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Lo Pan and 28 Hsiu:

This Lo Pan contains 19 parts (compare the 19x19 Wei-Qi board).

Beginning at the center, they are:

1. a compass needle in the Central Pool of Heaven;

2. the 8 Trigrams in Correct Needle alignment and Later Heaven sequence (in the above image of the Lo Pan, the South-pointing compass needle points to the South Trigram of the Earlier Heaven Sequence, which is the Northwest Intercardinal Point of the Later Heaven sequence) (compare the Clifford sequence of the 8 Trigrams);

3. 24 sectors in Correct Needle alignment, containing the 9 Moving Stars, which are the 7 Stars of the Big Dipper plus 2 Assistants, which are near Mizar, the middle of the 3 handle stars. Mizar is about 88 light years away, with magnitude 2.27. Alcor, the first Assistant, and the 8th of the 9 Moving Stars, with magnitude 4.03, appears from Earth to be only 11 minutes 48 seconds away from Mizar so that it is hard to see them as separate stars without excellent eyesight or a telescope. Alcor and Mizar are both members of the Ursa Major group, and share the proper motion of the group. They are separated by at least a quarter of a light year.

Mizar is a visual binary star. The binary star pair, called Mizar A (magnitude 2.27) and Mizar B (magnitude 3.95), orbit each other. Mizar B is the second Assistant, and the 9th of the 9 Moving Stars.

Mizar (Mizar A and Mizar B) was the first visual binary system to be resolved by Europeans using telescopes, by Riccioli in 1650.

However, the resolution of Mizar A and the 9th Moving Star, Mizar B, may have been known to the Chinese much earlier. As Needham says (vol 4, pages 113 and 114): "... In sum, therefore, we may be justified in concluding that in the +1st century, and probably as far back as the -3rd century, biconvex lenses of glass could be artificially made. ... About +520 envoys of Fu-Sang are said to have arrived in China, bringing with them a precious stone suitable for observation of the sun of the size of a mirror, measuring over a foot in circumference, and as transparent as glass; looking through it in bright sunlight, the palace buildings could be very clearly distinguished. ..." Needham indicates that the location of the land of Fu-Sang is not known, and it is not even known whether the "palace buildings" referred to buildings on Earth, or to astronomical phenomena such as sunspots.

Both Mizar A and Mizar B are spectroscopic binary stars, and Mizar B has been shown astrometrically to be a triple star (compare the astrometric binary star Sirius), so that Mizar is a 5-star system. As Alcor is a spectroscopic binary star, the Mizar-Alcor asterism is a 7-star system at the middle of the handle of the 7-star Big Dipper.

4. 48 sectors in Correct Needle alignment;

5. 24 sectors, the Correct Needle Earth Plate Circle, containing the 4 characters of the 4 Trigrams of the Later Heaven Intercardinal Points, 8 of the 10 Heavenly Stems, and the 12 Earthly Branches;

6. 48 sectors in Correct Needle alignment;

7. 72 sectors in Correct Needle alignment, 60 of them containing the Stem-Branch Cycle of 60 = 5x12;

8. 120 sectors in Correct Needle alignment, 48 of them containing 4x12 = 48 Stem-Branch pairs;

9. 24 sectors, the Central Needle Man (Inner Heaven) Plate Circle, containing the 4 characters of the 4 Trigrams of the Later Heaven Intercardinal Points, 8 of the 10 Heavenly Stems, and the 12 Earthly Branches, shifted 7.5 degrees East of South from the Correct Needle Earth Plate Circle;

10. 120 sectors in Central Needle alignment, 48 of them containing 4x12 = 48 Stem-Branch pairs;

11. 60 sectors in the 5 Element alignment, containing the Stem-Branch Cycle of 60 = 5x12 in the same order as Circle 17;

12. 60 sectors in the 5 Element alignment;

13. 24 sectors in Seam Needle alignment;

14. 24 sectors in Seam Needle alignment;

15. 24 sectors, the Seam Needle Outer Heaven Plate Circle, containing the 4 characters of the 4 Trigrams of the Later Heaven Intercardinal Points, 8 of the 10 Heavenly Stems, and the 12 Earthly Branches, shifted 7.5 degrees West of South from the Correct Needle Earth Plate Circle;

16. 120 sectors in Seam Needle alignment, 48 of them containing 4x12 = 48 Stem-Branch pairs;

17. 60 sectors in the 5 Element alignment, containing the Stem-Branch Cycle of 60 = 5x12 in the same order as Circle 12;

18. 60 sectors constituting the 5 Element alignment, 58 of them containing the 5 Elements;

19. 28 Hsiu, covering 365.25 du (Chinese degrees),

as shown above in a chart prepared by David B. Kelley 
(compare the representation of the stars by the Giza pyramids):  
Eastern Palace - total of 75 du more or less:
1.  Chio, Horn, includes Spica, Arcturus, 
    and the handle of the Big Dipper, 12 du plus; 
    in ESE Trigram and Correct and Seam Needle Keng;  
2.  Khang, Neck, 9 du plus; 
3.  Ti, Base or Foundation, 16 du minus; 
4.  Fang, Room, 5 du; 
5.  Hsin, Heart, includes Antares, 6 du; 
6.  Wei, Tail, 18 du; 
7.  Chi, Winnowing-Basket, 
    includes part of Center of Milky Way, 9 du exact; 
    (Wei and Chi together correspond to the game Wei-Qi.)
Northern Palace - total of 92 du more or less:  
8.  Nan Tou, Southern Dipper, 
    includes part of Center of Milky Way, 22 du plus; 
9.  Chhien Niu, Cowboy, includes Altair, Northern Milky Way, 
    and Chih Nuu, Vega, Weaving Girl, 7 du, 
10. Hsu Nuu, Servant Girl, 11 du; 
11. Hsu, Void, includes Sal-al-sud, 9 du minus; 
12. Wei, Rooftop or Danger, 16 du; 
13. Shih, House, 18 du minus; 
14. Pi, Eastern Wall, 9 du; 
Western Palace - total of 81 du more or less:
15. Khuei, Stride, including M31, 18 du;  
16. Lou, Mound, 12 du plus; 
17. Wei, Stomach, 15 du minus; 
18. Mao, Pleiades, 11 du; 
19. Pi, Net or Hyades, 16 du exactly; 
20. Tsui, Turtle, (extent not stated); 
21. Shen, Orion, including Rim of Milky Way, 9 du; 
Southern Palace - total of 104 du more or less:
22. Ching, Eastern Well, including Rim of Milky Way, 
    30 du minus; 
23. Kuei, Ghost and Ghost-Carriage, including Praesepe, 
    (extent not stated);
24. Liu, Willow, 13 du exact; 
25. Hsing, Seven Stars, includes Niao, Alfard, Bird Star, 
    6 du;
26. Chang, Net, 17 du plus; 
27. I, Wings, 20 du minus; 
28. Chen, Chariot, 18 du plus. 
The total stated extent of all Four Palaces is 352 du, 
but no extent is stated for Hsiu 20 and 23, 
and some Hsiu are stated to be more (plus) or less (minus), 
so it is reasonable to say that 
the total du is probably the traditional value of 365.25 du.  
Here is a comparison of 
the extent in du, Chinese degrees, according to the Lo Pan 
the extent according to the Huai Nan Tzu: 
          Lo Pan         Huai Nan Tzu 
1.         12 +             12  
2.          9 +              9     
3.         16 -             15
4.          5                5
5.          6                5
6.         18               18
7.          9               11.25
8.         22 +             26 
9.          7                8
10.        11               12
11.         9 -             10
12.        16               17
13.        18 -             16
14.         9                9            
15.        18               16  
16.        12 +             12
17.        15 -             14 
18.        11               11
19.        16               16 
20.  (extent not stated)     2 
21.         9                9
22.        30 -             33
23.  (extent not stated)     4 
24.        13               15
25.         6                7 
26.        17 +             18
27.        20 -             18
28.        18 +             17
East       75 +/-           75.25
North      92 +/-           98
West       81 +/-           80
South     104 +/-          112
Total    352 +/-           365.25

The Seam Needle sectors are shifted West of South from the Correct Needle sectors by 7.5 degrees, or half the 15 degree width of a 24-part sector.

Therefore, the total width of a given 24-part sector including both the Correct Needle sector and its Seam Needle counterpart is 22.5 degrees, or roughly the inclination of the spin axis of the Earth to the axis of the Plane of the Ecliptic of the orbit of the Earth.

The shift of the Central Needle sectors similarly gives a 22.5 degree total width of a given 24-part sector, shifted East of South instead of West of South.

Perhaps the shifts were introduced to take into account the difference between the poles of the spin axis of the Earth and the poles perpendicular to the Plane of the Ecliptic of the orbit of the Earth, with both East and West shifts being needed to take into account all the different directions of the Earth's spin axis poles as the Earth's spin axis goes through the Precession of the Equinoxes, a 26,000 year cycle stabilized by the Earth's interactions with the Moon and the Sun.


The Earth Plate on which this Lo Pan is placed is a circular glass table top resting on an octagonal base containing an 8-sided mirrored chamber in which a globe of the Earth is placed, and representing the 8 Immortals and the 8 Trigrams in the Clifford Sequence:

The 8 side mirrors, along with the bottom mirror and the mirror of the glass table top, reflect in the 10 directions.

"Fa Tsang (643-712), the Chinese master of Hwa Yen Buddhism, prepared for the Empress Wu an octagonal room completely covered with mirrors, including the floor and ceiling. In the center he placed animage of the Buddha with a burning torch. He brought the Empress into this room and said (in part): Your Majesty, this is a demonstration of Totality in the Dharmadhatu. In each and every mirror within this room you will find the reflections of all the other mirrors with the Buddha's image in them. ... The principle of interpenetration and containment is clearly shown by this demonstration. Right here we see an example of one in all and all in one - ... [The interpenetration is like the NonLocality of Quantum Theory.]

"The principle of simultaneous arising of different realms is so obvious here that no explanation is necessary. ... [The different realms are like the Many-Worlds of Quantum Theory.]

"As for the principle of the nonobstruction of space, it can be demonstrated in this manner ... he took a crystal ball ... Your majesty, now we see all the mirrors and their reflections within this small crystal ball. Here we have an example of the small containing the large, as well as the large containing the small. ... [The small containing the large is like the Reflexivity of Octonions and is related to Fractals.]

"As for the nonobstruction of times, the past entering the future and the future entering the past ... One must reach a different level to be capable of witnessing a demonstration such as that." [An amplitude from the past entering into a transaction with an amplitude from the future is the structure of Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Theory that is used in the D4-D5-E6 physics model.]

One way to do a different-level time demonstration might be to regard the 8 mirror sides as the 8-dimensional spacetime of the vector space of the D4 Clifford Algebra Cl(0,8). Then 4 of them might be regarded as 4-dimensional physical spacetime, and 1 of those 4 might be regarded as representing time. The time mirror itself would be the present transaction between the past inside and the future mirror-image side.

The mirror floor and mirror ceiling would then represent the 9th and 10th dimensions of the vector space of the D5 Clifford Algebra, with signature (1,1) producing a NonEuclidean Hyperbolic Lorentz E8 lattice /\9,1.

Since the mirrors produce orientation-reversing reflections, they correspond to Spinor Transformations and include, but are not limited to, Rotations. Just as combining the Spin(0,8) vector representation with its D4 adjoint representation produces the D5 Lie Algebra whose Euclidean version is Spin(0,10) and whose Hyperbolic version is Spin(1,9), combining the Spin(0,8) spinor representation with D5 produces the E6 Lie Algebra, thus combining all 4 fundamental representations of Spin(0,8) and completing the Lie Algebra chain D4-D5-E6 of the D4-D5-E6 physics model.


All Lo Pan are not the same. Each has its own personality. For example, David B. Kelley, who enhanced the above Lo Pan image with Photoshop, has described a different Lo pan in this gif image.

Sources and References:

Burnham's Celestial Handbook (3 vols.), Dover (1978).

Encyclopaedia Britannica.

8 Immortals Go Across the Sea, Chinese International Video Corp., Asia TV Limited (1985).

Chinese Astrology, by Derek Walters, The Aquarian Press (1992).

The Living Earth Manual of Feng-Shui, by Stephen Skinner, Penguin (Arkana) (1982).

Chinese Symbolism and Art Motifs, by C. A. S. Williams, Charles E. Tuttle Company (1974).

Chinese Ivory Scupture, by Warren Cox, Bonanza (1946).

The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth, by Hua-Ching Ni, Sevenstar Communications Group (1994).

The Taoist Body, by Kristofer Schipper, (English translation of Le corps taoiste (1982)), Un. of California Press (1993).

Taoism, by Eva Wong, Shambala (1997).

Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, Cambridge University Press. Needham's Science and Civilization in China is many large volumes. A somewhat updated introductory summary is Li, Qi, and Shu, by Ho Peng Yoke (University of Washington Press, 1987).

The Fa Tsang quotation is from Garma C. C. Chang, The Buddhist Teaching of Totality, Pennsylvania State University Press 1971, as quoted by Saul-Paul Sirag in an Appendix to The Roots of Consciousness, by Jefffrey MIshlove, Council Oak Books, 1993).

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