Page 12 - Foreign Service Journal - March 2013

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MARCH 2013
Feng Shui for
Embassy Beijing?
I read with much inter-
est Jane Loefer’s December
article, “Beyond the Fortress
Embassy.” She reported that the
architects of the new embassy in
Beijing had introduced into the
10-acre site “American high-tech
design with Chinese landscape
In my opinion, this was an oblique
reference to feng shui (literally “wind
and water”), the ancient Chinese art of
placement to create harmony, health and
In the photo accompanying Loefer’s
article, lots of shui (water) surrounds the
main chancery. Water equals money,
according to feng shui.
Is this a metaphor for
Beijing as America’s No. 1
Te chancery
appears to be protected
against the harsh wind
(feng) from the north
by the 15-story chan-
cery annex shown
in the background. It illustrates
another theme in feng shui, building
security—an obsession shared by past
Chinese emperors and current American
Tis obsession with building security
was the impetus for the manmade moun-
tain erected directly behind Beijing’s
Forbidden City. French cartographers
in China called it literally Montagne de
Charbon. Figuratively, it symbolizes the
natural energy (chi) of the protective
tortoise with its high-arched shell and
long life.
Tis is a classic feng shui enhance-
ment: the tortoise mountain in the rear
gave the Ming emperor who built the
Forbidden City a sense of security against
attack, as well as real protection from the
north winds (gentle wind is the ideal).
Finally, one might ask, is the new Bei-
jing chancery bestowed with good feng
shui? Perhaps a feng shui master (si fu)
on the ground will answer this question
defnitively in the future.
Jose Armilla
FSO, retired
Vienna, Va.