Instrument: compass

One box-shaped red-brown wooden geomantic compass or luopan contained within a lacquered box. Upper part of front face contains a rectangular grid populated by Chinese characters in black and red pigment. Lower part of front face presents a minutely divided radial array occupied by Chinese characters in black and red pigment surrounding a central compass needle inset under glass. Underside of lacquer case exhibits gold-pigmented decoration comprising a rectangular border within which are contained the Chinese characters 皖休萬安街 老吳魯衡涵記製 (Anhui Province Wan-an street made by Wu Luheng).
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Provenance details
Wan-an is today known as Huangshan, Anhui Province. Since the late Yuan Dynasty, Wan-an has been a major production area for Chinese compasses (luopan 羅盤). Compass production in Wan-an reached its peak in the mid-Qing Dynasty. Wu Luheng (1702-1760), the maker of this compass, is one of the most famous figures in Wan-an’s history of compass production. The town of Wan-an still produces the traditional compass today.

Gifted to Canterbury Museum by Alley in 1937 during a visit to New Zealand. In 1956, loaned to the Rewi Alley Chinese Art and Crafts Exhibition, held at the Provincial Council Chambers, Christchurch.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 162 x 75 x 18mm (6 3/8 x 2 15/16 x 11/16")
Dimensions (LxWxH): 1800 x 960 x 210mm (70 7/8 x 37 13/16 x 8 1/4")
Dimensions (LxWxH): 1800 x 950 x 130mm (70 7/8 x 37 3/8 x 5 1/8")
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