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Compass, Square, Level and Line:

Didactic Symbols of China and Japan

Mark A. Riddle

[February 2010] [1]


Examining the Chinese Confucian classics (Confucius, Mencius, et al.), we find evidence that the tools compass, square, level and line were used as didactic symbols in ancient China.  But whereas in the West these same tools were used for didactic purposes in a tradition claiming an origin in masonry, we will find that that in China and Japan the use of these tools as didactic symbols was an aspect of the esoteric traditions of carpentry

Compass, Square, Level and Line in the Chinese Confucian Classics 

Confucius (c.551-479 B.C.) expressed the ideal of lifetime progress as: [2] 

gAt age 15 to desire learning;  at age thirty to stand [independently];  at age forty to being steadfast [lit. enot confused or deceivedf];  at age fifty to know the Will of Heaven, the meaning of onefs life [Chinese tien-ming, Japanese ten-mei];  at age sixty to be compliant [lit. eto have an ear to hear (and obey)f];  at age seventy, to be able to do whatever onefs heart desires without [lit.] going beyond the bounds of the carpenterfs square.h 

            English-language translations of this passage have masked Confuciusf reference to the carpenterfs square by not translating the word ju ( ), ethe carpenterfs square,f with its literal meaning.  Arthur Waley, the 20th Centuryfs leading translator of ancient Chinese works into English, for example, makes no mention of the carpenterfs square, translating instead as gthe boundaries of what was right.h  [3]

James Legge, Confuciusf 19th Century translator, similarly rendered this phrase gwithout transgressing what was right.h  Both followed the traditional exegetical explanation of ju ( ), the carpenterfs square, as indicating a standard, boundary, law, limit, or prescribed course. [4]  In ancient China, the carpenterfs square was used as a symbol for the distinction between right and wrong. 

            The square was not the only one of the tools of the carpenterfs trade to be used in this way.  We will cite examples of similar use in ancient China of three other symbols, the compass     (gui K  ), the level (zhun  ), and the line (plumb-line or ink-line, sheng,   ).  In the classics these symbols appear both separately and together.  For example, Burton Watson translates as passage from Hsun-tzu (c.312-230 B.C.) as follows. [5]                       

           If the plumb line is properly stretched, then there can be no doubt about crooked and straight; if the scales are properly hung, there can be no doubt about heavy and light; if the T-square and compass are properly adjusted, there can be no doubt about square and round; and if the gentleman is well-versed in ritual, then he cannot be fooled by deceit and artifice.

 The line is the acme of straightness, the scale is the acme of fairness, the T-square and compass are the acme of squareness and roundness, and rites arethe highest achievement of man.  Therefore, those who do not follow and find satisfaction in rites may be called epeople without directionf but those who do follow and find satisfaction in [ritual] are called emen of direction.f

 He who dwells in ritual and can ponder it may well be said to know how to think; he who dwells in ritual and does not [alter] his ways may be said to be steadfast.  He who knows how to think and be steadfast, and in addition has a true love of ritual—he is a sage. 

In this passage we find revealed the origin of these symbols in ancient ritual and their application as symbols in the didactic exercises of Confucian moralists.  The esagef is the moral paragon of Confucian philosophy—the perfected human being.  The compass, square, level (or scale) and line are taken as symbols of the principles by which one becomes a esagef of perfect wisdom and virtue. 

Passages from Mo-tzu (c.470-391 B.C.) are similarly revealing.  In a passage in Section 27, in which he is discussing obedience to the Will of Heaven, Mo-tzu is translated by Watson as saying: [6] 

The Will of Heaven is to me like a compass to a wheelwright or a square to a carpenter.  The wheelwright uses his compass to test the roundness of everyobject in the world....  Therefore he can tell in every case whether a thing is round or not, because he has a standard for roundness.  The carpenter uses his square to test the squareness of every object in the world... Therefore, he can tell in every case whether a thing is square or not, because he has a standard for squareness. 

