The Magic Ruler

Redbrick Lu Ban Ruler

Lu Ban Ruler (魯班尺)

The Lu Ban ruler is synonymous with Fengshui or geomancy, which is the Chinese art of living in harmony with nature by harnessing Qi (energy). It is practised by arranging buildings or other sites auspiciously.

Who is Lu Ban?

Lu Ban (魯班) was a legendary carpenter who lived in ancient China. Originally known Gongshu Yizhi or Gongshu Ban, he was more commonly known as Lu Ban.

Lu Ban is so well known in Chinese history as an outstanding craftsman and civil engineer that today, many Chinese carpenters and related crafts in construction and manufacturing pray to Lu Ban as their patron saint. He was also the mastermind behind many inventions such as the movable wooden horse carriage and the umbrella.

What is the Lu Ban Ruler?

Simply put, the Lu Ban ruler (魯班尺) is used by Chinese craftsmen to determine the dimensions of furniture and also for the construction of various buildings like temples and houses. It measures about 5 metres in length and is divided into multiple sections with specific measurements; each segment is deemed as either auspicious or inauspicious.

It is believed that the Lu Ban ruler was first used in ancient China for calculating auspicious dimensions for furniture that is used for religious purposes such as altar tables. Additionally, it was also used for constructing a “lucky” door with auspicious dimensions, the key to the overall well being of the house occupants. Furniture, as well as structures like doorframes and windows made to the specifications of auspicious dimensions, are said to bring prosperity to the user.

Many Chinese businessmen in Hong Kong and Taiwan swear by the use of the Lu Ban ruler. The Lu Ban ruler is also used extensively in Yin House Fengshui, a type of Fengshui specifically practised for the construction of tombs. Today, the Lu Ban ruler is widely used by Fengshui practitioners and Chinese craftsmen.

How to use the Lu Ban Ruler?

As mentioned, the Lu Ban ruler can be used to build custom made furniture with auspicious dimensions. For example, before renovating the house, one can specify the exact dimensions to the renovation contractor or make alterations based on these dimensions. Dimensions corresponding to the auspicious and inauspicious categories are indicated in red and black respectively.


Lu Ban Ruler

The ruler is divided into 8 categories. There are 4 auspicious categories (Body, Wealth, Righteous and Officer) and 4 inauspicious categories (Sickness, Separation, Robbery and Harm). Each category is further split into 4 smaller sub-sections. Each section measures about 6.3 cm in a repetitive cycle, alternating between auspicious and inauspicious categories.

In Fengshui theory, the harnessing of environmental Qi (energy) is important for the well being of the occupants. The experienced Fengshui practitioner will harness this energy through various methods such as by placing an object in a certain location or direction, or use the Lu Ban ruler to activate this via auspicious dimensions. While it was once a closely guarded secret used by court officials in ancient China, the use of the Lu Ban ruler has now been popularised and is known by the masses.

What Do The Categories Mean?

  • Body (本): auspicious objects or self to be used for harnessing good health.
  • Wealth (财): wealth and talent.
  • Righteous (义): right conduct and activities such as charity and can be used for the pursuit of academic interests or in a school environment.
  • Officer (官): a position of authority in government or in private sectors.
  • Sickness (病): sickness and unfavourable luck.
  • Separation (离): situations like the separation of loved ones or poor human relationships.
  • Robbery (劫): forced situations or loss of wealth.
  • Harm (害): bad situations and has to do with mental stress.

While the use of the Lu Ban ruler might be beneficial for the user, do take note that it will not conform the standard height of furniture. This is due to the different conversion methods used between the Lu Ban period and subsequent Chinese dynasties. The general rule of thumb is it should not cause too much inconvenience, as Fengshui is meant to harmonise with nature.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a specific recommendation or endorsement of any product. For professional help, please seek a certified Fengshui practitioner.

The Redbrick Team
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