Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Correct Ying Yang ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Correct Ying Yang
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: blort-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 23 Nov 2004 07:15 PST
Expires: 23 Dec 2004 07:15 PST
Question ID: 432859
Which direction does a "proper" ying-yang spin: clockwise or counter-clockwise?
Subject: Re: Correct Ying Yang
Answered By: cynthia-ga on 22 Dec 2004 16:09 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi blort,

This is incredibly complex.  It does indeed spin clockwise (right).
And counter-clockwise (left).  It is up to the artist to determine the
intent of the art, and to select the proper orientation.  I didn't
find a site that said that EXACTLY, but they explain it nevertheless.

Why Yin Yang Symbol looks like this way?
This page explains in painful detail why the symbol "should" spin clockwise. 
..."In general, the Yin Yang symbol is a Chinese representation of the
entire celestial phenomenon. It contains the cycle of Sun, four
seasons, 24-Segment Chi, the foundation of the I-Ching and the Chinese

The balance of Yin and Yang  (scroll down to this title)
..."Shown above, the image represents the true orientation of the Yang
and Yin. Yang, representing heat rises on the left (or East) and
reaches its peak at the top (South). Yin representing coolness
descends on the right (West) and reaches its maximum at the bottom

Even sites that "SEEM" to contradict this, do not, if you read them
carefully.  They state the same principles, and explain the opposite
orientation.  The clockwise orientation relates to the celestial
(heavenly), and counter-clockwise to the "terrestrial" (earthly).


Orientation of the yin yang symbol
Scroll down to "Orientation Choice"
...These orientation questions do not only seem complex, but are
complex. We have not only to pay attention to any possible confusion
between various associations, but also, within any association, to the
predominance of left or right according to the celestial or
terrestrial way considered..."

So, as an artist, your only responsibility to the symbol, to render it
in it's proper rotation... is to determine the INTENT of your art:
celestial as relating to heaven, stars, etc.  or --terrestrial, as
relating to earthly concerns.

I hope this shelps...


Search Terms used at Google:

"yin yang" orientation
"yin yang" direction

Clarification of Answer by cynthia-ga on 23 Dec 2004 09:19 PST

THANK YOU so very much for the 5 star rating, and especially the $25.00 tip !!!

I almost didn't Answer your Question because it was nearly expired, I
wasn't sure if you still wanted an Answer, --but I'm very glad I did.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours....


blort-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Outstanding!  Thank you SO much for the help!  This site is great - I
will definitely use it from now on.  Thanks again!  -Josh

Subject: Re: Correct Ying Yang
From: plethora121-ga on 23 Nov 2004 10:13 PST
Paul Halsall, a professor at Fordham University has created something
called the Internet History Sourcebooks Project, for use in historical

One of his sourcebooks is on East Asian History:

If you search for "yin-yang" on his page, there will be a link to an
image of a yin-yang:

It spins clockwise.

This was the closest to an authoritative source I could find.. ! But
also, just searching for "yin-yang" on Google Images will show
predominantly clockwise signs, if that helps any.
Subject: Re: Correct Ying Yang
From: blort-ga on 24 Nov 2004 01:33 PST
Yes, it is nice that the image at the link you point-to at
spins clockwise, as does the image on Wikipedia:

But the images at go counter-clockwise:

as do the ones at

Even more confusing, the Korean flag's ying-yang spins
counter-clockwise, but the Mongolian flag's yin-yang spins clockwise.

What I'm looking-for is some definitive explanation of when or why the
yin-yang should spin a particular direction.  For example, if it is
per the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun, this would mean
it would be clockwise in the Northern hemisphere, but
counter-clockwise in the Southern hemisphere
(  OR, please find
a source that explicitly states that it just doesn't matter at all and
the symbol can spin either direction and that it is stated explicitly
to be up to the whim of the artist.

Thank you!

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy