14. Death, Afterlife, Tombs, Ancestral Cult


Abraham, Terry and Priscilla Wegers. "Respecting the Dead: Chinese Cemeteries and Burial Practices in the Interior Pacific Northwest." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.147-173.


Aijmer, Göran & Virgil K. Y. Ho. Cantonese Society in a Time of Change. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2000. [Note: See chapters 8 through 13 for information on ancestral cult, temples, and the revival of popular religion in Pearl River Delta villages.]


Aijmer, Göran. "Landscape and Mindscape in Southeastern China: the Management of Death in a Mountain Community." Journal of Ritual Studies 21.2 (2007): 32-45. 


Aijmer, Göran. “Cold Food, Fire and Ancestral Production: Midspring Celebrations in Central China.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series 20.3 (2010): 319-344.

Abstract: This article seeks to explain the traditional celebration of Cold Food and some other springtime customs in the mid-Yangzi basin in central China. In these rituals the ancestors and their influence in the production of new rice were highlighted while, at the same time, social reproduction through women was temporarily suspended. Female generative energy was not allowed to compete with the creative force of the ancestors in the fields. Cold Food is seen as a trope on seasonal agricultural tasks. The myth of moral constancy, which accompanied the festival, was on another deeper level an iconic exploration of the preparation of the agr icultural fields. Death was seen to propel life, ancestral energy being transfer red to the living through rice.


Aijmer, Göran. "Erasing the Dead in Kaixiangong Ancestry and Cultural Transforms in Southern China." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 10, no. 2 (2015): 38-52.


Aijmer, Göran. "Writ in Water: Ancestry among Cantonese Boat Populations." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong 56 (2016): 67-91.

Abstract: This article explores the ancestral cult among boat-dwelling fishermen on the South China coast, based on ethnographies of Hong Kong and Macau. What seems to differ from ritual practices ashore can tentatively be shown to be a cultural transformation, in which ‘rice’ has been exchanged for ‘fish’ as the semantic core of the iconic grammar. Fishermen and peasants appropriate their ancestors somewhat differently but for similar ends. (Source: http://www.gu.se/english/research/publication?publicationId=241660)


Aijmer, Göran. "Ancestral Force in Iconic Imagery: Death and Continuance in a South China Village." Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no. 2 (2017): 151-171.

Abstract: This essay discusses idioms of continuance in a village in southeast China, based on what was recorded some one hundred years ago by an American sociologist, Daniel Harrison Kulp II, and his research team. This discussion is focused on the cult of the dead with a bearing on the construction of a powerful past influencing the building of a future, in terms of both agricultural production and the creation of new children. The discussion suggests that the iconic imagery of ancestral force as propelling the vegetative power of the earth was transformed here along with certain changes in the productive order, while the social aspect of the dead as constructors of the future lineage community remained conservatively intact, despite some dramatic innovations in the operational order. It also suggests that the strong canopy of agnatic ideology expressed in the cult of the dead found a counterpoint in a local temple. (Source: journal)


Aijmer, Göran. “Ancestors and Ancestry in Southwestern China: Transforms in Tradition.” Anthropos 113, no. 2 (2018): 437-452.


Arbuckle, Gary, "Chinese Religions." In: Harold G. Coward [ed.], Life After Death in World Religions. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997. Pp. 105-124.


Armstrong, David E., Alcohol and Altered States in Ancestor Veneration Rituals of Zhou Dynasty China and Iron Age Palestine. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998.


Aubin, Françoise, "China: A Down-to-Earth Hereafter." Unesco Courier 51(1998)3: 10-14.


Bai Bin. “Religious Beliefs as Reflected in the Funerary Record.” In: John Lagerwey and Lü Pengzhi [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part Two: The Period of Division (220-589 AD). Leiden: Brill, 2010. Pp.989-1073.


Barnett, W. Laurence. “Dealing with the Dead: Rituals of Trance, Transition and Transformation in a Taiwan Temple.” Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 2004.

Abstract: The Taiwanese experience their dead as demanding recognition. The dead will not go away. They are difficult to deal with and Taiwanese spend much time and resources on rituals focused on the dead. In this study I examine four principal rituals performed at Kitchen God Temple in Yilan County, Taiwan: Daily soul retrieval, annual Rescue Ritual, rites to placate the discontented dead during the Ghost Festival, and birthday celebrations for the gods. I argue that the living ritually produce the dead as the source of their own productivity (children produce parents) and the embodiment of unfilled fantasies of autonomy and relatedness. By seeking to close the symbolic gap in social relations created by death through the re-integration of named dead into kinship relations, or denying the generic discontented dead such sociality, the living reproduce a certain kind of family in which individual desires are subordinated to the collectivity and juniors submit to seniors. The conceptual issues that inform this study are the production of the person as praxis, exchange, gender, and the place of the dead in Taiwan society, all within an approach that privileges the transformative power of ritual activity.


Berezkin, Rostislav. “Precious Scroll of the Ten Kings in the Suzhou Area of China: With Changshu Funerary Storytelling as an Example.” Archív orientální 84, no. 2 (2016): 381-412.


Brashier, K.E., "Longevity like Metal and Stone. The Role of the Mirror in Han Burials." T'oung Pao 81(1995)4-5:201-229.


Brashier, K.E., "Han Thanatology and the Division of Souls." Early China 21 (1996): 125-158.


Brereton, Brian G. "Taiwan’s Mythological Theme Parks: Mnemonic Guardians and Uncanny Imaginaries." Acta Orientalia Vilnensia 7.1-2 (2006): 61-76.

Abstract: This paper analyzes the mnemonic roles of mythological theme parks in contemporary Taiwan. I investigate two popular theme parks, Madou’s “Prefecture that Represents Heaven” (???) and its single Taiwanese precedent, the “Palace of Southern Heaven” (???) in Zhanghua. I term these sites “mythological theme parks” because they differ significantly in form and function from other popular religious temples throughout Taiwan and China. Though both theme park and temple are loci of social production and reproduction, the nature of interaction at mythological theme parks resembles in many ways that which occurs at the imaginary realms manufactured by secular theme parks. These mythological theme parks feature moral imaginaries displayed in sculptural and animatronic depictions of the afterlife and acts of filial piety. My study addresses both textual sources and ethnographic data, collected while conducting fieldwork during the summers of 2004 and 2005, to evaluate how these mythological theme parks culturally convey the past into the present.


Brereton, Brian G. “Addressing Enduring Ethnocentricities through a Critical Investigation of the Historiography of Chinese Hell.” Critical Studies in History 1 (2008): 2-26.

Brereton, Brian Gosper. “From Flesh to Fantasy: Contemporary Conceptions of the Chinese Afterlife in Spirit-travelogues and Mythological Theme Parks.” Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 2009.

Abstract: My dissertation analyzes the influence of conceptions and representations of the religious afterlife on individual and collective action in contemporary Taiwan. The critical study of representations of the Chinese afterlife has occurred almost exclusively in their anthropological locus classicus : the ancestral tablet, funerary ritual, and the underworld (Ahern 1973; Wolf 1974; Cohen 1988). My research, which builds on these foundtional inquiries, focuses on two alternative and fecund fields of otherworldly (re)production and representation: recent textual depictions of the afterlife and mythological theme parks. In this study, I will address both textual sources and ethnographic data to launch an inquiry into three key research questions concerning conceptions of the afterlife in Taiwan today: namely, (1) the struggle between individual desire and collective concerns, (2) the applicability and adaptability of traditional models of the religious afterlife, and (3) the processes by which representations of the afterlife illuminate and influence contemporary social systems. My analytical framework - inspired by practice theory, psychoanalytic thought, and psychological anthropology - illuminates an otherwise overlooked integrity in conventional Chinese conceptions of the afterlife and reveals the emotional correlates of their continuities and changes in current Taiwanese society.


Brown, Miranda, "Did the Early Chinese Preserve Corpses? A Reconsideration of Elite Conceptions of Death." Journal of East Asian Archaeology 4(2002): 201-223.


Brown, Tristan G. “The Deeds of the Dead in the Courts of the Living: Graves in Qing Law.” Late Imperial China 39, no. 2 (2018):109-155.


Campany, Robert F., "To Hell and Back: Death, Near-Death and Other Worldly Journeys in Early Medieval China." In J.J. Collins & M. Fishbane [eds.], Death, Ecstasy, and Other Wordly Journeys. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995. Pp.343-360.


Carpenter, Mary Yeo, "Familism and Ancestor Veneration: A Look at Chinese Funeral Rites." Missiology 24 (1996): 503-517.


Chace, Paul G. "On Dying American: Cantonese Rites for Death and Ghost-Spirits in an American City." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.47-79.


Chan Wing-hoi, "Ordination Names in Hakka Genealogies: A Religious Practice and Its Decline." In: David Faure & Helen F. Siu [eds.], Down to Earth: The Territorial Bond in South China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.


Chan Yuk Wah, "Packaging Tradition: Chinese Death Management in Urban Hong Kong." Asian Anthropology 2(2003): 139-159.


Chao, Paul, "Fire Ancestor Worship in China." Chinese Culture 39(1998)3: 1-19.


Chau, Adam Yuet. "Hosting Funerals and Temple Festivals: Folk Event Productions in Rural China." Asian Anthropology 3(2004): 39-70.


Chen, Frederick Shih-Chung. “Buddhist Passports to the Other World: a Study of Modern and Early Medieval Chinese Buddhist Mortuary Documents.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 261-286.


Chen, Gang, "The Old Tradition in a New Setting: A Preliminary Study of Mortuary Ritual in a Chinese Village." Journal of Ritual Studies 10(1996)2:41-57.


Chen, Gang, "Death Rituals in a Chinese Village: An Old Tradition in Contemporary Social Context." Thesis (Ph.D.), The Ohio State University, 2000, 224p.

