Han Dynasty Compass
This is a modern replica of the oldest instrument in the world which is known to be a compass. The spoon or ladle is of magnetic lodestone, and is supposed to be a symbolic representation of the Great Bear. The handle of the ladle points towards the South, and these compasses are sometimes called 'South Pointers'.
The base plate is made of bronze. The circular centre represents Heaven, and the square part represents Earth. There are Chinese characters representing the eight main directions of north, north-east, east, etc. There are also separately marked the 24 points of the compass, and along the outer edge the 28 lunar mansions.
Although the compass does point towards the South reasonably accurately, this type of instrument was not used for navigation, rather it was employed in geomancy. This ancient technique was used for aligning houses and cities harmoniously with the breaths and currents of the Earth's forces, which were partly detected with the aid of the compass.
The metal base plate is about 7.5cm x 7.5cm square. The 'ladle' is made of lodestone, and should not be dropped on a hard surface, or it may break.
CONTAINS MAGNETS. SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN 14 YEARS AND OVER
Made in China