In another passage in Mo-tzu, the use of the compass and square as means for judging morality is made explicit, as follows. [7]               

The Will of Heaven is to me like a compass to a wheelwright or a square to a carpenter.  The wheelwright and the carpenter use their compass and square to measure what is round and square for the world, saying eWhat fits these measurements is right; what does not fit them is wrong.f 

The Legalist philosopher Han Fei-tzu (c.280-233 B.C.)applied the same imagery in his writings about governance. [8]

    Though a skilled carpenter is capable of judging a straight line with his eye alone, he will always take his measurements with a rule; though a man of superior wisdom is  capable of handling affairs by native wit alone, he will always look to the laws of the former kings for guidance.

            Stretch the plumb line, and crooked wood can be made straight; apply the level and bumps and hollows can be shaved away...   In the same way one should use laws to govern the state, disposing of all matters on their basis alone.

            The law no more makes exceptions for men of high station than the plumb line bends to accommodate a crooked place in the wood. 

Mencius (c.372-289 B.C.) wrote:[9] 

            When the sage has exhausted his eyesight, he adds to it the compass, the square, the level and the line, and thereby makes [things] square, round, level and straight.

           The compass and the square are models for perfect circles and squares;  [in the same way] the sage is the perfection of human morality. 

As the esagef is the standard of perfection for morality, so the carpenterfs tools are symbols of the standards of right and wrong.  These symbols appear as an important part of Confucian teaching in China from the very beginning.  An early history, the eRecord of the Former Hanf gives the mythical origin of these symbols in yet another tool, the lever, as follows. [10] 

The lever revolved to produce the circle; the circle produced the square; the square produced the line; the line produced the level. 

All these symbols proved by an inseparable part of the long subsequent development of Confucian thought in China.  Later Confucianists called the act of balancing in onefs life the yang virtue loyalty (chung) and the corresponding yin virtue generosity (shu) gthe principle of applying a measuring square.h [11] 

These symbols eventually became proverbial in Chinese speech—the Chinese leader Deng Xiao-ping, for example, was once described by his predecessor, Mao Zedong, as follows: gHis mind,h said Mao, gis round and his actions are square.h [12] 

Similarly, in Japan the phrase eK     f (kikujunjou) means estandards, criteria, rules.f 

Heaven and Earth: the Circle and the Square 

We infer that the Confucian didactic use of these symbols has its origin in ancient Chinese temple ritual because the two forms circle and square are the basis of ancient Chinese cosmology and temple architecture, and the two tools used to make them, the compass and the set square, appear in early sacred iconography.  The Primal Couple of ancient China, the god Fu-xi (   ) and his consort, the goddess Nu-wa (  ), appear together in Han-era bas relief sculptures with intertwining serpentfs tails, from which their upper, human torsos emerge, indicating that they are two opposite, complementary and interdependent aspects of a single unity.  Nu-wa, on the right (left, facing) holds in her right hand a compass and Fu-xi, on the left (right, facing) holds a set square in his left hand.  As the Chinese phrase egui-juf (ecompass and squaref) means emoral sexual behavior,f Fu-xi and Nu-wa represent the primal hierogamy. [13] 

The Chinese hierogamy was, like many such ancient prototypes, also a union of Heaven and Earth.  gHeaven is round and Earth is squareh is the ancient Chinese world-view, [14] and the earliest Chinese temple form consists of two altars—one round, symbolizing Heaven and the other square, symbolizing Earth. [15]  In ancient China, as elsewhere, the temple is the point at which Heaven and Earth meet; a host of ancient Chinese cultural symbols represented the Heaven-Earth pair.  For example,

*the two essential vessels of all early Chinese ritual—funerals, sacrifices and feasts—were the square efuf vessels and round eguif vessels. [16] 

*Among the ancient artifacts most commonly found by archaeologists are the round ebif ( , commonly translated ejade discf), representing Heaven [17] and the square econgf (j  ), representing Earth. [18]

*The royal carriage of ancient China was also a microcosmic union of Heaven and Earth, consisting of a square body and round superstructure.[19]

*The royal person of the Chinese emperor was corporeally the product of a union of Heaven and Earth—the founders of Chinafs ancient dynasties were the products of, or descended from the products of, miraculous births resulting from the intercourse of Heaven and Earth, in the form of a virgin girl.  The designation eSon of Heavenf for the Chinese emperor was interpreted literally.[20] 

*A Han-era divination device called a shih consisted of a flat disc rotating over a square board, representing Heaven above the Earth. [21]