Abstract: Death rituals have played an important role in Chinese society for over two thousand years. Death rituals that followed the elaborated Confucian ritual canons were promoted by officials and elites in imperial China. However, after 1949, the traditional death rituals were branded as superstitious and relics of feudalistic society, and were officially banned. In the early 1980s, as China started its economic reform, the traditional death rituals were quickly revived in rural China. What has contributed to this revival? What do today's death rituals look like in rural China? What economic, political, and sociocultural changes that rural China has experienced in the last two decades are reflected in the ritual practice? This dissertation will address these questions.

The ethnographic data were collected in a village in Chongqing in southwestern China. The history of the village was investigated, and so was its contemporary way of life in terms of settlement patterns, demographics, kinship system, economic life, political activities, and religious rituals. After presenting the ethnographic setting, we center our attention on death rituals. The sequence of pre-burial, funeral, and post-burial rituals usually performed by the villagers is reconstructed. These rituals are discussed from a cultural perspective that looks into the symbolic and normative dimensions of Chinese death ritual. The symbolic dimension illustrates the worldview of practitioners, and reveals the meanings of rituals. The normative dimension focuses on social implications of rituals, social relationship of ritual participants, and current socio-cultural structure in the village.

It is shown that the basic pattern of traditional Chinese death rituals is well kept in this village, though the performance of many rituals is simplified. The practices of these rituals perpetuate the traditional Chinese cosmology of heaven, earth, otherworld, gods, ghosts, and ancestors, though many younger villagers seem no longer to believe in the existence of heaven and otherworld. This dissertation argues that the contemporary death rituals in the village can be understood as a modified version of the traditional pattern. Such a modification came about in order for the traditional beliefs and practices associated with death rituals to be continued in a changing sociocultural context. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Chen Hong, "Concepts of Chinese Purgatory in Pu Song-ling's Fiction Liao-zhai zhi-yi." British Columbia Asian Review 8(1994/95):128-149.


Chen, Jiaren and Benoît Vermander. "Rituals, Spacetime and Family in a 'Native' Community of North Shanghai." Religions 10, no. 10 (2019).

Abstract: China's dramatic process of urbanization has profound influence on the country's religious communities, practices and psyche. This article focuses on a village of North Shanghai that has been integrated into urban life through demolition and relocation at the turn of the century. It follows the evolution of the ritual practices of its former inhabitants until present day. It underlines the fracture that has occurred in the way jia (home/family) was recognized and lived as a focus of ritual activities, and it documents the subsequent enlargement of the ritual sphere that is taking place. The choice of specific temples as privileged places of pilgrimage and ancestral worship is shown to be the result of a combination of factors, relational, geographical, and financial. The study also highlights the fact that the plasticity and inventiveness of the practices observed still testify to the resilience of the "home" concept, whatever the transformation it undergoes, and it links such resilience to the agency of women. By closely following the dynamic of ritual activities in the everyday life of the community under study, the article aims at providing a pragmatic and evolving approach to what "Chinese religion" is becoming in an urban context.


Cheng Shaoxuan and Liu Gang. “Newly Unearthed Wooden Figures for Averting Misfortune from Yangzhou.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 87-103.

Abstract: This paper introduces several newly unearthed wooden figures from tombs in Yangzhou that date to the Five Dynasties period, and provides complete transcriptions and preliminary studies of the inscriptions on them. By comparing these figures to similar materials discovered elsewhere, this paper argues that the function of putting these kinds of wooden figurines in tombs was to avoid misfortune. The last portion of the paper briefly examines the origin of this custom and beliefs behind it. (source: journal)


Chenivesse, Sandrine, "Écrit démonifuge et territorialité de la mort en Chine. Étude anthropologique du lien." L'Homme 137(1996):61-86.


Chenivesse, Sandrine, "Le mont Fengdu: lieu saint taoïste émergé de la géographie de l'au-delà." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 79-86.


Chenivesse, Sandrine, "Fengdu: cité de l'abondance, cité de la male mort." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10(1998): 287-339.


Cheung Hiu Yu. "Inventing a New Tradition: The Revival of the Discourses of Family Shrines in the Northern Song." Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 47 (2017-2018): 85-136.


Choi, Chi-cheung. "Ancestors Are Watching: Ritual and Governance at Peck San Theng, a Chinese Afterlife Care Organization in Singapore." Religions 2020, 11, no. 8 (2020): 382. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080382

Abstract: Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng 新加坡廣惠肇碧山亭 (hereafter PST) is a non-profit organization registered under Singapore's Societies Ordinance, founded in 1870 by Chinese immigrants from three prefectures of Guangdong province: Guangzhou 廣州, Zhaoqing 肇慶 and Huizhou 惠州. Until the mid-1970s, it managed more than 100,000 graves spread over 324 acres of land. After the Singapore government acquired its land for urban development PST continued its service to the departed by managing a columbarium that accommodates urns and spiritual tablets. PST's governing body is formed by regional associations of the three prefectures although these associations receive neither dividends nor shares from PST. Besides annually celebrated activities such as ancestral worship at halls, grave sweeping at tombs every spring and autumn and the Hungry Ghost festival PST has, since 1922, organized irregularly a Grand Universal Salvation Ritual (the Wan Yuan Sheng Hui 萬緣勝會) for both ancestors and wandering spirits. The ritual was held not only to generate income but was also designed to serve the afterlife of the homeless overseas migrants and also as an informal sanction to regulate the behavior of committee members. Based on PST's institutional archives and participant observations, this paper analyzes the ritual over a period of 90 years. It argues that formal institutional behavior is checked and balanced by informal sanction constructed in the form of ancestors watching from above. This paper further argues that while filial piety is an essential Chinese cultural value, the Chinese people of Singapore rely on institutions such as PST to integrate their ancestors with individual characteristics into collective ancestors taken care of by the institutions, releasing them from the burden of daily ancestral worship. Religious charity and filial piety are equally important.


Choo, Jessey J. C. “Shall We Profane the Service for the Dead? Burial Divinations, Untimely Burials, and Remembrance in Tang Muzhiming.” Tang Studies 33 (2015): 1-37.

Abstract: Though various divinatory practices were central to all burial arrangements in Tang China, scholars have paid scant attention to these practices and their social context and effects. This article reconstructs burial divination practices, discusses their ritual and social functions, and examines the social attitudes that influenced and were in turn influenced by them. Focus is on the following questions: why and how did families perform burial divinations? How were the divinatory oracles interpreted, and by whom? Why and to what extent did families subject themselves to these oracles? And what does the practice of burial divinations tell us about the culture of remembrance in Tang China? The article proposes answers to these questions through reading muzhiming (entombed epitaphs) against other transmitted and excavated sources and examining one common, but rarely studied, effect of divination practices on burials: their being rushed or much-delayed. Finally, the article examines a case involving both expedited and postponed burials and reconstructs Tang interpretations and responses to negative oracles in efforts to (re-)create memory. (Source: journal)


Chu, Julie Y. Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. (See especially chapter 5, "For Use in Heaven or Hell: The Circulation of the U.S. Dollar among Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors")


Chung, Sue Fawn & & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005.

Abstract: [...] Chinese American Death Rituals examines Chinese American funerary rituals and cemeteries from the late nineteenth century until the present in order to understand the importance of Chinese funerary rites and their transformation through time. The authors in this volume discuss the meaning of funerary rituals and their normative dimension and the social practices that have been influenced by tradition. Shaped by individual beliefs, customs, religion, and environment, Chinese Americans have resolved the tensions between assimilation into the mainstream culture and their strong Chinese heritage in a variety of ways. [...] [Source: publisher's website.]


Chung, Sue Fawn, Fred B. Frampton, and Timothy W. Murphy. "Venerate These Bones: Chinese American Funerary and Burial Practices as Seen in Carlin, Elko County, Nevada." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.107-145


Chung, Sue Fawn & Reiko Neizman. "Remembering Ancestors in Hawai'i." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.175-194.


Clarke, Ian, "Ancestor Worship and Identity: Ritual, Interpretation, and Social Normalization in the Malaysian Chinese Community." Sojourn: Social Issues in Southeast Asia 15 (2000)2: 273-295.


Coe, Kathryn; Ryan O. Begley. “Ancestor Worship and the Longevity of Chinese Civilization.” Review of Religion and Chinese Society 3, no. 1 (2016): 3-24.

Abstract: Although an impressive body of literature is devoted to the practice of venerating ancestors in China and other places, there is little agreement on what ancestor worship is, where it is practiced, and whether it is an ancient and persistent trait. Ancestor worship, we argue, is an ancient trait that has persisted in China, as in other parts of the world, since prehistoric times. We also discuss its universal aspects, including those associated with teaching it and with encouraging its persistence across generations. We end by discussing the function of ancestor worship in China. Has it been an impediment to progress, as Christian missionaries and communists insisted, or, as Ping-Ti Ho claimed, has it promoted the “longevity of Chinese civilization”? We argue that both claims may be correct, depending on the definition of progress and the characteristics associated with China’s two forms of ancestor worship. (Source: journal)


Cook, Constance A. Death in Ancient China: The Tale of One Man's Journey. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

Abstract: This richly illustrated book provides a glimpse into the belief system and the material wealth of the social elite in pre-Imperial China through a close analysis of tomb contents and excavated bamboo texts.

The point of departure is the textual and material evidence found in one tomb of an elite man buried in 316 BCE near a once wealthy middle Yangzi River valley metropolis. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of cosmological symbolism and the nature of the spirit world. The author shows how illness and death were perceived as steps in a spiritual journey from one realm into another. Transmitted textual records are compared with excavated texts. The layout and contents of this multi-chambered tomb are analyzed as are the contents of two texts, a record of divination and sacrifices performed during the last three years of the occupant's life and a tomb inventory record of mortuary gifts. The texts are fully translated and annotated in the appendices.

A first-time close-up view of a set of local beliefs which not only reflect the larger ancient Chinese religious system but also underlay the rich intellectual and artistic life of pre-Imperial China. With first full translations of texts previously unknown to all except a small handful of sinologists. [Source: Publisher's website.]


Cook, Constance A. “Ancestor Worship during the Eastern Zhou.” In: John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD). Leiden: Brill, 2009. Pp.237-279.


