The etymology of the word template has its roots in the word temple. You can imagine how geometry etched in plaster, stone or metal might have guided ancient temple construction. The temple plates became known as templates.

If you walk through a temple such as a church or mosque its template is typically pretty obvious if you stop to think about it, being that its plan is based on longstanding religious tradition. The meaning of older templates might not be so clear if the tradition has been broken or we have somehow lost the plot with the passage of time.

Modern building templates tend to respond to the practical needs of their owners, occupants or in some cases, the egos of their architects, rather than embodying celestial order as above, so below. However, there are many notable exceptions.

Lately I have been studying Asian architecture and urban design, and have noticed similarities between Angkor Wat and the Forbidden City.

Angkor Wat Forbidden City

The have roughly the same proportions and, similar but slightly different dimensions. Angkor Wat is ~888×1111 meters, not including its moat. The Forbidden City is ~888×1111 meters including its moat.

This comparison visually reminded me of a stereogram art piece I made back in 2010 called “Chasing Isis”.

Chasing Isis (object array stereogram)

Chasing Isis (object array stereogram)

Try staring unfocused at the pair of images until a third image appears in between the two images in your mind’s eye. Find this image in your perception and then slowly bring it into focus. When you see it clearly, it will be an unmistakeable Eureka! You will perceive an extra dimension of depth. I find stereograms like this a wonderful analogy for higher dimensions and the unseen realms that remain secretly hidden in plain sight until you perceive them.

Once you’ve got it, try moving your head very slightly from side to side to accentuate the parallax effect. I’ve written many articles about stereograms in my “Beyond Photoshop” column in Photoshop User magazine (I’ve written 62 articles there since 2007).

Taking a closer look at Angkor Wat, I see that the center of the sanctuary is located by the apex of a triangle whose slope angles measure 51°51′. The proportions of the island are 6:5 and at that scale, the faces of the “pyramid” have the proportion of 5.555 and the distance from the apex to the base of the island is 3.141, recalling π.

Angkor Wat geometric analysis

Angkor Wat geometric analysis

The ancient Egyptian template for the Great Pyramid also encodes π and 51°51′.

Thirteen Moons from Quantification

“Thirteen Moons” from Quantification

The Forbidden City uses a different template that appears to me to be based on the 3-4-5 triangle and its squares. The 3-4-5 triangle has the slope angle of 53°8′ and the apex of two back-to-back triangles locates the Hall of Preserving Harmony at the center of the Forbidden City.


The template shows that the dimensions of the squares are 3, 4, and 5 units. At this scale the gap between the apex of the “pyramid” and the 3×3 square measures .333 units and the gap between the intersections of the arcs and the 4×4 square measures .33 units. That’s a lot of Threes!

The Forbidden City template

The Forbidden City template

There are numerous geometric correlations between this template and the Forbidden City. Take a closer look.

Forbidden City geometric analysis

Forbidden City geometric analysis

Where have I seen squares measuring 3, 4, and 5 units on edge before? Oh yes, that’s Euclid’s 47th proposition. You remember, a squared plus b squared equals c squared?

Pythagoras' triangle

Pythagoras’ triangle

I know, really boring right? Well Euclid’s propositions can actually be quite entertaining or frustrating as the case may be. I couldn’t figure out Level 20 but sure had some geeky fun getting there.

Gary Osborn, Nicolas Poussin and John Michell taught me that the humble 3-4-5 triangle encodes the true proportions of the Earth and Moon…

Extended implications of Euclid's Proposition 47

The larger implications of Euclid’s Proposition 47

…and the tilt of the Earth.

The 3-4-5 triangle encodes the Earth's obliquity

The 3-4-5 triangle encodes the Earth’s obliquity

There is also this equation:


I’ve also shown how the 3-4-5 triangle and the golden rectangle encode the location of Dendera, the birthplace of Isis…

"Birthplace of Isis" from Quantification

“Birthplace of Isis” from Quantification

…and correlates with magic squares and their planetary associations:

"3-4-5 Magic"

“3-4-5 Magic”

Freemason writers such as Frank Higgins accorded the 3-4-5 triangle Egyptian significance by correlating it with Osiris, Isis and Horus. The squares planetary associations match the gods. Osiris = Saturn, Isis = Jupiter and Horus = Mars.


The 3-4-5 triangle is another ancient Egyptian template.

This just in…Urban Asplund says the dimension 888x1111m shared at Angkor Wat and the Forbidden City is suspiciously close to π squared times 100,000. In fact it is 99.98% the same. That is interesting not only because of π in Angkor Wat’s template but also because it measures 3141 km from Angkor Wat, Cambodia to Ellora, India. Here is how it looks when we connect the dots and continue hacking the world matrix:

Angkor Wat Greater Pyramid

Angkor Wat Greater Pyramid

The distance from the Forbidden City to Angkor Wat is 99% equal to the distance from Ellora to Angkor Wat, so we essentially have an isosceles triangle draped on the spherical geometry of the Earth. Mount Everest is on the base of this “greater pyramid”.