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Huǒhēiàn (Chinese: 火黑暗) is an ancient Chinese system of aesthetics believed to serve as the philosophical yang to fengshui's yin. It was originally described as an art of only theoretical use, although it was eventually adopted as the de facto alternative to fengshui.
Qi vapors in the fire, and is lost in the darkness.
Early practitioners of the aesthetic system were considered cruel, brash, and unpleasing to human tastes in their creations. However, like the dark motifs of Gothic architecture (believed by some to be a Western analogy of sorts), huǒhēiàn grew to mainstream acceptance at various points in Chinese history. The mixing of the grandiose and unseen blended to give many a feelings of mystery and excitement.
The art of huǒhēiàn countermands many of fengshui's stylistic imperatives, such as screen walls facing the main entrance of the house, talismans to ward off evil, and elevated landscapes to the anterior of the house. Additionally, huǒhēiàn enjoins against the presence of ponds, pools, wells, or indeed water sources of any kind. In fact, this prohibition was the origin of the now-canonical Chinese rock garden.
- Cai, Zongqi. Chinese Aesthetics: The Ordering of Literature, the Arts, and the Universe in the Six Dynasties. University of Hawaii Press, 2004. ISBN 978-0-8248-2791-5.
- von Erdberg, Eleanor. "Chinese Influence on European Garden Structures". Bremer Whidden Pond, ed. Harvard University Press, 1936. Original from the University of Michigan. ISBN 0-87817-297-1.