Crowder, Linda Sun. "The Chinese Mortuary Tradition in San Francisco Chinatown." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.195-240.


David, Béatrice, "The Evacuation of Village Funerary Sites: One Traumatic Consequence of Development in China." China Perspectives 5 (1996): 20-26.


De Meyer, Jan, "From beyond the Grave: Remarks on the Poetical Activities of Tang Dynasty Ghosts." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.141-166.


DeVido, Elise A. "The 'New Funeral Culture' in Taiwan." In: Elise Anne DeVido and Benoît Vermander [eds.], Creeds, Rites and Videotapes: Narrating Religious Experience in East Asia. Taipei: Taipei Ricci Institute, 2004. Pp.235-249.


Dien, Albert E., "Instructions for the Grave: The Case of Yan Zhitui." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 8(1995):41-58.


Dien, Albert E., "Turfan Funereal Documents." Journal of Chinese Religions 30(2002): 23-48.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, Die Sorge der Lebenden um die Toten: Thanatopraxis und Thanatologie in der Song-Zeit. Heidelberg: Edition Forum, 1995.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, "Speise für die Toten - Speise aus den Toten. Ahnenopfer und Kannibalismus in China." In: Perry Schmidt-Leukel [ed.], Die Religionen und das Essen. Kreuzlingen, München: Heinrich Hugendubel Verlag (Diederichs Verlag), 2000. Pp. 203-223, 288-300.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, "In den Tod mitgehen. Die Totenfolge in der Geschichte Chinas." In: Stefan Wild und Hartmut Schild [eds.], Akten des 27. Deutschen Orientalistentags (Bonn - 28. September bis 2. Oktober (1998). Norm und Abweichung. Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2001. (Kultur, Recht und Politik in Muslimischen Gesellschaften, Band 1). Pp. 647-667.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, "Selbsttötung in China - eine ehrenvolle Todesart." Saeculum: Jahrbuch für Universalgeschichte 52(2001)2:193-216.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, "Trees of Life and Trees of Death in China. The Magical Quality of Trees in a Deforested Country." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 152(2002)2: 371-394.


Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin, "In den Tod mitgehen. Die Totenfolge in der Geschichte Chinas." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt / M.: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.167-191.


Ebrey, Patricia, "The Liturgies for Sacrifices to Ancestors in Successive Versions of the Family Rituals." In: Johnson, David [ed.], Ritual and Scripture in Chinese Popular Religion. Five Studies. Berkeley, Calif.: Chinese Popular Culture Project, 1995. Pp.104-136.


Ebrey, Patricia B., "The Incorporation of Portraits into Chinese Ancestral Rites." In: Jens Kreinath & Constance Hartung [eds.], The Dynamics of Changing Rituals: The Transformation of Religious Rituals within Their Social and Cultural Context. New York: Peter Lang, 2004. (Toronto Studies in Religion, 29) Pp. 129-140.


Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, Ping Yao, and Cong Ellen Zhang, eds. Chinese Funerary Biographies: An Anthology of Remembered Lives. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2020.

Abstract: Tens of thousands of epitaphs, or funerary biographies, survive from imperial China. Engraved on stone and placed in a grave, they typically focus on the deceased's biography and exemplary words and deeds, expressing the survivors' longing for the dead. These epitaphs provide glimpses of the lives of women, men who did not leave a mark politically, and children—people who are not well documented in more conventional sources such as dynastic histories and local gazetteers. This anthology of translations makes available funerary biographies covering nearly two thousand years, from the Han dynasty through the nineteenth century, selected for their value as teaching material for courses in Chinese history, literature, and women's studies as well as world history. Because they include revealing details about personal conduct, families, local conditions, and social, cultural, and religious practices, these epitaphs illustrate ways of thinking and the realities of daily life. Most can be read and analyzed on multiple levels, and they stimulate investigation of topics such as the emotional tenor of family relations, rituals associated with death, Confucian values, women's lives as written about by men, and the use of sources assumed to be biased. These biographies will be especially effective when combined with more readily available primary sources such as official documents, religious and intellectual discourses, and anecdotal stories, promising to generate provocative discussion of literary genre, the ways historians use sources, and how writers shape their accounts.


Eisenhofer-Halim, Hannelore, "Menschenopfer und Totengeleit in der Shang-Zeit." Monumenta Serica 49(2001): 181-205.


Epstein, Maram. “Writing Emotions: Ritual Innovation as Emotional Expression.” Nan nü 11.2 (2009): 155-196.

Abstract: This article examines the chronological biographies of the Qing ritualists Yan Yuan (1635-1704) and Li Gong (1659-1733) to witness how they negotiated and wrote about the ritual and emotional priorities in their relationships with various family members. It argues that rather than being just a form of ritual duty, filial piety was a core emotion at the center of many people's affective and spiritual lives. Although the conservative nature of nianpu (chronological biography) as a genre meant that some of the most intimate relationships in these two men's lives would get passed over in silence, the recording of their manipulation of ritual forms allowed them an indirect means of expressing their affective bonds.


Erickson, Susan. “Ways of Facing the Dead in Ancient China.” Arts Asiatiques 67 (2012): 19-34.


Falkenhausen, Lothar von, "The Concept of Wen in the Ancient Chinese Ancestral Cult." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 18 (1996): 1-22.


Falkenhausen, Lothar von, "Mortuary Behavior in Pre-Imperial Qin: A Religious Interpretation." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.109-172.


Fang Ling & Vincent Goossaert. "Les réformes funéraires et la politique religieuses de l'Etat chinois, 1900-2008." Archives de sciences sociales des religions 144 (2008): 51-73.


Faure, David, "State and Rituals in Modern China: Comments on the 'Civil Society' Debate." In: Wang Ch'iu-kui, Chuang Ying-chang & Chen Chung-min [eds.], Shehui, minzu yu wenhua zhanyan guoji yantaohui lunwenji. Taipei: Hanxue Yanjiu Zhongxin, 2001. Pp.509-536.


Feuchtwang, Stephan, "The Avenging Ghost: Paradigm of a Shameful Past." In: Lin Mei-rong [ed.], Xinyang, yishi yu shehui: Di san jie guoji Hanxue huiyi lunwenji (renleixue zu) = Belief, Ritual and Society: Papers from the Third International Conference on Sinology (Anthropology Section). Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, 2003. Pp.7-36.


Feuchtwang, Stephan, "An Unsafe Distance." In: Charles Stafford [ed.], Living with Separation in China: Anthropological Accounts. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. Pp.85-112. [Note: On death, ghosts, and the living.]


Formoso, Bernard, "Hsiu-Kou-Ku: the Ritual Refining of Restless Ghosts Among the Chinese in Thailand." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Incorporating Man 2(1996)2:217-234.


Formoso, Bernard. "Ethnicity and Shared Meanings: A Case Study of the 'Orphaned Bones' Ritual in Mainland China and Overseas." American Anthropologist 111.4 (2009): 492–503.

Abstract: Several theories of ethnicity emphasize the analysis of intergroup relations. They neglect, however, the conflation of ideas and values structuring these relations—notably the cross-cultural aggregates of shared cultural meanings that underlie forms of cooperation and competition between interacting groups. In this article, I explore this kind of process through a multisite ethnography of the Xiu gugu (“refining of orphaned bones”), a ritual that the Chaozhou people of northeast Guangdong province, an ethnic subgroup of the Han, perform periodically. The celebration of this rite in Chaozhou is compared to versions resulting of the ritual in Malay Muslim and Thai Buddhist contexts. In the latter case, close conceptions of malevolent death underlie a fascinating interethnic cooperation, with most of the unfortunate dead whose bones are “refined” during the Chaozhou ritual being Thai.

Formoso, Bernard. “From Bones to Ashes: the Teochiu Management of Bad Death in China and Overseas.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 192-216.


Franz, Rainer von, Die chinesische Innengrabinschrift für Beamte und Privatiers des 7. Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1996.


Frick, Johann, "Totenriten der Chinesen im Westtal von Sining (Provinz Tsinghai)." In: Johann Frick, Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Riten und Brauchtum in Nordwestchina. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 1995. Pp.111-223.


Friedrich, Michael. "The 'Announcement to the World Below' of Ma-wang-tui 3." manuscript cultures newsletter No.1 (2008): 7-15.


Galvany, Albert. "Death and Ritual Wailing in Early China: Around the Funeral of Lao Dan." Asia Major, Third Series, 25.2 (2012): 15-42.


Ganany, Noga. “Journeys Through the Netherworld in Late-Ming Hagiographic Narratives” Late Imperial China 42, no. 2 (2021): 137–178.

Abstract: This article examines the trope of journeys through the netherworld in late Ming hagiographic narratives, or "origin narratives," that celebrate the life stories of gods, immortals, and historic figures. Origin narratives share a common narrative structure that standardizes the life stories of revered figures as a cyclical journey, marked by the protagonist's descent to the human world and final re-ascent to heaven. The protagonist's journey through the netherworld not only mirrors the overarching structure of origin narratives, but also represents a turning point, both structurally and thematically. While traveling through the realm of the dead is not in itself a precondition for deification, it provides the protagonists with a canvas to demonstrate the specific attributes for which they are revered, and therefore acts as a rite of passage that paves the way for the protagonist's deification. This article explores the significance of the netherworld-journey trope in the hagiographic vision propagated by origin narratives by focusing on three case studies: the demon-queller Zhong Kui, the bodhisattva Guanyin, and the Daoist saint Sa Shoujian. Through these case studies, I argue that netherworld journeys in origin narratives represent the culmination of two concomitant trends in late-Ming print culture: the rise of a standardized hagiographical vision in "vernacular" narrative writing (xiaoshuo), and an intensified preoccupation with the realm of the dead.



Gildow, Douglas. "Flesh Bodies, Stiff Corpses, and Gathered Gold: Mummy Worship, Corpse Processing, and Mortuary Ritual in Contemporary Taiwan." Journal of Chinese Religions 33(2005): 1-37.


Goldin, Paul R., "The Motif of the Woman in the Doorway and Related Imagery in Traditional Chinese Funerary Art." Journal of the American Oriental Society 121(2001)4: 539-548.


