The Four Mythical Animals (Siling) Model
November 15, 2011
When someone is not familiar with the Chinese language and called a Siling model an armchair model, it loses some of its deeper meanings. Prof H.K. Yoon in his article “The Image of Nature in Geomancy”, explained Nature to the Chinese is alive, magical and personified; the “Siling” (“the four mythical animals”) has this connotation whereas calling it an armchair is dead and mechanical. From this misunderstanding we can see it helps to know a bit of the Chinese language and the Chinese world-view to study Feng Shui well.
According to Prof. Xu Subin from Tianjin University in her paper, “The Psychological Factors of Feng Shui”, which appeared in Prof. Wang Qiheng’s book “Research of Feng Shui Theories”, the Siling model can be compared to Kurt Lewin’s “psychological life space” and it is a Chinese way of dealing with the psychology of space, in which the form and configuration of the Siling created a spatial field that can “carry the Yin and embrace the Yang” and leads a spatial harmony and balance that can “gather the Sheng Qi” of the land and made the occupants feel comfortable and being embraced by the psychological field created by the physical form and configuration of the space.
It is an abstract modeling device used to plan homes, villages, towns and cities in China and has proven to be an effective way to deal with the psychology of an environmental space using Chinese philosophical concepts like Xing (Form Qi) and Qi (Formless Qi). The Siling configuration is not only a functionally efficient formation (protect the site from the cold wind and orientate to the warm sun) it is psychologically satisfying as well. So we can say it works to satisfy the basic human needs (being protected and being “loved”) and to improve the Feng Shui (environmental quality) of a site.