰陽; yinyang);
These two forms produce four phenomena: named lesser yin (少陰, shaoyin), greater yin (太陰; taiyin, which also refers to the Moon), lesser yang (少陽, shaoyang), and greater yang (太陽; taiyang, which also refers to the Sun).
The four phenomena (四象; sìxiàng) act on the eight trigrams (八卦; bagua).
Eight 'eights' results in sixty-four hexagrams.

Another possible source of bagua is the following, attributed to King Wen of Zhou Dynasty: "When the world began, there was heaven and earth. Heaven mated with the earth and gave birth to everything in the world. Heaven is Qian-gua, and the Earth is Kun-gua. The remaining six gua are their sons and daughters".

The trigrams are related to the five elements of wu xing, used by feng shui practitioners and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Those five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The Water (Kan) and Fire (Li) trigrams correspond directly with the Water and Fire elements. The element of Earth corresponds with both the trigrams of Earth (Kun) and Mountain (Gen). The element of Wood corresponds with the trigrams of Wind (Xun) (as a gentle but inexorable force that can erode and penetrate stone) and Thunder (Zhen). The element of Metal corresponds with the trigrams of Heaven (Qian) and Lake (Dui).

There are eight possible combinations to render the various trigrams (八卦 bāguà):

Trigram Figure possible Binary Value Name Translation: Wilhelm[5] Image in Nature (pp.l-li) Direction (p. 269) Family Relationship (p. 274) Body Part (p. 274) Attribute (p. 273) Stage/ State (pp.l-li) Animal (p. 273)
1 111
the Creative, Force heaven, sky
northwest father head strong creative
2 110
the Joyous, Open wind
west third daughter mouth pleasure tranquil (complete devotion)
sheep, goat
3 101
the Clinging, Radiance fire
south second daughter eye light-giving, dependence clinging, clarity, adaptable
4 100
the Arousing, Shake thunder
east first son foot inciting movement initiative
5 011
the Gentle, Ground wood
southeast first daughter thigh penetrating gentle entrance
6 010
the Abysmal, Gorge water
north second son ear dangerous in-motion
7 001
Keeping Still, Bound mountain
northeast third son hand resting, stand-still completion
wolf, dog
8 000
the Receptive, Field earth
southwest mother belly devoted, yielding receptive

Hexagram lookup table

Upper →

Lower ↓

乾 Qián

震 Zhèn

坎 Kǎn

艮 Gèn

坤 Kūn

巽 Xùn

離 Lí

兌 Duì

乾 Qián
01 ䷀ 34 ䷡ 05 ䷄ 26 ䷙ 11 ䷊ 09 ䷈ 14 ䷍ 43 ䷪

震 Zhèn
25 ䷘ 51 ䷲ 03 ䷂ 27 ䷚ 24 ䷗ 42 ䷩ 21 ䷔ 17 ䷐

坎 Kǎn
06 ䷅ 40 ䷧ 29 ䷜ 04 ䷃ 07 ䷆ 59 ䷺ 64 ䷿ 47 ䷮

艮 Gèn
33 ䷠ 62 ䷽ 39 ䷦ 52 ䷳ 15 ䷎ 53 ䷴ 56 ䷷ 31 ䷞

坤 Kūn
12 ䷋ 16 ䷏ 08 ䷇ 23 ䷖ 02 ䷁ 20 ䷓ 35 ䷢ 45 ䷬

巽 Xùn
44 ䷫ 32 ䷟ 48 ䷯ 18 ䷑ 46 ䷭ 57 ䷸ 50 ䷱ 28 ䷛

離 Lí
13 ䷌ 55 ䷶ 63 ䷾ 22 ䷕ 36 ䷣ 37 ䷤ 30 ䷝ 49 ䷰

兌 Duì
10 ䷉ 54 ䷵ 60 ䷻ 41 ䷨ 19 ䷒ 61 ䷼ 38 ䷥ 58 ䷹

Fu Xi "Earlier Heaven"


Fuxi "Earlier Heaven" bagua arrangement

 Qián天 Sky (Heaven)Summer Creative 父 Father南 SouthExpansive energy, the sky. For further information, see tiān.
 Xùn風 WoodSummer Gentle 長女 Eldest Daughter西南 SouthwestGentle penetration, flexibility.
 Kǎn水 WaterAutumn Abysmal 中男 Middle Son西 WestDanger, rapid rivers, the abyss, the moon.
 Gèn山 MountainAutumn Still 少男 Youngest Son西北 NorthwestStillness, immovability.
 Kūn地 EarthWinter Receptive 母 Mother北 NorthReceptive energy, that which yields. For further information, see .
 Zhèn雷 ThunderWinter Arousing 長男 Eldest Son東北 NortheastExcitation, revolution, division.
 Lí火 FireSpring Clinging 中女 Middle Daughter東 EastRapid movement, radiance, the sun.
 Duì澤 CycloneSpring Joyous 少女 Youngest Daughter東南 SoutheastJoy, satisfaction, stagnation.