*The ancient Chinese temple building, the Ming Tang, or eHall of Lights,f had four square walls covered by a circular roof, expressing the union of Heaven and Earth, the idea that the temple is the point at which Heaven and Earth intersect. [22]

*In the eForbidden Cityf palace complex of Beijing today can still be seen the round Temple of Heaven and the square Altar of Earth. [23] 

Craft Guilds as Religious Societies 

So far, we have seen that tools of the carpenterfs trade were symbols used for didactic purposes in Chinese Confucian classics, that two of these symbols, the compass and the set square, appear in early sacred iconography and that the related concept ecircle and squaref is fundamental to early Chinese cosmology and ritual.  Now we will attempt find the origin of this link between tools and concepts in the religious nature of early craft guilds.  Then we will return to China and Japan to examine the practices of contemporary carpenter guilds and find in them reason to speculate about the origin of the four didactic symbols of Confucianism with which we started. 

Ancient craft organizations dimly revealed by the dawn of recorded history appear to be confraternities with both religious and social aspects—employing binding oaths to control the arts of the craft as secret mysteries and pledges of mutual support for each other in times of adversity and opportunity.  Examples include:*the Indian sreni—both religious and social motives were an important aspect of early Indian craft guilds.  Early Indian craftsmen tended to be itinerant, bound not to place but to each other in the sreni. [24]

*The Greek koinon appear in records of the 4th Century B.C. and flourished in Hellenistic times, especially in Ptolemaic Egypt. [25]

*The Roman collegia developed into the early medieval Italian ars, the French metiers, German Zunfte, English guilds and Spanish gremios.  

How far back into history can these organizations be traced?  Seemingly as far back as we have records—Joseph Campbell observes that the priesthood order responsible for Egyptfs art and architecture in stone was that of the temple compound of Ptah.  Within the precincts of that temple a multitude of master craftsmen and apprentices chipped and polished away, throughout the pyramid age, under the supervision of a high priest who bore the title wr hrpw hmwt, emaster of the master craftsmen.f [26]   The Akkadian word for a teacher of wisdom or learned person, ummanu, was borrowed from Sumerian and originally meant emaster craftsman,f [27]  illustrating the connection between craft and creed in ancient times.  The Shih Ching, the earliest Chinese history, in an account of the founding of a early royal capital by a pre-dynastic ancestor of the Chou people (who ruled China 1045-256 B.C.) speaks of a eMaster of Worksf who commands a multitude of craftsmen whose gplumb-lines were straighth and who gmade the temple in careful order.h [28]   

Traditions of Carpenters in China and Japan 

One wonders what the organization and practices of these ancient Chinese craftsmen might have been like.  Modern studies of archaic aspects of carpentersf guilds in China and Japan permit us to speculate that these traditions may preserve many of the attributes of the ancient carpentersf guilds whose tools became Confucian symbols of morality. 

In an important 1986 study, Klaas Ruitenbeek, now Louise Hawley Stone Chair of Far Eastern Art at the Royal Ontario Museum, describes the traditional Chinese carpenterfs manual, the Lu Ban

 Jing, which Ruitenbeek believes was compiled in its current form in the second quarter of the 15th Century. [29]  In it we learn that traditionally, a house in China was built to ensure the good fortune of those who live within it; geomancy, astrology, numerology and chronomancy are all involved in building to ensure good luck.  Siting is provided by a geomancer; an almanac gives auspicious and inauspicious days for about 75 different categories of human actions, ten of which concern the building of houses. 

The work begins with procuring the wood, with care taken to not interfere with evil emanations of the earth.  The ridgepole, in particular, must be protected;  women and children are not allowed to come in contact with it.  Dimensions correlate with schemata which Ruitenbeek calls ga secret system of carpentersh in which gthe favorable dimensions of a door or some other part of a house vary with the orientation...  The elements of this system are contained in secret manuscript manuals which many of the older carpenters in Taiwan still treasure.h 

Of critical importance is the ceremony of the placing of the ridgepole.  Elements include:

*incense and candles;

*meat of three sacrificial animals; fruits and wine;

*prayers to related deities;

*a steelyard, a line marker, a compass and a square—each in its proper place;

*ritual recitation of a sacred text, with ritual gestures;  and

*exorcistic exercises. 

