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Feng Shui Art

Good Feng Shui Portraits

 In the old days, only very wealthy families or members of the nobility with high social standing had family or individual portraits commissioned and because at that time photography had not yet been invented, these would often be painted by artists of renown and stature. Commissioning a painting of the family, of the Patriarch or of the Lady of the House was thus a very expensive indulgence. But it was also an aspiration of good fortune as hanging portraits of oneself or one’s family was the ultimate symbol of success, of having “arrived”.

Fast forward to the present and we know that creating portrait images of the family that are good enough to hang in the public rooms of the home is now well within reach of any average household. So this is a great way to create excellent family feng shui, something all families should seriously consider doing.

Family Portraits
Nothing works better at keeping a family together than having a very large and beautiful photograph or painting of the whole family hung up in the family or living room. With every member looking their best and exuding an air of happiness, the image will create a subliminal effect on the consciousness of everyone in the family.  

Each person in the photograph should be smiling - confidently and naturally. They should look well groomed and there should be an aura of love so the mood of happiness is instantly obvious. The family portrait that shows every member together and smiling creates the cause for them to be together for each other always. It impinges on their collective and individual consciousness and is a powerful way of ensuring the relationships between them all will always stay cordial.     

Spouses stay together and children will always remember their roots no matter how far away they travel from home to find their fortune. A really large family portrait also has the power to protect members from premature misfortune, especially when hung on a premier living room wall, facing a “bright hall” and enjoying good feng shui.

Even better is when the portrait is hung in a way that benefits everyone in terms of their personalized facing direction. So there should be some planning on how each person should sit and how each will face either towards the front or looking to the left or right. You should then take note of what these directions are when the portrait is hung up for display.

It is a good idea to show an auspicious setting that is suggestive of wealth and an ambience of luxury, or at least reflect a hint of the family’s special asset. This can be the father’s skill, his wealth, his high office or the family’s lineage. It can be the family’s reputation for scholastic success or the mother’s charity work… Anything that differentiates the family and which makes them proud can be reinforced in the portrait.  

Meanwhile, there should not be even the most remote suggestion of exposed beams or shelves hitting at the portrait when it is hung up, as these shoot “poison arrows” at the people inside the photograph. Any strong or negative energy directly hitting at any member of the family in the picture can translate into bad luck for the person. This is what is meant by bad feng shui. If the picture is to be taken outdoors, ensure there are no “clouds” created directly above the people in the picture.

 Portraits of the Patriarch
It can be even more impressive feng shui if there is a specially commissioned portrait of the family Patriarch, especially if he holds some high office or has been recognized for some skill which is the source of the family’s stature in society. The painted portrait used to be a status symbol as it always implied that only successful men who were important in society would have this done.

From the times of the ancient emperors till today, in China or in the West, to have a large painting done of oneself was a definite indication of success, or at least of high birth, great wealth or incredible power. In fact only emperors, kings, generals and men of high attainment had their portraits painted. Many of these of past heroes are hung in museums today.

Anyone visiting the museums of London, Saint Petersburg, Paris or New York can view some of the more famous portrait paintings of past leaders, kings, emperors, artists, writers and other “great men”. And if you were to visit the galleries of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, you will likewise also see paintings of emperors, saints and heroes.

The painted portrait has never gone out of fashion. Only the style of painting has changed as society’s tastes change. What we see today are modern painted versions of photographs, the most famous of which were those done by Andy Warhol which today are worth a small fortune.

Irrespective of changing tastes, the portrait continues to be popular. However, the feng shui dimension has now crept into the commissioning of one’s portrait. So whatever the style of portrait you create and hang in your home or office, remember that if you are the Patriarch, you must look authoritative and you should include the trimmings of your wealth - your “luxuries” and hobbies should somehow make their way into your portrait. And if you come from a noble family, perhaps even your lineage can be hinted at and reaffirmed. This strengthens the continuance of your family’s good name and fortune.

 Matriarchal Portraits
Women also feature strongly in power portraits and from a feng shui perspective, hanging a picture or painting of the Matriarch is as important (if not more so) than hanging one of the Patriarch. It is the mother figure that keeps the family together and her symbolic presence is a must in any home that wants to enjoy the nurturing care of family feng shui.

Traditional matriarchal portraits are best when accompanied by the trimmings of her stature and the premier role she holds within the family. She is best shown wearing the family jewels and if the family aspires to wealth and position, then symbols or indications of her possessions should also be displayed in the portraits. These aesthetic credentials can be hinted at – no need to be too obvious or blatant – but the whole picture should suggest someone of substance. The sense of her importance in the family and her moral authority so to speak must somehow emerge. Then only does it qualify to be a good feng shui portrait and her place in the family will then never be usurped. She will never be cast aside!

10 Tips or Taking Good Feng Shui Portraits
1.    Make sure every member of the immediate family are in the picture.
2.    Mother and Father should be seated and children should cluster round.
3.    Good for Father to wear formal attire looking successful.
4.    Good for Mother to wear bright red preferably something dressy.
5.    Good for Mother to wear family jewels and look ‘grand’.
6.    Sons should look formal and bright eyed.
7.    Daughters should look modest and sweet.
8.    Mother and father should be close and appear affectionate.
9.    Everyone should be smiling broadly.
10.    Whole family should form a triangle, a circle or a square.

10 Feng Shui Tips for Hanging A Family Portrait
1.    For feng shui purpose, the portrait should be quite large – big enough to register an impression and to dominate the energy of the room.
2.    Best place is to hang the family portrait in a room where family members spend most of their time together when they are at home. It should be well lit especially by natural light so that sunshine (however indirect) gives the portrait a regular dose of yang chi.
3.    The living room is a good place, but the portrait should not directly face the main front door. This suggests the family prefer going out to staying home.
4.    The family portrait should never directly face a toilet or bathroom as this could cause bad energy to hit at some members of the family. It is also not a good idea for the family portrait to be hung sharing a wall with a toilet, as this is as bad as facing a toilet. Nor should the portrait be hung directly under an upstairs toilet.
5.    The family portrait should not be hung directly facing the sharp edge of a protruding corner or be placed directly under an exposed overhead beam. These poison arrows can cause severe problems.
6.    The family portrait is best hung facing the sheng chi direction of the father or mother so it brings good fortune to at least one of the parents. If both can benefit from their good direction, it is even better and more auspicious.
7.    If there is a family altar in the house, the portrait should not be hung above the altar as this is deemed disrespectful to the deities on the altar.
8.    Never hang a family portrait directly under a staircase as this means you are all stepping on the luck of the each other on a regular basis. 
9.    Do not have the family portrait directly facing the kitchen or worse still, the cooking stove, as this brings negative energy to family members.
10.    Finally, always check if the family portrait has been hung in a location or facing a direction that is afflicted for the year. For instance for 2008, the South is terribly afflicted, so family portraits should best not face South AND should not be placed on the South wall of the house during the course of the year. This means updating the location of your family portrait each year. This is a good thing to do as it revitalizes the chi energy of the portrait considerably.



The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World (January/February 2008)". To subscribe, please click here.