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Five elements

In Daoism [Taoism] the Five Elements represents various parts of the natural world such as Directions, Elements and Color. To be harmonious from a daoist point of view, there are thus a number of relations that should be considered in for example art and architecture, and which colors that should dominate.

Direction Element Color
East Wood Green
South Fire Red
NE/SW Earth Tan or Yellow
West/NW Metal White or gold
North Water Blue or Black

The Elements interact in a positive manner as follows:

Elements that react positively should be used together. For example: Water compliments both Metal and Wood, therefore a painter would combine blue and green or blue and white. There is no positive interaction between Earth and Fire, therefore, a painter would not choose to mix Yellow and Red.

The Elements interact in a negative manner as follows:

Elements that interact negatively should never be used together. For example: Fire will not interact positively with either Water or Metal so a painter would not choose to mix the colors of red and blue or red and white.

See also: The Eight Trigrams

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