In short, in the traditional way of building of a house in China, gtechnical operations are inseparably intermixed with ritual and magical operations.h   Among the cosmological schema  employed in the Lu Ban Jing is the idea that horizontal measures belong to the Earthly Mother (di-mu) and vertical measures to the Heavenly Father (tian-fu).   

Among the studies of Japanese carpentry is that of William H. Coaldrake, [30] who emphasizes the gdeep religious meaningh of the Japanese eWay of the Carpenter.f  Most striking are the similarities we can note between the Chinese ridgepole ceremony and that of Japan, the muneage-shiki.  In traditional Japanese practice, the chief master carpenter donned the robes of a Shinto priest to intone ancient ginvocations and blessings.h  Also in Japan, construction procedures are recorded and passed down in secret hereditary writings.  At the Japanese ridgepole ceremony, a special set of adzes, saws, inkpots and squares are purified and blessed as part of the rites. [31] 

According to Coaldrake, git is difficult for the outsider to gain entry into the secret worldh of the master carpenter of Japan, a world of esoteric rituals.[32]   Another student of Japanese carpentry, S. Azby Brown, [33] also emphasizes the importance of ritual, geomancy, and orientation.  He points out that at the New Year the carpenter ritually offers sake and o-mochi (rice cakes) to his tools, expresses his gratitude, and promises to treat them with respect. [34] 

Noted British architect, critic and historian Kenneth Frampton (b.1930; Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University)  relates important aspects of the history of carpentry in Japan, as follows. [35] 

*The first continental guild carpenters of Japan probably were the Buddhist temple carpenters

who came from Korea in 577 and 588 A.D. and by 596 had built the first Buddhist temple in

Japan, Asuka-dera.

*The Shosaku-kan, first government bureau in charge of construction in the late 6th Century, was

headed by an immigrant, probably from China. 

*The Imbe clan was a hereditary hierarchy of carpenter-priests with jurisdiction over the state

cult (Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples) and imi-kura (state storehouses) in the 7th and 8th


*Most medieval Japanese carpentry guilds (za) were associated with large Buddhist temples. [36] 

Frampton calls Japanese carpentry ga spiritual mystery into which an individual must be initiatedh and compares this to the Italian term for ecraft,f mystere and, explicitly, to the secret initiation rites of Western freemasonry. [37] 

As a final example of the significance of religious ritual in Japanese carpentry, we cite the New Year ritual, chouna-hajime, the ceremonial first use in the new year of the hand axe to shape wood.  Prominent mention is made in this ritual of Shoutoku Taishi (573-621 A.D.), said to be the founder of carpenter traditions. [38]

Origins: Back to the Near East


Remarkable is the similarity between Japanese and Chinese carpentry traditions, especially the ridgepole ceremony, considering that their only likely point of historical contact came 1,200-1,400 years ago.  That both traditions have evidently been so tenaciously conservative permits us to speculate that if we were able to go back another 1,400 or more years, to the pre-Zhou-era Chinese eMaster of Works,f we would not be surprised to find cosmological concepts and ritual practices very similar to those still extant today.  We may therefore be justified in concluding that the use of the compass, square, level and line as didactic symbols in the classical texts of Confucianism does indeed have its roots in ceremonial traditions of ancient Chinese carpentry guilds.   Speculating further on the basis of our evidence, we may be permitted to envision a world-wide diffusion of  cosmological concepts and ritual practices preserved and passed down by guilds of craftsmen—masons, carpenters—likely emanating from an early Near Eastern source—at the time and place of the earliest monumental temple-building. [39] 

This much is known: (1) the oldest text in which carpentersf tools are used as metaphors and didactic symbols seems to be that of Isaiah; see 28:17, elinef and eplummet;f 34:11, elinef and eplummet;f and 44:13, elinef and ecompassf with specific mention of the ecarpenterf (all RSV).  And (2) the oldest artifacts embodying these meanings are two Egyptian funerary amulets, the square and the plummet. 

Flinders Petrie [40] speculates that the Egyptian kheses amulet, the square, meant erectitude.f  gAlways associated with the plummet,h the seqeq, it is found placed on the chest, left breast, or on the stomach.  The plummet, he says meant eequilibriumf and gwas always worn to impart an evenly-balanced mind.h  Both were most often made of haematite.   