Goodman, Susan E., "'White Affairs': Chinese Beliefs and Rites." Tripod (1996) #95:34-42; #96:35-44.


Goossaert, Vincent & Fang Ling. "Les réformes funéraires et la politique religieuse de l’État chinois, 1900-2008." Archives de sciences sociales des religions 144 (2008): 51-73.


Graham, Fabian. Voices from the Underworld: Chinese Hell Deity Worship in Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020.

Abstract: In Singapore and Malaysia, the inversion of Chinese Underworld traditions has meant that Underworld demons are now amongst the most commonly venerated deities in statue form, channelled through their spirit mediums, tang-ki. The Chinese Underworld and its sub-hells are populated by a bureaucracy drawn from the Buddhist, Taoist and vernacular pantheons. Under the watchful eye of Hell's 'enforcers', the lower echelons of demon soldiers impose post-mortal punishments on the souls of the recently deceased for moral transgressions committed during their prior incarnations. Voices from the Underworld offers an ethnography of contemporary Chinese Underworld traditions, where night-time cemetery rituals assist the souls of the dead, exorcised spirits are imprisoned in Guinness bottles, and malicious foetus ghosts are enlisted to strengthen a temple's spirit army. Understanding the religious divergences between Singapore and Malaysia through an analysis of socio-political and historical events, Fabian Graham challenges common assumptions on the nature and scope of Chinese vernacular religious beliefs and practices. Graham's innovative approach to alterity allows the reader to listen to first-person dialogues between the author and channelled Underworld deities. Through its alternative methodological and narrative stance, the book intervenes in debates on the interrelation between sociocultural and spiritual worlds, and promotes the de-stigmatisation of spirit possession and discarnate phenomena in the future study of mystical and religious traditions.


Greenwood, Roberta S. "Old Rituals in New Lands: Bringing the Ancestors to America." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.241-262.


Guéguen, Catherine. "Discontinuities and the Maintenance of Chinese Cemeteries in Kolkata (India)." Journal of Chinese Overseas 12 (2016): 315-335.

Abstract: In India, where migrations from mainland China are not constantly renewed, the Chinese cemeteries constitute the perennial elements of cultural transmission. As they build cemeteries for their community, these overseas-Chinese people inscribe the concrete references that they hold sacred in India, and no longer look to mainland China. We shall see that there are multiple reasons that explain the Chinese cemeteries’ location on the margins of the city. However, the places for the dead are the result of a long process, cultural and spatial, specific to how they were established in Kolkata and its suburbs. The cemetery constitutes in itself a space of adaptation and a space of practice; it reflects the anchoring of the Chinese in India. (Source: journal)

Guo, Man & Carsten Herrmann-Pillath. "Lineage, Food, and Ritual in a Chinese Metropolis." Anthropos 114, no. 1 (2019): 195–207.

Abstract: Thirty years ago, the eminent sinologist James Watson published a paper in Anthropos on 'common pot' dining in the New Territories of Hong Kong, a banquet ritual that differs fundamentally from established social norms in Chinese society. We explore the recent career of the 'common pot' in neighbouring Shenzhen, where it has become an important symbol manifesting the strength and public role of local lineages in the rapidly growing mega-city. We present two cases, the Wen lineage and the Huang lineage. In case of the Wen, we show how the practice relates to their role as landholding groups, organized in a 'Shareholding Cooperative Companies' that is owned collectively by the lineage. In the Huang case, identity politics looms large in the context of globalization. In large-scale 'big common pot festivals' of the global Huang surname association, traditional conceptions of kinship merge with modernist conceptions of national identity (Source: journal)


Guo, Qitao. “Genealogical Pedigree versus Godly Power: Cheng Minzheng and Lineage Politics in Mid-Ming Huizhou.” Late Imperial China 31.1 (2010): 28-61.

Abstract: This article focuses on power negotiations among prominent lineages in Huizhou prefecture during the mid Ming (1450–1550) as manifested through gentry compilation of regional genealogies and scripting of local liturgies. It enriches the current scholarship on Chinese lineage institutions and the mid-Ming rise of regional consciousness and local elite activism.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (I). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 20(2001)5-6: 159-166.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (II). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 21(2002)1-2: 35-42.


Haas, Robert, ""Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (III). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 21(2002)4-5: 128-139.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (IV). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 22(2003)1-2: 33-39.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (V). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 22(2003)3: 92-99.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (VI). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 22(2003)4-5: 179-185.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (VII). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 22(2003)6: 235-241.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (VIII). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 23(2004)1-2: 39-47.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (IX). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 23(2004)3: 107-110.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (X). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 23(2004)4-5: 155-163.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XI). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 23(2004)6: 227-234.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XII). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 24(2005)1-2: 50-56.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XIII). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 24(2005)3: 104-108.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XIV). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 24(2005)4-5: 167-174.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XV). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 24(2005)6: 242-249.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XVI). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 25(2006)1-2: 54-57.


Haas, Robert, "Chinas Zivilisation des Todes (XVII). Ahnenkult und mehr: Die Essenz einer Kultur." China heute 25(2006)4-5: 169-173.


Halporn, Roberta, Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors: The Ching Ming Festival in America. Brooklyn, NY: Center for Thanatology Research & Education, Inc., 1996.


Han Min. "The Revival of Tradition in Northern Anhui: A Response to Social and Economic Change." In: Suenari Michio, J.S. Eades & Christian Daniels [eds.], Perspectives on Chinese Society: Anthropological Views from Japan. Canterbury: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent, 1995. Pp.67-91.


Hansen, Valerie, "Why Bury Contracts in Tombs?" Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 8(1995):59-66.


Hansen, Valerie, "The Law of the Spirits." In: Lopez, Donald S., Jr. [ed.], Religions of China in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. Pp.284-292.


Hansen, Valerie, "The Law of the Spirits: Chinese Popular Beliefs." In: Howard M. Spiro, Mary G. McCrea Curnen & Lee Palmer Wandel [eds.], Facing Death: Where Culture, Religion, and Medicine Meet. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Pp.142-147.


Harkness, Ethan. “Seeking an Audience in the Underworld and the Question of the Han Juridical Soul.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 16-31.

Abstract: By considering the Kongjiapo gaodishu (“notice to the underworld”) document of 142 B.C.E. in conjunction with the rishu (“daybook”) manuscript from the same tomb and other examples of gaodishu, this article highlights the function gaodishu served to aid the deceased with meeting important figures in a bureaucratized conception of the underworld. Questions are raised about Han burial practices and contemporaneous social institutions such as chattel slavery. (Source: journal)


He Yanran. “Sage Descendants Fight: A History of the Master You Ancestral Hall in Chongming.” Ming Qing Studies 2014: 43-61.


Heise, Ingmar. “For Buddhas, Families and Ghosts: the Transformation of the Ghost Festival into a Dharma Assembly in Southeast China.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 217-237.


Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten; Guo Man, Feng Xingyuan. Ritual and Economy in Metropolitan China: A Global Social Science Approach. London: Routledge, 2021.

Abstract: This book focuses on Shenzhen, one of China's most globalized metropolises, a leading centre of high-tech industries and, as a melting pot of migrants from all over China, a place of vibrant cultural creativity. While in the early stages of Shenzhen's development this vibrant cultural creativity was associated with the resilience of traditional social structures in Shenzhen's migrant 'urban villages', today these structures undergird dynamic entrepreneurship and urban self-organization throughout Shenzhen, and have gradually merged with the formal structures of urban governance and politics. This book examines these developments, showing how important traditional social structures and traditional Chinese culture have been for China's economic modernization. The book goes on to draw out the implications of this for the future of Chinese culture and Chinese economic engagement in a globalized world.


Hong, Jeehee. “Virtual Theater of the Dead: Actor Figurines and Their Stage in Houma Tomb No.1, Shanxi Province.” Artibus Asiae 71.1 (2011): 75-114.


Hong, Jeehee. “Exorcism from the Streets to the Tomb: An Image of the Judge and Minions in the Xuanhua Liao Tomb No.7.” Archives of Asian Art 63 (2013): 1-25.


Hong, Jeehee. Theater of the Dead: A Social Turn in Chinese Funerary Art, 1000-1400. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2016.


Hu Anning. “Ancestor Worship in Contemporary China: An Empirical Investigation.” The China Review 16, no. 1 (2016): 169-186.

Abstract: Although ancestor worship has been widely acknowledged as one of the most significant cultural traditions in Chinese society, information about its nationwide popularity and followers’ sociodemographic characteristics is still not clear. Taking advantage of the first nationwide survey on Chinese residents’ spiritual life, this study examines: (1) the extent of popularity of typical ancestor worship practices, (2) the sociodemographic features of ancestor worship individuals, and (3) the “magical” elements of ancestor worship activities. Empirical results suggest that, first, the most popular ancestor worship practices in contemporary China are venerating the spirits of ancestors or deceased relatives and visiting the gravesite of ancestors. Ancestor worship practice participants make up over 70 percent of the adult population. Second, on average, males are more active in ancestor worship than females. Also, economic status is positively associated with ancestor worship participation. Nevertheless, urbanization and migration have a negative effect on people’s propensity of practicing ancestor worship. Third, the magical aspect of ancestor worship is less attractive to well-educated adults, but more likely to be followed by senior individuals. (Source: journal)


Ikels, Charlotte. "Serving the Ancestors, Serving the State: Filial Piety and Death Ritual in Contemporary Guangzhou." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.88-105.


James, Jean M., A Guide to the Tomb and Shrine Art of the Han Dynasty 206 B.C.-A.D. 220. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1996.


James, Jean M., "The Eastern Han Offering Shrine: A Functional Study." Archives of Asian Art 51(1999): 16-29.


Jiang Wen. “To Turn Soybeans into Gold: a Case Study of Mortuary Documents from Ancient China.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 32-51.

Abstract: The Eastern Han period tomb-quelling text of Zhang Shujing 張叔敬, which dates to 173 CE, confirms that living people believed the dead could use soybeans and melon seeds (huangdou guazi 黃豆瓜子) to pay taxes in the underworld. The knowledge of this only came to light with the discovery of the tablet Taiyuan Has a Dead Man (*Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者), which reveals a previously unknown Qin-Han belief that the dead regarded soybeans as gold. I suggest a direct association between the above two beliefs: soybeans and melon seeds were used as substitutes for small natural gold nuggets to pay taxes in the underworld because of their resemblance in shape and color. Furthermore, a huge quantity of painted clay balls shaped like large soybeans (dashu 大菽) are recorded in the Mawangdui 馬王堆 tomb inventories (qiance 遣策), which indirectly supports this interpretation. (Source: journal)


Jin Hui-Han. "The Emperors' New Gifts: Bestowing Sacrificial Necessities and Burial Essentials in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) China." Ming Studies, no. 79 (2019): 2–20.

Abstract: The tradition of granting funerary gifts from the emperor to his prominent ministers can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty. Scholars have agreed that the gifts meant more than assistance in preparing death rituals but were regarded as an honor to the deceased. What has been less discussed in recent scholarship is the role the emperor perceived himself as playing in the death rituals of his ministers through the types of funerary gifts he offered. A dramatic change in the types of funerary gifts bestowed was initiated by the Hongwu Emperor (1368–1398), and this new practice was continued by the subsequent emperors. By looking into the purpose of granting the new gifts and the ways of bestowing them, both of which had changed over the course of the Ming dynasty, we will be able to scrutinize the dynamic relationships between monarchs and officials through the conflicts between emotions and rituals and the adaptability of Confucian prescriptions and practices.


Jing, Jun, "Male Ancestors and Female Deities: Finding Memories of Trauma in a Chinese Village." In: Michael S. Roth & Charles G. Salas [eds.], Disturbing Remains: Memory, History, and Crisis in the Twentieth Century. Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2001. Pp.207-226.


Jing Jun, "Dams and Dreams: A Return-to-Homeland Movement in Northwest China." In: Charles Stafford [ed.], Living with Separation in China: Anthropological Accounts. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. Pp.113-129. [Note: On dislocations from ancestral lands caused by dam building projects.]


Johnson, Elizabeth Lominska, "Singing of Separation, Lamenting Loss: Hakka Women's Expressions of Separation and Reunion." In: Charles Stafford [ed.], Living with Separation in China: Anthropological Accounts. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. Pp.27-52. [Note: On separation laments sung by women at marriages and funerals.]


Johnson, Elizabeth Lominska. "Women as Worshippers, Women Worshipped: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong." Min-su ch'ü-i / Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 168 (2010): 79-109.


Johnson, John, "Of Impersonators and Incorporators: Elements of Ancestor Worship in Ancient Rome and China." British Columbia Asian Review 10 (1996/97): 179-222.


Jordan, David K., "Filial Piety in Taiwanese Popular Thought." In Walter H. Slote & George A. De Vos [eds.], Confucianism and the Family. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998. Pp.267-283.


Jordan, David K., "Pop in Hell: Representations of Purgatory in Taiwan." In: David K. Jordan, Andrew D. Morris, and Marc L. Moskowitz [eds.], The Minor Arts of Daily Life: Popular Culture in Taiwan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp. 50-63.


Kawasaki Yuzo. "Separation from the Dead: A Case Study of Funeral Rites in a Teochiu Fishing Village in Malaysia." In: Suenari Michio, J.S. Eades & Christian Daniels [eds.], Perspectives on Chinese Society: Anthropological Views from Japan. Canterbury: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent, 1995. Pp.156-181.


Keightley, David N., "Shamanism, Death, and the Ancestors: Religious Mediation in Neolithic and Shang China (ca. 5000-1000 B.C.)." Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 52(1998)3: 763-828.


Keightley, David N., "Theology and the Writing of History: Truth and the Ancestors in the Wu Ding Divination Records." Journal of East Asian Archaeology 1(1999): 207-230.


Keightley, David N., "The Making of the Ancestors: Late Shang Religion and Its Legacy." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.3-63.


Kipnis, Andrew B., Producing Guanxi: Sentiment, Self, and Subculture in a North China Village. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997. See esp. ch.5: "Weddings, Funerals, and Gender."


Kipnis, Andrew B. "Funerals and Religious Modernity in China." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 253-272.

Abstract: Modernity in China has involved the establishment of religion as a separate sphere of life, rapid urbanization, and the rise of the profession of funerary work. This paper examines the intersection of these three trends. On the one hand, the professionalization of funerary work takes place outside of religious institutions. It involves the commercialization of funerary work, the separation of the spaces for funerary ritual from the spaces of everyday life, and the need for professionals in a context where death itself is separated from the dynamics of living. On the other hand, because life itself is sacred and death vividly poses questions of the meaning of life, funerary ritual takes on a sacred tone and religious elements enter the proceedings no matter how nonreligious the professionals and the bereaved claim to be. The dynamics of religious modernity, or "the religious question in China," involves the simultaneous compartmentalization of religion and the breaking of the boundaries between the religious and the nonreligious. These dynamics are at the heart of contemporary, urban Chinese funerals. (Source: journal)


Knapp, Keith, "The Ru Reinterpretation of Xiao." Early China 20(1995): 195-222.


Knapp, Keith, "Heaven and Earth According to Huangfu Mi, a Third-Century Confucian." Early Medieval China 6(2000): 1-31.


Knapp, Keith Nathaniel. Selfless Offspring: Filial Children and Social Order in Medieval China. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005.

Abstract: Both Western and Chinese intellectuals have long derided filial piety tales as an absurd and grotesque variety of children's literature. Selfless Offspring offers a fresh perspective on the genre, revealing the rich historical worth of these stories by examining them in their original context: the tumultuous and politically fragmented early medieval era (A.D. 100-600). At a time when no Confucian virtue was more prized than filial piety, adults were moved and inspired by tales of filial children. The emotional impact of even the most outlandish actions portrayed in the stories was profound, a measure of the directness with which they spoke to major concerns of the early medieval Chinese elite. In a period of weak central government and powerful local clans, the key to preserving a household's privileged status was maintaining a cohesive extended family.

Keith Knapp begins this far-ranging and persuasive study by describing two related historical trends that account for the narrative's popularity: the growth of extended families and the rapid incursion of Confucianism among China's learned elite. Extended families were better at maintaining their status and power, so patriarchs found it expedient to embrace Confucianism to keep their large, fragile households intact. Knapp then focuses on the filial piety stories themselves--their structure, historicity, origin, function, and transmission--and argues that most stem from the oral culture of these elite extended families. After examining collections of filial piety tales, known as Accounts of Filial Children, he shifts from text to motif, exploring the most common theme: the "reverent care" and mourning of parents. In the final chapter, Knapp looks at the relative burden that filiality placed on men and women and concludes that, although women largely performed the same filial acts as men, they had to go to greater extremes to prove their sincerity. [Source: publisher's website]


Knapp, Keith N. “Borrowing Legitimacy from the Dead: the Confucianization of Ancestral Worship.” In: John Lagerwey and Lü Pengzhi [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part Two: The Period of Division (220-589 AD). Leiden: Brill, 2010. Pp.143-192.


Koh, Khee Heong; Ong, Chang Woei. "Gods and / or Ancestors: Practicing Lineage in Contemporary Singapore." Journal of Chinese Overseas 10, no.1 (2014): 3-32.


Koo, Hui-Wen. “Worship Associations in Taiwan.” Australian Economic History Review 53.1 (2013): 1-21.

Abstract: We analyse why Taiwanese families during the Ch'ing Dynasty still held communal assets vested in worship associations (chi ssu kung yeh) even after the division of family assets. Our analysis shows that worship associations benefitted the living as well as the dead. Although the high cost of managing common assets meant the associations were established infrequently, they arose often in a response to clan feuds and served as martial-style corporations for the protection of family property before the twentieth century. (Source: journal)


Ku, Hok Bun, Moral Politics in a South Chinese Village: Responsibility, Reciprocity, and Resistance. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. (Note: Deals with a Hakka village near Meizhou, Guangdong province. See chapter 8 on the revival of local temple cults and the rebuilding of an ancestral hall.)


Kuah Khun Eng, "Rebuilding Their Ancestral Villages: The Moral Economy of the Singapore Chinese." In: Wang Gungwu & John Wong [eds.], China's Political Economy. Singapore: University of Singapore Press & World Scientific, 1998. Pp.249-275.


Kuah, Khun Eng , "The Singapore-Anxi Connection: Ancestor Worship as Moral-Cultural Capital." In: Leo Douw, Cen Huang & Michael R. Godley [eds.], Qiaoxiang Ties: Interdisciplinary Approaches to 'Cultural Capitalism' in South China. London: Kegan Paul International in association with International Institute for Asian Studies, 1999. Pp.143-157.


Kuah Khun Eng, "The Changing Moral Economy of Ancestor Worship in a Chinese Emigrant District." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 23(1999)1: 99-132. [Note: On "reciprocal influences between Anxi County Fujianese, whose families and clans have migrated to Singapore, and their ancestral villages in Fujian, China." (from the article's abstract)]


Kuah Khun Eng, Rebuilding the Ancestral Village: Singaporeans in China. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000.


Kuhn, Dieter, "Totenritual und Beerdigungen im chinesischen Altertum." In: Roger Goepper [ed.], Das alte China: Menschen und Götter im Reich der Mitte 5000 v.Chr. - 220 n. Chr. München: Hirmer, 1995. Pp.45-67.


Kuhn, Dieter, "Tod und Beerdigung im chinesischen Altertum im Spiegel von Ritualtexten und archäologischen Funden." Tribus 44(1995): 208-267.


Kuhn, Dieter, A Place for the Dead. An Archaeological Documentary on Graves and ,Tombs of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Heidelberg: Edition Forum, 1996.


Kuhn, Dieter, Die Kunst des Grabbaus. Kuppelgräber der Liao-Zeit (907-1125). Heidelberg: Edition Forum, 1997.


Kuhn, Dieter, How the Qidan Reshaped the Tradition of the Chinese Dome-shaped Tomb. Heidelberg: Edition Forum, 1998.


Kupfer, Kristin. "Emergence and Development of Christian-Inspired, Spiritual-Religious Groups in the People's Republic of China since 1978." Quest 4(2005)2: 29-54.


Kutcher, Norman, Mourning in Late Imperial China: Filial Piety and the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.


Lagerwey, John, "Of Gods and Ancestors: the Ten-Village Rotation of Pingyuan Shan." Minsu quyi, no.137 (2002): 61-139. (Note: Pingyuan Shan is located in Changting County, Fujian)


Lai, Guolong, "The Baoshan Tomb: Religious transitions in art, ritual, and text during the Warring States period (480--221 BCE)." Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of California, Los Angeles. 2002.

Abstract: This dissertation explores historical transitions in funerary art, ritual, and text in their archaeological context by focusing on the tomb of a high-ranking Chu official, Shao Tuo (d. 316 BCE), discovered at Baoshan in Hubei Province. The Warring States transition has long been regarded as a process of rationalization and secularization, developing from the mystical, superstitious Shang and Zhou dynasties to the rational, bureaucratic Qin and Han empires. This contextual study problematizes this vision of antiquity, arguing that religious transitions played a vital role in shaping the intellectual and religious foundations of a unified empire.

Chapter 2 demonstrates that the tomb inventories and funerary gift-lists as ritual devices structured the communication between humans and spirits, and that tomb construction, modeled on the cosmos, expressed new conceptions of the afterlife that emerged during the Warring States period. Chapter 3 shows that the practice of burying mingqi ("spirit artifacts") and personal belongings was a form of a tie-breaking ritual, the purpose of which was to ritualize the gradual separation between the deceased and the living. Chapter 4 shows that the new categories of burial furnishings, such as lamps and folding beds, were chosen to perform specific religious functions. The lamps in the Baoshan tomb were to facilitate the spirit journey to the increasingly alienated, gloomy, and dangerous underworld, a conception of the afterlife that emerged in the Warring States era.

Chapter 5 discusses the historical development of ancestral cults, changing from the use of living persons as impersonators to the concordant use of images. This transition led to the development of the burying of tomb figurines as substitutes of human servants, the use of spirit tablets, and a reinterpretation of the concept of wei ("position") in early Chinese ritual art. The pictorial representation of the human figure originated in the context of rhetorical uses of works of art. Finally, the appendix reconsiders Karlgren's linguistic method of distinguishing "free" texts from "systematizing" texts, and draws connections between funerary texts and the genesis of ritual texts in Early China. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Lai Guolong. Excavating the Afterlife: The Archaeology of Early Chinese Religion. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2015.

Abstract: In Excavating the Afterlife, Guolong Lai explores the dialectical relationship between sociopolitical change and mortuary religion from an archaeological perspective. By examining burial structure, grave goods, and religious documents unearthed from groups of well-preserved tombs in southern China, Lai shows that new attitudes toward the dead, resulting from the trauma of violent political struggle and warfare, permanently altered the early Chinese conceptions of this world and the afterlife. The book grounds the important changes in religious beliefs and ritual practices firmly in the sociopolitical transition from the Warring States (ca. 453-221 BCE) to the early empires (3rd century-1st century BCE). A methodologically sophisticated synthesis of archaeological, art historical, and textual sources, Excavating the Afterlife will be of interest to art historians, archaeologists, and textual scholars of China, as well as to students of comparative religions. (Source: publisher's website)


Lai, Whalen, "Rethinking the Chinese Family: Wandering Ghosts and Eternal Parents." In: Robert Carter & Sheldon Isenberg [eds.], The Ideal in the World's Religions: Essays on the Person, Family, Society, and Environment. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 1997. Pp. 253-271.


Laing, Ellen Johnston & Helen Hui-ling Liu, Up in Flames: The Ephemeral Art of Pasted-Paper Sculpture in Taiwan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.


Lazzaroti, Marco. “Modern Life and Traditional Death: Tradition and Modernization of Funeral Rites in Taiwan.” Fu-Jen International Religious Studies 8, no.1 (2014): 108-126.


Ledderose, Lothar, Ten Thousand Things: Module and Mass Production in Chinese Art. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000. [Note: See chapter 7 "The Bureaucracy of Hell" on paintings depicting the courts of purgatory.]


Lewis, Candace Jenks, "Pottery Towers of Han Dynasty China." Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1999.


Li, Ping-hui, "Processional Music in Traditional Taiwanese Funerals." In: Yung, Bell, Evelyn S. Rawski & Rubie S. Watson [eds.], Harmony and Counterpoint: Ritual Music in Chinese Context. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996. Pp.130-149.


Lin, Amy Hui-Mei Huang, "Factors Related to Attitudes toward Death among Chinese and American Older Adults." Thesis (Ph.D.), The Ohio State University, 2000, 191p.

Abstract: This ex-post facto cross-cultural study was designed to compare five dimensions of attitudes toward death (fear of death, death avoidance, neutral acceptance of death, approach acceptance of death, and escape acceptance of death) and related personal factors (spirituality, emotional support, and religiosity) among American and Chinese older adults. Using survey method, data were collected from a convenience sample of older adults living in central Ohio areas and the metropolitan city of Taipei in Taiwan. A total of 178 older adults (91 Americans and 87 Chinese) participated in this study.

Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in data analysis. In this study, the typical American older adults were female, between 65 and 74 years old, married, lived with their spouses, had at least a high school or higher education, and identified their religion as Protestant. The typical Chinese older adults were female, between 65 and 74 years old, married, and lived with their spouses. Slightly over 60% of Chinese had a high school diploma. Most identified their religions as Buddhism (40%), Protestant (23%), or dual religions (20%).

Older adults in this study were categorized into four groups: American young-old, American old-old, Chinese young-old, and Chinese old-old. ANOVA revealed that a statistically significant difference existed between these four groups of older adults in death avoidance attitude. However, a significant difference of approach acceptance of death attitude, existed only between three groups of American and Chinese subjects. No statistically significant differences existed between American and Chinese older adults in fear of death, neutral acceptance, and escape acceptance of death attitudes.

Multiple regression analyses revealed that for American older adults, spirituality contributed a significant proportion to the variance in their fear of death and avoidance of death attitudes but both spirituality and religiosity contributed to their approach acceptance and escape acceptance of death attitudes. For Chinese older adults, spirituality contributed a significant proportion to the variance in their fear of death and religiosity contributed a significant proportion to their approach acceptance of death attitudes. Emotional support failed to demonstrate any statistically significant relationship with death attitudes in either American or Chinese subjects. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Lin, Wei-Cheng. “Underground Wooden Architecture in Brick: A Changed Perspective from Life to Death in 10th- through 13th-century Northern China.” Archives of Asian Art 61 (2011): 3-36.


Linck, Gudula, "Räume der Toten - Sepulkralkultur und Ontologien im vormodernen China." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.193-214.


Liu, Li, "Who Were the Ancestors? The Origins of Chinese Ancestral Cult and Racial myths." Antiquity 73 (1999): 602-613.

Abstract: Part of a special section on the relationship between identity and archaeology in East Asia. This article examines the phenomenon of ancestor worship in China. Using archaeological data, it explores the earliest manifestations and the development of ancestor-worship ritual in the Neolithic period. It then shows how lineage/tribal ancestors became state deities in the Shang dynasty. It concludes by investigating the process in modern history by which a legendary sage, the Yellow Emperor, was first transformed into the progenitor of the Han Chinese and then into the common ancestor of all Chinese people.


Liu Li, "Ancestor Worship: An Archaeological Investigation of Ritual Activities in Neolithic North China." Journal of East Asian Archaeology 2, no. 1-2 (2000): 129-164.


Lo, Vivienne, "Spirit of Stone: Technical Considerations in the Treatment of the Jade Body." Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 65(2002)1: 99-128.


Milburn, Olivia. “From Hero to Ancestor, God, and Ghost: The Posthumous Career of Han Shizhong.” Archiv orientálni 84, no. 1 (2016): 189-211.

Abstract: Han Shizhong (1089–1151) was one of the generals who played a key role in the establishment of the Southern Song dynasty, after the conquest of the north by Jurchen forces in 1126. After he died, he was commemorated by his family as an ancestor, but he was also worshipped as a god in and around the city of Suzhou, the site of his retirement home. Eventually he even became a ghost, after his grave was disturbed in the eighteenth century. As a result, Han Shizhong is one of the rare individuals whose posthumous career encompasses all three possible fates for the dead. This paper explores the processes which determined the fate after death of an individual in the second half of the imperial era. This includes a consideration of the conflicts over how the deeply controversial events in which he took part should be represented to later generations, and discusses the reasons for the failure of the deification of Han Shizhong, in the context of the dominant representation of Suzhou as a centre for literati culture throughout the imperial era. (Source: journal website)


Mittag, Achim, "Historische Aufzeichnungen als Grabbeigabe - das Beispiel der Qin-Bambusannalen." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.119-140.


Moretti, Costantino. “Scenes of Hell and Damnation in Dunhuang Murals.” Arts Asiatiques 74 (2019): 5–30.

Abstract: The descriptions of the various hells in Buddhist eschatological and cosmological literature constitute one of the most fascinating speculations on the characteristics of otherworldly realms elaborated by this religious system, which provides extravagant details on sinners’ atonement processes. While a number of important works have focused on the illustrated manuscripts of the Sūtra on the Ten Kings, which portrays the ten judges of Chinese “purgatory,” the visual narrative describing the theme of hell damnation, as seen in Dunhuang murals, has received less attention. Preliminary research has shown that these illustrations can be divided into at least three different categories: hell representations found in scenes illustrating various sūtras; damnation scenes in cosmological charts; and mural paintings of Dizang/Kṣitigarbha showing bureaucratised representations of the underworld featuring the Ten Kings “system.” This paper sets out the major characteristics of the visual vocabulary of hell representations in Mogao murals that fall into the first two categories.