King Wen "Later Heaven"


King Wen "Later Heaven" bagua arrangement

 Li火 FireSummer Clinging 中女 Middle Daughter南 SouthRapid movement, radiance, the sun.
 Kun地 EarthSummer Receptive 母 Mother西南 SouthwestReceptive energy, that which yields.
 Dui澤 CycloneAutumn Joyous 少女 Youngest Daughter西 WestJoy, satisfaction, stagnation.
 Qian天 HeavenAutumn Creative 父 Father西北 NorthwestExpansive energy, the sky.
 Kan水 WaterWinter Abysmal 中男 Middle Son北 NorthDanger, rapid rivers, the abyss, the moon.
 Gen山 MountainWinter Still 少男 Youngest Son東北 NortheastStillness, immovability.
 Zhen雷 ThunderSpring Arousing 長男 Eldest Son東 EastExcitation, revolution, division.
 Xun風 WoodSpring Gentle 長女 Eldest Daughter東南 SoutheastGentle penetration, flexibility.

Bagua used in Feng Shui

The Bagua is an essential tool in the majority of Feng Shui schools. The Bagua used in Feng shui can appear in two different versions: the Earlier Heaven Bagua, used for burial sites and the Later Heaven Bagua, used for the residences.

Xiantian Bagua

In Xiantian Bagua, also known as Fu Xi Bagua or Earlier Heaven Bagua, the Heaven is in the higher part and the Earth is in the lower part. The trigram Qian (Heaven) is at the top, the trigram Kun (Earth) is at the bottom (in the past, the South was located at the top in Chinese maps). The trigram Li (Fire) is located on the left and opposite to it is the trigram Kan (Water). Zhen (Thunder) and Xun (Wind) form another pair, while being one opposite the other, the first on the bottom left next to Li while the second is next to Qian on the top right of the Bagua. Gen (Mountain) and Dui (Lake) form the last pair, one opposite the other, both in balance and harmony. The adjustment of the trigrams is symmetrical by forming exact contrary pairs. They symbolize the opposite forces of Yin and Yang and represent an ideal state, when everything is in balance.

Houtian Bagua

The sequence of the trigrams in Houtian Bagua, also known as the Bagua of King Wen or Later Heaven Bagua, describes the patterns of the environmental changes. Kan is placed downwards and Li at the top, Zhen in the East and Dui in the West. Contrary to the Earlier Heaven Bagua, this one is a dynamic Bagua where energies and the aspects of each trigram flow towards the following. It is the sequence used by the Luo Pan compass which is used in Feng Shui to analyze the movement of the Qi that affects us.

Bagua of the eight aspirations

Feng shui was made very popular in the Occident thanks to the Bagua of the eight aspirations. Each trigram corresponds to an aspect of life which, in its turn, corresponds to one of the cardinal directions. Applying feng shui using the Bagua of the eight aspirations made it possible to simplify feng shui and to bring it within the reach of everyone. The Masters of traditional feng shui call it Neo Feng Shui, for its simplicity, because it does not take into account the forms of the landscape or the temporal influence or the annual cycles. The Bagua of the eight aspirations is divided into two branches: the first, which uses the compass and cardinal directions, and the second, which uses the Bagua by using the main door. It is clear that, not taking into account the cardinal directions, the second is even more simplified.

Bagua map

A bagua map is a tool used in modern forms of feng shui to map a room or location and see how the different sections correspond to different aspects in one's life. These sections are believed to relate to every area or aspect of life and are divided into such categories as: fame, relationships/marriage, children/creativity, helpful people/travel, career, inner knowledge, family/ancestors/health, and wealth/blessings.

In this system, the map is intended to be used over the land, one's home, office or desk to find areas lacking good chi, and to show where there are negative or missing spaces that may need rectifying or enhancing in life or the environment.

For example, if the bagua grid is placed over the entire house plan and it shows the toilet, bathroom, laundry, or kitchen in the wealth/blessings area it would be considered that the money coming into that particular environment would disappear very fast, as if to be 'going down the drain.'


  1. CHEN, Xin (tr. Alex Golstein). The Illustrated Canon of Chen Family Taijiquan, INBI Matrix Pty Ltd, 2007. page 11. (accessed on, December 14, 2009.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wilhelm, Richard (1950). The I Ching or Book of Changes. translated by Cary F. Baynes, forward by C. G. Jung, preface to 3rd ed. by Hellmut Wilhelm (1967). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 266, 269. ISBN 069109750X. 
  3. TSUEI, Wei. Roots of Chinese culture and medicine Chinese Culture Books Co., 1989.
  4. ZONG, Xiao-Fan and Liscum, Gary. Chinese Medical Palmistry: Your Health in Your Hand, Blue Poppy Press, 1999.
  5. Wilhelm, R. & Baynes, C., (1967): "The I Ching or Book of Changes", With foreword by Carl Jung, Introduction, Bollingen Series XIX, Princeton University Press, (1st ed. 1950)

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Bagua. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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