Carol Andrews [41] says the ecarpenterfs set square and plummet (or plumb line)f are galmost invariably found togetherh in burials from the Saite Period (672-525 B.C.) and later, and that both were known in Egyptian under a single name, seb3.  gPossession of a set-square amulet would guarantee its owner everlasting rectitude, a plummet eternal equilibrium.h  

The Greek eGnomonf and Diffusion Issues: Egypt and China

The vertical part of a sundial, the part that casts the shadow, is a gnomon.  eGnomonf (ώʃփ) is an ancient Greek word meaning eindicator,f eone who discerns,f or ethat which reveals.f  Often overlooked is the fact that a gnomon itself is the carpenterfs square.  Said (in the Byzantine Suda) to have been introduced to the Greeks by Anaximander of Miletus (c. 610–c. 546 B.C.), the gnomon played an important role in the mathematics (a gnomon is a right triangle, of course) of the Pythagorean Brotherhood. [42] 

Herodotus claimed that much of Pythagorean ritual came from Egypt, and late medieval/early modern Rosicrucians and Freemasons claimed descent from the Pythagorean Brotherhood, but any suggestion of a continuous tradition of the use in the West of the square, the compass and other such tools as symbols for didactic and/or ritual purposes, from ancient times to today, is necessarily speculative, and comparisons of Eastern and Western traditions even more so.  Still, comparisons such as that made by Frampton (above) of Japanese carpenters with Western Freemasons seem inevitable.   

To cite another example, Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943), famous archaeologist and explorer of Central Asia, in his account of painted silk hangings found in tombs dating from the 7th Century near Astana (now in Kazakhstan), [43]  mentions the gmasonic emblemsh in the hands of Fu-hsi (who holds ga masonfs squareh) and his consort Nu-wa (who holds a pair of compasses), and mentions gtwo other objects not recognizable but perhaps plummet and lines.h   Now, if the two objects are gnot recognizable,h [44] how are they identifiable as gplummet and linesh?  The answer can only be that Stein knew these symbols belong together in ensemble, likely due to his knowledge of gmasonic emblems.h 

Of what significance is the fact that 2,500 years ago, moralists in both Egypt and China made use of tools of the carpenterfs trade for didactic purposes?  To the author, inferences implying diffusion of these symbols from a common ancient source, seem inevitable.  Consider the parallel suggested by art historian Elsie Mitchell [45]  between the Egyptian gtwin lion godsh Shu and Tefnut who pull at ropes to maintain control of the sun, and Chinese lion dogs, frequently represented as holding ropes or ribbons in their mouths.  Mitchell says gScholars can only speculate on the possibility of Egyptian influence on the art and religious symbolism of East Asia. There are many interesting parallels.h  [46]     

Parallels do not, of course, prove historical connections, but the author believes that a phenomenon considered herein—the preservation into modern times of archaic elements, in the traditions of both Chinese and Japanese carpentry—provides evidence making at least plausible the suggestion that craft guilds may have been the vehicle for a world-wide transmission of symbolic meanings for the compass, square, level and line (plumb-line or ink-line). [47]

[1]   An earlier version of this paper was read by the author at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, August 1990.

[2]   Analects 2:4; this is the authorfs translation—the passage is often translated in the past tense and taken to be autobiographical rather than prescriptive.  See James Legge, Confucius (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1898; rep. NY: Dover, 1971) pp.146-7 for the Chinese text and Leggefs translation.

[3]   Waley, trans., The Analects of Confucius (NY: Random House, 1938); for a comparison with the Greek gnomon, see the Appendix below.

[4]   Toudou, Akiyasu, Kanwa Daijiten (Gakken, 1978) pp.904-5 

[5]   Burton Watson, trans., Basic Writings of Mo-Tzu, Hsun-tzu and Han Fei-tzu (NY: Columbia U., 1967) p.95.  In general, I retain the various Romanizations of each author rather than standardize them.

[6]   Ibid., p.92

[7]   Ibid., p.83; Mo-tzu Section 26

[8]   Ibid., Han Fei-tzu Section 6

[9]   My translations; compare Legge, The Works of Mencius Vol. 2 of The Chinese Classics, 3rd ed., (Hong Kong U., 1960), pp.288, 292; Mencius 4:1:1 and 5; 4:2:1.  The Chinese esheng renf (lit. eholy personf), here translated esagef could just as well be translated esaint.f

[10]   cited at Legge, 1960, p.290n

[11]  Fung,, Yu-lan, A History of Chinese Philosophy, trans. Derk Bodde, (Princeton U., 1952) p.43

[12]  According to Harrison E. Salisbury, Time, Sept. 30, 1985

[13]  A color reproduction of an ancient representation of the pair found in Xinjiang may be seen at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu_Xi .  See also Marcel Granet, Chinese Civilization (NY: A. Knopf, 1930), frontispiece (Plate 1) and Granet, gRight and Left in Chinah in R. Needham, ed., Right and Left: Essays on Dual Symbolic Classification (U. Chicago, 1973), pp.56-7.  And  see Derk Bodde, Essays in Chinese Civilization (Princeton U., 1981)p.62; Schwartz, Benjamin I., The World of Thought in Ancient China (Cambridge MA: Balknap, 1985), p.426 n.38

[14]  See Soothill, William Edward, The Hall of Light: A Study of Early Chinese Kingship, (London: Lutterworth, 1951), p.162 and Fung, op.cit., I:397.  Squareness was yin—earthly, motherly, dark, soft, shaded, cool, wet, waning, bending, negative, receptive and of water. Roundness was yang—heavenly, fatherly, light, hard, dry, waxing, stubborn and aggressive, positive, penetrating and of fire; see Fung, op.cit., I:382-3 and Appendices I and V of the I Ching.  The round was also associated with the right and odd numbers and the square with the left and even numbers; see Granet (1973) pp.56-7.  Granet discusses other dyadic symbols, including (p.45) the significance of uncovering either the right or the left shoulder.

[15]  Henri Maspero, China in Antiquity, trans. Frank Kiernan, (U. Mass., 1978), pp.120-1; the Chinese Tree of Life stood upon the square Earth altar and at its foot was a square stone tablet which was smeared with the blood of sacrifices; see also Marcel Granet, Religion of the Chinese People, trans. M. Freeman, (NY: Harper & Row, 1975) pp.76-8.

[16]  The kanji for these, with drawings, are at Toudou, op.cit., pp.969, 972; see photos at:


[19]  And the dais within was decorated with the 28 signs of the lunar zodiac; see Soothill, op.cit., p.46.

[20]  Maspero, op.cit., pp.86ff.  Granet generalizes of China (1930, p.180) that gEvery ruling race is attached to a Founder.  The birth of this later is due as a rule to a miracle.h

*The mother of the mythological Yellow Emperor is said to have conceived on seeing a great flash of light from the location of the star Alpha Dubhe in Ursa Major (Soothill, op.cit., p.117).

*The earliest Yellow River area dynasty, the Yin, claimed descent from Hsieh, whose virgin mother, Chien-ti, conceived from eating an egg dropped by a swallow (Maspero, op.cit., p.87).

*Chiang Yuan, the mother of the Chou, conceived by stepping in the footprint of a giant

(Granet, 1975, pp.156-7).

*Kao-chu, founder of the Han dynasty, was fathered by a dragon (Granet, 1930, p.42).

            On the other hand, the first Qin emperor, the first to unite all of China (221 B.C.), whose book-burning earned himself the enmity of subsequent Chinese Confucian scholars, is specifically said to have not been a eSon of Heavenf (Granet, 1930, pp.37, 42).   The eSon of Heavenf idea proved durable—even Genghis Khan was said to have been the fruit of a virgin birth (Robert Ellwood, The Feast of Kingship [Tokyo: Sophia U., 1973] pp.21, 32). 