Morgan, Carole, "Traces of Houtu's Cult in Hong Kong." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 36(1996): 223-230.


Moskowitz, Marc L. , "The Haunting Fetus: Greed, Healing, and Religious Adaptation in Modern Taiwan." Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica 86(1998): 157-196.


Moskowitz, Marc L., "Fetus-Spirits: New Ghosts in Modern Taiwan." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California-San Diego, 1999.


Moskowitz, Marc L., The Haunting Fetus: Abortion, Sexuality, and the Spirit World in Taiwan. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2001.


Ng, Zhiru, "The Formation and Development of the Dizang Cult in Medieval China." Thesis (Ph.D.), University of Arizona, 2000.

Abstract: This study investigates the medieval Chinese formation of the cult of Dizang (Skt. Ksitigarbha; Jpn. Jizô), a Buddhist divinity especially popular in connection with East Asian beliefs about the afterlife. It explores why and how Dizang, an obscure figure from the pre-Chinese Buddhist pantheon, became in medieval China an important object of cult worship. A tendency to focus on the popularized characterization of Dizang as "the savior of the damned" has distorted scholarly understanding of this Bodhisattva, obscuring other developments of his personality, including afterlife trends other than the underworld function. To arrive at a more accurate re-construction of the medieval Chinese Dizang cult, this study examines a diverse range of evidences (canonical and non-canonical, textual and visual, as well as Buddhist and non-Buddhist) so as to ferret out threads of Dizang belief not documented in standard sources. Non-canonical sources are particularly highlighted since they frequently capture largely neglected aspects of religious development which must be studied in order to uncover the full complexity of medieval Chinese Buddhism.

In particular the formation of the Dizang cult supplies a crucial key to unlocking the larger cross-cultural patterns of religious assimilation operating in medieval Chinese society, which have wider implications for the study of Chinese religion. Previous studies on sinification in Chinese Buddhist history have focused on a particular thinker, a specific text, a single doctrinal concept, or one ritual practice, thus demonstrating the development of only one pattern of assimilation and reducing the complexity of the cross-cultural dynamic in which assimilation really took place. The Dizang cult instead allows one to better contextualize the patterns of cross-cultural assimilation in medieval Chinese religion. What distinguishes the Dizang cult from other examples of sinification is the manner in which the figure of Dizang functions as a religious symbol that integrates diverse religious planes, doctrine, mythology, ritual, and soteriology. The Dizang cult, in short, offers a single but kaleidoscopic lens that encompasses a multivalent religio-cultural assimilation, thus resisting usual bifurcations between doctrine and ritual, as well as between so-called "elite" and "popular" religion. (Source of abstract: Dissertation Abstracts International)


Nie Lili. "Changes in Perceptions of Ancestors: Field Data from a Rural Village in Northeastern China." In: Suenari Michio, J.S. Eades & Christian Daniels [eds.], Perspectives on Chinese Society: Anthropological Views from Japan. Canterbury: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent, 1995. Pp.92-104.


Nickerson, Peter. "'Let Living and Dead Take Separate Paths': Bureaucratisation and Textualisation in Early Chinese Mortuary Ritual." In; Benjamin Penny [ed.], Daoism in History: Essays in Honour of Liu Ts'un-yan. London, New York: Routledge, 2006. Pp.10-40.


Oxfeld, Ellen. "'When You Drink Water, Think of Its Source': Morality, Status, and Reinvention in Rural Chinese Funerals." Journal of Asian Studies 63(2004)4: 961-990. [Note: Based on fieldwork in a Hakka village in Mei xian, northeast Guangdong province.]


Oxfeld, Ellen. "Life-Cycle Rituals in Rural and Urban China: Birth, Marriage and Death." In Handbook on Religion in China, edited by Stephan Feuchtwang, 110–131. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020.


Pan Hongli. "The Old Folks' Associations and Lineage Revival in Contemporary Villages of Southern Fujian Province." In: Tan Chee-Beng [ed.], Southern Fujian: Reproduction of Traditions in Post-Mao China. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2006. Pp.69-96.


Peng Mu. “The Invisible and the Visible: Communicating with the Yin World.” Asian Ethnology 74, no. 2 (2015): 335-362.

Abstract: In the absence of the institutional propagation of religious knowledge, how do people form an understanding of the yin world (yinjian), the Chinese spiritual realm where ancestors, spirits, and ghosts dwell, in contrast to the yang world (yangjian) where we live? Based upon fieldwork conducted in 2005, 2006, and 2010 in rural Chaling, Hunan, this article explores how the annual observance of the Ghost Festival, the time when souls are said to return to the world of the living, instills beliefs about the yin world. Elaborating on spirit mediums through whom villagers communicate with deceased family members, it examines how spirit possessions shape and are shaped by villagers’ understanding of the yin world. Traditions and assumptions engrained in local life enable a dialogue between the dead and the living, while the depictions of the afterlife through spirit mediumship embody images and visions of the yin world, making the invisible visible. (Source: journal)


Pines, Yuri, "History as a Guide to the Netherworld: Rethinking the Chunqiu shiyu." Journal of Chinese Religions 31(2003): 101-126.


Pirazzoli-t’Serstevens, Michèle. “Death and the Dead: Practices and Images in the Qin and Han.” In: John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD). Leiden: Brill, 2009. Pp.949-1026.


Pirazzoli-t’Serstevens, Michèle. “Autour de la mort et des morts: pratiques et images à l’époque des Qin et des Hans.” In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion et société en Chine ancienne et médiévale. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf/Institut Ricci, 2009. Pp. 339-393.


Rawson, Jessica. “Changes in the Representation of Life and Afterlife as Illustrated by the Contents of Tombs of the T’ang and Sung Periods.” In: Maxwell K. Hearn & Judith G. Smith [eds.], Arts of the Sung and Yüan. New York: The Metropoloitan Museum of Art, 1996. Pp. 23-43.


Reed, Carrie. “Messages from the Dead in Nanke Taishou zhuan.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 31 (2009): 121:130.


Reeves, Caroline. “Grave Concerns: Bodies, Burial, and Identity in Early Republican China.” In: David Strand, Sherman Cochran, and Wen-hsin Yeh [eds.], Cities in Motion: Interior, Coast, and Diaspora in Transnational China. Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2007. Pp.27-52.


Riegel, Jeffrey K., "Do Not Serve the Dead as You Serve the Living: The Lüshi chunqiu Treatises on Moderation in Burial." Early China 20 (1995): 301-330.


Rouse, Wendy L. "'What We Didn't Understand': A History of Chinese Death Ritual in China and California." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.19-45.


Rouse, Wendy L. "Archaeological Excavations at Virginiatown's Chinese Cemeteries." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.81-106.


Rowe, William T., "Ancestral Rites and Political Authority in Late Imperial China: Chen Hongmou in Jiangxi." Modern China 24(1998)4: 378-407.


Salmon, Claudine, "Ancestral Halls, Funeral Associations, and Attempts at Resinicization in Nineteenth-Century Netherlands India." In: Anthony Reid [ed.], Sojourners and Settlers: Histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese in Honour of Jennifer Cushman. St Leonards, NSW: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with Allen & Unwin, 1996. Pp.183-214.


Schottenhammer, Angela, Grabinschriften in der Song-Dynastie. Heidelberg: edition forum, 1995.


Schottenhammer, Angela [ed.], Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt / M.: Peter Lang, 2003.


Schottenhammer, Angela, "Einige Überlegungen zur Entstehung von Grabinschriften." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.21-59.


Schottenhammer, Angela, "Das Grab des Wang Chuzhi (863-923)." In: Angela Schottenhammer (ed.), Auf den Spuren des Jenseits. Chinesische Grabkultur in den Facetten von Wirklichkeit, Geschichte und Totenkult. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2003. Pp.61-117.


Seiwert, Hubert. "Ancestor Worship and State Rituals in Contemporary China: Fading Boundaries between Religious and Secular." Zeitschrift für Religionswissenschaft 24, no. 2 (2016): 127-152.

Abstract: The paper argues that the distinction between religious and secular realms of society is not as clear-cut in modern societies as it appears in theories of functional and institutional differentiation. The data used are mainly from China with a short excursion to the United States. The starting point is ancestor worship, which is a central element of traditional Chinese religion. The significance of ancestor worship in Chinese history and culture is briefly explained to illustrate on the one hand its central importance as a ritual practice and on the other hand the ambiguities of interpretation. On this basis, some theoretical considerations about the existence of ancestors are presented. This is followed by a report on contemporary temple festivals focusing on the worship of Fuxi, a mythic figure considered to be the first ancestor of the Chinese people. The next step is the description of official state rituals devoted to the worship of the very same mythological hero in contemporary China. Against this backdrop, the last part of the paper discusses the theoretical questions of classification and distinguishing between the religious and the secular. (Source: journal)


Selbitschka, Armin. "Sacrifice vs. Sustenance: Food as a Burial Good in Late Pre-Imperial and Early Imperial Chinese Tombs and Its Relation to Funerary Rites." Early China 41 (2018): 179-243.

Abstract: One of the medical manuscripts recovered from Tomb No. 3 at Mawangdui (dated 186 b.c.e.) states that, "When a person is born there are two things that need not to be learned: the first is to breathe and the second is to eat." Of course it is true that all healthy newborn human beings possess the reflexes to breathe and eat. Yet, the implications of death should have been just as obvious to the ancient Chinese. Once the human brain ceases to function, there is no longer a biological need for oxygen and nourishment. Nevertheless, a large number of people in late pre-imperial and early imperial China insisted on burying food and drink with the dead. Most modern commentators take the deposition of food and drink as burial goods to be a rather trite phenomenon that warrants little reflection. To their minds both kinds of deposits were either intended to sustain the spirit of the deceased in the hereafter or simply a sacrifice to the spirit of the deceased. Yet, a closer look at the archaeological evidence suggests otherwise. By tracking the exact location of food and drink containers in late pre-imperial and early imperial tombs and by comprehensively analyzing inscriptions on such vessels in addition to finds of actual food, the article demonstrates that reality was more complicated than this simple either/or dichotomy. Some tombs indicate that the idea of continued sustenance coincided with occasional sacrifices. Moreover, this article will introduce evidence of a third kind of sacrifice that, so far, has gone unnoticed by scholarship. Such data confirms that sacrifices to spirits other than the one of the deceased sometimes were also part of funerary rituals. By paying close attention to food and drink as burial goods the article will put forth a more nuanced understanding of early Chinese burial practices and associated notions of the afterlife.


