Dublin Core


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).


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.

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Physical Dimensions

162x75x18mm (l x w x h)

Museum Ac. No.


Usage Rights

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Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD)



“Instrument: compass,” China, Art and Cultural Diplomacy, accessed August 8, 2022, http://www.rewialleyart.nz/items/show/387.