[21] Toudou, op.cit., p.648;  Michael Lowe, Ways to Paradise: The Chinese Quest for Immorality (London: Allen & Unwin, 1979), p.80, Fig. 12

[22] see Soothill, op.cit. and Granet (1930) on the Ming Tang

[23] William Watson, Art of Dynastic China (1979), pp.510-13, with photos

[24] G.L. Adhya, Early Indian Economics (Bombay, 1966), pp.83, 91; also spelled shreni

[25] H. Mitchell, The Economics of Ancient Greece (Cambridge, 1957), pp.141-2

[26] in The Masks of God, Vol. 2, Oriental Mythology (1962) p.94

[27] Mircea Eliade, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion (Collier Macmillan, 1987), XV:393

[28] quoted in K.C. Chang, Art, Myth and Ritual: The Path to Political Authority in Ancient China (Harvard U., 1983), p.18

[29]  gCraft and Ritual in Traditional Chinese Carpentry,h Chinese Science, 1986, 7:1-23; Lu Ban was the patron god of carpenters.

[30]  The Way of the Carpenter: Tools and Japanese Architecture (NY: Weatherhill, 1990).

[31]  Ibid., p.10, photo of an 18th Century set of ceremonial carpenterfs tools

[32]  Ibid., p.11

[33]  in The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: An Account of a Templefs Construction (Kodansha, 1989)

[34]  p.69; his account of the Japanese ridgepole ceremony is on pp.149ff., with photos.

See also Michael Jeremy and Michael E. Robinson, Ceremony and Symbolism in the Japanese Home (Manchester U., 1989), pp.146, 169 for a description of a tatemae dedication ceremony involving carpenters as ritualists

[35]  with co-authors Kudo, Kunio, and Keith Vincent, Japanese Building Practice: From Ancient Times to the Meiji Period, (John Wiley & Sons, 1997)

[36]  Ibid., pp.48-9, 51, 56; Japanese carpentry guilds no doubt owe their origin to immigrants from the continent in the late 6th, and throughout the 7th Centuries.  The author knows of no other likely possible points of contact between subsequent continental and Japanese carpenter guilds.

[37]  Ibid., p.16

[38]  Nishitsunoi, Masayoshi, Nenjuu Gyouji Jiten (1965), s.v. eChouna-hajime.f  For a recent photo of a Chouna-hajime ritual at Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine, see:  http://www.kamakuratoday.com/e/event.html .  Elements of the biography of Shoutoku Taishi—born in a stable, a worker of miracles and associated with carpentry—have been seen by some Japanese Christians as having been influenced by pre-Jesuit Japanese Eastern (eNestorianf) Christianity.

[39]  For an interesting example of a world-wide diffusion theory see Terence Greider, Origins of Pre-Columbian Art, (Austin: U. Texas, 1982).

[40]  W.M.F. Petrie, Amulets (London: Constable, 1914; repr. Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1972), p.16 and Plate IV

[41]  Amulets of Ancient Egypt, (Austin: U.Texas, 1994), pp.85-7, 104. 

[42]  Reginald Allen, Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle (NY: Free Press, 1966), pp.8-9, 31

[43]  Sir Aurel Stein, Innermost Asia: Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su, and Eastern Iran, 3 vols., (Oxford: Clarendon, 1928), II: 664-6, 707

[44]  see Stein, op. cit., III: Plate CIX

[45]  in The Lion Dog of Buddhist Asia, (NY, 1991) p.58 and plate 52

[46]  The many ginteresting parallelsh between the Egyptian pair Shu/Tefnut and the Chinese pair

Fu-xi/Nu-wa are another likely topic for further discussion of evidence for diffusion.

[47]  Prof. Hugh Nibley took up some of the themes addressed in this paper, apparently in 1975, citing, of the sources cited here, Stein and Petrie.  Evidently his illustrator, Michael P. Lyon, also contributed to this effort.  See Nibley, Temple and Cosmos, Vol. 12 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), Ch.3. 

Another LDS author, Bryce Hammond, provides additional information about Fu-xi and Nu-wa at:  http://www.templestudy.com/2008/09/17/nuwa-and-fuxi-in-chinese-mythology-compass-square/ .  Particularly interesting is the following from Hammond:

gAccording to the Chronicles of the famous Chinese historian Sima Qian,

the Emperor Yu of Xia (who reigned in the twenty-first century BCE), when attending to floods, carried with him ea plumb line in his left hand and a gnomon and compass in his rightf in order to do the surveying required to bring the floods under controlh  (citing

Victor Katz and Annette Imhausen, The Mathematics of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, India, and Islam (Princeton U., 2007).