The wuxing are in China, the five (wu) elements (xing) : an extensive classification system which determines all the elements and phenomena both at a cosmic level than at a human level.
The Five elements (or phases or movements) – along with the fundamental concept of yin and yang and the active principle Qi –make up the core of the traditional Chinese philosophy.
To each of those elements is associated a color, a music note, an organ, a cardinal point, a season, an emotion, etc.
The conceptual scheme of the five elements attempts to give a deep spiritual meaning of the world’s mechanisms and the cycles of life and of the universe. Every existing thing is subjected to the cycles of life and the universe’s and cycles of life and destruction.
The Yin cycle (domination / destruction)
The Wood chokes the Earth
The Earth dries the Water
The Water extinguishes the Fire
The Fire melts the Metal
The Metal slices the Wood.
The Five elements have a certain order. First come the Metal (jin), then the Wood (mu), then the Water (shui), then the Fire (huo) then the Earth (tu).
Those 5 elements interact, complete each other and exist simultaneously together within the cycles of destruction and creation.
The wuxing are defined as raw natural material, each with their own intrinsic dynamic playing a part in the grand scheme of things.
Thus, it is in the Water’s intrinsic nature to flow (downwards) and to wet. It the Fire’s intrinsic nature to rise (upwards) and to burn, the Wood can lie flat or stand tall, the Metal is docile and takes any form its given, the Earth’s primary essence is to be suitable for cultivation and harvesting.
The Chinese theory of the five elements thus succeeded to unify a multitude of different phenomena, to establish inter-relations between them and give them a deep and meaningful meaning within the universe. The constants flows between the elements are to be equilibrated and their energies balanced to prevent any disruption.
If one elements arein excess, its energy will weaken or increase excessively its opposite element. For instance, the excess of energy of the Metal will exhaustthe Wood’s energy and disproportionately raise the Water’s energy.
The right proportion of each elements is primordial to the balance of the universe and the nature’s harmony.
It appears that the Chinese dynasties have succeeded one another following the succession of the 5 elements or phases. And, each time a new emperor acceded to the throne, heaven sends a good omen to the men.
Therefore, during the Yellow emperor ascension giant earthworms and ants appeared in the sky so the Han dynasty was associated whit the element Earth. Afterwards, the Xia dynasty was associated with the Wood, the Zhou dynasty with the Fire and so on and so forth.