In ancient China, calculations whether done in retail stores or home, the abacus is used as the trusted calculator by people.
Known as Suan Pan (算盤) or Qiu Pan (球盤), it was conceptualized during the Ming dynasty.
It is constructed with a frame of wood with skeletal bars running in one direction within the main frame. Wooden balls with a hole in the center would then line up the bars taking up about two-thirds of the whole length.
Sort of like linking beads together on a string in crochet jewelry.
As a picture says a thousand words, here is what a traditional Chinese abacus looks like.
While the traditional counting device is mostly made with wood, more wealthy families often get them made in precious metal such as gold, silver and bronze.
Abacus in culture
Superstitious shopkeepers are known to be meticulously careful with the handling of the instrument.
No patron will ever be allowed to touch it. Otherwise, it would be brought to the temple to be “cleansed”.
Every morning, it was standard protocol to give the object a gentle cleaning using wealth water. Part of the reason for this practice is to was away and mistakes or malpractices made the day before from the abacus.
And on each day, there is a conscious avoidance to start using the calculator in the morning. This is because it was believed that anyone attempting to kickstart the abacus in the morning, especially before breakfast, have unscrupulous intentions.
On top of that, many shop owners will only start using it on an auspicious hour of the day by referencing the Almanac (tong shu).
To increase it’s wealth energy, Chinese coins are often pasted on them.
When shaken vigorously, it is believed that evil would be driven away. This shaking is often done when a shop is opened and closed for the day.
Abacus in feng shui
Firstly, let’s start off by saying that toy abacus made for children to aid their development has nothing to do with feng shui.
Having them in the office would just make you a joke among your colleagues.
Now, on to the real thing.
As the abacus is a tool meant for the accounting of money, it is no surprise that it is a feng shui symbol for wealth luck.
And because it was mostly used in shops and business premises in the past, it is mainly connected to the success luck of businesses.
As such it is not a common feng shui item found in homes unless the residence consist of a family that runs a business.
When placed in the wealth locations of shops, the abacus is supposed to bring wealth and prosperity to the owners.
This is why they can often make ideal and appropriate gifts for business owners.
By the same token, when place in a house, the best location for placement would be the wealth locations.
As a display symbol of wealth, the common practice is to buy them made in metal material.
This because the metal element gives birth to water. And water generally represents wealth in feng shui.
The in modern office, the abacus is often used as a personal emblem on keychains by people associated with sales to call on good luck for the month’s sales targets.