Luo Pan, also known as the Chinese Compass, is a requisite tool in the practice and study of authentic Feng Shui.

Luo Pan is a very important tool to Feng Shui masters. Feng Shui masters need to use the Luo pan in their evaluation. The Luo pan is used to help them to determine the direction and orientation of buildings, rooms, furnitures, sites etc.

Luo pans have to be made with precision and care. Special materials must be used to make the luo pan. Thus for instance the best luo pans are made from very expensive oil wood, a wood so durable, it is said to last for a hundred years. Although cheaper substitutes are acceptable eg. plastics, cardboard or paper, they cannot be used for professional consultations.
The face of the compass ie where the rings are placed is known as the heaven dial and this sits on the wood base known as the earth plate. The heaven dial or face of the luo pan is usually made of carved or stamped copper plate. High quality luo pans have clear, sharp and well-crafted characters and measurement degrees, and they never rust.

The square base is traditionally red. This is to symbolise its auspiciousness. The magnetic needle in the centre points to the South. This is different as compared to a Western compass, which points to the North. When we use the Luo pan for the direction, we need not reverse the Luo pan. The two red threads intersect exactly in the centre, running the length and breadth from the middle of the plate's four sides. The inner dial is covered with circles and divisions, and sits on a square base. As there are many different types of Luo pans, the number of divisions and circles vary with each Luo pan. Different feng shui masters may even have a custom-made Luo pan made according to their own understandings and meanings.


 

 
 
 
 

References

[1] Your First Feng Shui Luo Pan By Joey Yap, http://www.houstonfengshui.com/page15.html

[2] Water Feng Shui for Wealth, Chapter 3, pg 50