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     The earliest example of a spoon-shaped "South Pointer," or Si nan can be dated as early as the Han Dynasty (2nd century BCE. "The spoon-shaped lodestone was placed on a cast bronze plate called a "heaven plate" or diviner's board that had the eight trigrams (Pa Gua) of the I Ching, as well as the 24 directions (based on the constellations), and the 28 lunar mansions (based on the constellations dividing the Equator).... The square symbolized earth and the circular disc symbolized heaven. Upon these were inscribed the azimuthal points relating to the constellations.... Its primary use was that of geomancy (prognostication) to determine the best location and time for such things as burials."

"Compass, China, 220 BCE,"

by Susan Silverman AC

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     The earliest recorded use of a lodestone to find direction is in a fourth century Chinese book, Book of the Devil Valley Master. In the T'ang Dynasty (7-8th century BCE the Chinese devised a way of magnetizing iron needles and suspending them in water, or heating iron needles red hot and then cooling them while they were oriented north-south. The needles were floated on a piece of wood or suspended  from a silk thread. By 1000 BCE  these compasses were used for navigation.
     Since the Chinese oriented their geographical thinking to the South their compasses were also "south-pointing."