Sen, Tansen, "Astronomical Tomb Paintings from Xuanhua: Mandalas?" Ars Orientalis 29(1999): 29-54.

Abstract: While the popularity of cremation in China between the tenth and thirteenth centuries is well documented, archaeological evidence for the Buddhist impact on the practice has been lacking. A group of Liao dynasty (907-1125) tombs from the Xuanhua district in Hebei Province, belonging to Chinese residents, provides significant visual testimony to the application of Buddhist rituals in disposing of the dead by cremation. The paintings of celestial objects, drawn on tomb ceilings and framed with Buddhist motifs, show striking similarities to esoteric Star Mandalas and demonstrate the acceptance of Buddhist horoscopic astrology by the laity. Executed during the Liao-Jin transition period, the Xuanhua astronomical paintings include the earliest illustrations yet known of zodiacal symbols in the popular pantheon of East Asia. The paintings are important clues to the synthesis of Buddhist and Chinese views of, and the ways to deal with, life after death. (Source: Ars Orientalis)


Shan, Vivian Lim Tsui, "Specializing in Death: The Case of the Chinese in Singapore." Southeast Asian Journal of Social Science 23(1995)2:62-88.


Shen Hsueh-man. "Body Matters: Manikin Burials in the Liao Tombs of Xuanhua, Hebei Province." Artibus Asiae 65(2005)1: 99-141.


Shih, Fang-Long. "Generation of a New Space: a Maiden Temple in the Chinese Religious Culture of Taiwan." Culture and Religion 8.1 (2007): 89-104.


Shu, Ping, "Lineage Making in Southern China since the 1980s." In: Robert Cribb [ed.], Asia Examined: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2004, Canberra, Australia. http://coombs.anu.edu.au/ASAA/conference/proceedings/Shu-P-ASAA2004.pdf


Sinn, Elizabeth. “Moving Bones: Hong Kong’s Role as an ‘In-between Place’ in the Chinese Diaspora.” In: David Strand, Sherman Cochran, and Wen-hsin Yeh [eds.], Cities in Motion: Interior, Coast, and Diaspora in Transnational China. Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2007. Pp.247-271.


Snyder-Reinke, Jeff. “Afterlives of the Dead: Uncovering Graves and Mishandling Corpses in Nineteenth-Century China.” Frontiers of History in China 11, no. 1 (2016): 1-20.

Abstract: The late imperial Chinese state made a concerted effort to regulate the bodies of the dead. The statutes and substatutes of the Qing Code not only specified how and when corpses were to be buried, but they also criminalized the exposure, manipulation, alteration, and destruction of dead bodies. Through an examination of legal cases related to the crime of “uncovering graves” (fazhong), this article explores the uses and abuses of corpses in early nineteenth century China. It argues that dead bodies presented a unique problem for the state. On the one hand, laws related to uncovering graves were intended to keep corpses in their proper places. Once a corpse was buried, it was supposed to be fixed—ritually, materially, and spatially. Unfortunately, this ideal could never be fully realized, since corpses were always in motion. They decomposed; they shifted in the earth; they were exposed by soil erosion; and they were subjected to degradation over time. Moreover, they were disturbed, moved, manipulated, gathered, divided, circulated, and even consumed medicinally by others. In other words, many corpses had interesting and eventful social lives. This article explores some of these lives in an effort to illuminate how the state attempted to manage and control intractable bodies during the nineteenth century. (Source: journal)


Stafford, Charles, Separation and Union in Modern China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

Abstract: In this original and readable book, Charles Stafford describes the Chinese fascination with separation and reunion. Drawing on his field studies in Taiwan and mainland China, he gives a vivid account of raucous festivals of reunion, elaborate rituals for the sending-off of gods (and daughters), poetic moments of leave-takings between friends, and bitter political rhetoric about Chinese national unity. The idioms and practices of separation and reunion - which are woven into the fabric of daily life - help people to explain the passions aroused by the possibility of national division. In this book, the discussion of everyday rituals leads into a unique and accessible general introduction to Chinese and Taiwanese society and culture. [Source: publisher's website]

Contents: Introduction: an anthropology of separation; 1. Two festivals of reunion; 2. The etiquette of parting and return; 3. Greeting and sending-off the dead; 4. The ambivalent threshold; 5. Commensality as reunion; 6. Women and the obligation to return; 7. Developing a sense of history; 8. Classical narratives of separation; 9. The politics of separation and reunion in China and Taiwan; Conclusion: the separation constraint.


Standaert, Nicolas. The Interweaving of Rituals: Funerals in the Cultural Exchange between China and Europe. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2008.

Abstract: The death of the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci in China in 1610 was the occasion for demonstrations of European rituals appropriate for a Catholic priest and also of Chinese rituals appropriate to the country hosting the Jesuit community. Rather than burying Ricci immediately in a plain coffin near the church, according to their European practice, the Jesuits followed Chinese custom and kept Ricci's body for nearly a year in an air-tight Chinese-style coffin and asked the emperor for burial ground outside the city walls. Moreover, at Ricci's funeral itself, on their own initiative the Chinese performed their funerary rituals, thus starting a long and complex cultural dialogue in which they took the lead during the next century.

The Interweaving of Rituals explores the role of ritual - specifically rites related to death and funerals - in cross-cultural exchange, demonstrating a gradual interweaving of Chinese and European ritual practices at all levels of interaction in seventeenth-century China. This includes the interplay of traditional and new rituals by a Christian community of commoners, the grafting of Christian funerals onto established Chinese practices, and the sponsorship of funeral processions for Jesuit officials by the emperor. Through careful observation of the details of funerary practice, Nicolas Standaert illustrates the mechanics of two-way cultural interaction. His thoughtful analysis of the ritual exchange between two very different cultural traditions is especially relevant in today's world of global ethnic and religious tension. His insights will be of interest to a broad range of scholars, from historians to anthropologists to theologians. [Source: publisher's website]


Stuart, Jan & Evelyn S. Rawski, Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.


Sun, Yinggang. “Imagined Reality: Urban Space and Sui-Tang Beliefs in the Underworld.” Studies in Chinese Religions 1, no. 4 (2015): 375-416.

Abstract: Chang’an, the political, economic, and cultural center of the Sui-Tang period, is of great scholarly significance for the study of medieval Chinese political, religious, and cultural change. The scholarly study of Chang’an has already achieved research advances focused on the study of urban space, as well as politics, religion, ritual, and literature as they were manifested in the space of the urban wards in the process of (larger) social transformations. There are a relatively large number of contemporary studies that discuss the concrete, actual urban world. However, in reality there are abundant sources on Sui-Tang Chang’an’s history that provide information regarding the spiritual world of Chang’an. The spiritual or mental realm also comprises an important aspect of historical research that must not be overlooked. In addition to the actual, concrete world, the mental realm of Chang’an’s clerical and lay elites, as well as that of the mass of the populace, was also reflected in Chang’an’s urban spaces. On the level of life and death, the minds of Chang’an’s residents were preoccupied with an underworld. Between the realms of ‘darkness’ you (the underworld mingjie) and ‘light’ ming (the realm of the living shengjie) there existed mechanisms for mutual communication, and thus information from the underworld could be conveyed to the realm of the living. (Source: journal)


Sutton, Donald S. "Death Rites and Chinese Culture: Standardization and Variation in Ming and Qing Times." Modern China 33 (2007)1: 125-153.


Szonyi, Michael, Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002. (Note: See especially ch.4 "The Ancestral Hall" and ch.5 "Rituals of the Ancestral Hall: New Year's Day and Lantern Festival")

Abstract: Presenting a new approach to the history of Chinese kinship, this book attempts to bridge the gap between anthropological and historical scholarship on the Chinese lineage by considering its development in terms of individual and collective strategies. Based on a wide range of newly available sources such as lineage genealogies and stone inscriptions, as well as oral history and extensive observation of contemporary ritual practice in the field, this work explores the historical development of kinship in villages of the Fuzhou region of southeastern Fujian province.

In the late imperial period (1368-1911), the people of Fuzhou compiled lengthy genealogies, constructed splendid ancestral halls, and performed elaborate collective rituals of ancestral sacrifice, testimony to the importance they attached to organized patrilineal kinship. In their writings on the lineage, members of late imperial elites presented such local behavior as the straightforward expression of universal and eternal principles. In this book, the author shows that kinship in the Fuzhou region was a form of strategic practice that was always flexible and negotiable. In using the concepts and institutions of kinship, individuals and groups redefined them to serve their own purposes, which included dealing with ethnic differentiation, competing for power and status, and formulating effective responses to state policies. Official efforts to promote a neo-Confucian agenda, to register land and population, and to control popular religion drove people to organize themselves on kinship principles and to institutionalize their kinship relationships. Local efforts to turn compliance with official policies, or at least claims of compliance, to local advantage meant that policymakers were continually frustrated.

Because kinship was constituted in a complex of representations, it was never stable or fixed, but fluid and multiple. In offering this new perspective on this history of Chinese lineage practices, the author also provides new insights into the nature of cultural integration and state control in traditional Chinese society. (Source: publisher's webpage)


Szonyi, Michael. "Making Claims about Standardization and Orthopraxy in Late Imperial China: Rituals and Cults in the Fuzhou Region in Light of Watson's Theories." Modern China 33 (2007)1: 47-71.


Szonyi, Michael. “Lineages and the Making of Contemporary China.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 433-487. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Tam, Yik Fai. “Xianghua foshi (incense and flower Buddhist rites): a Local Buddhist Funeral Ritual Tradition in Southeastern China.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 238-260.


Tam Wai Lun. "Unity in Diversity: The Deliverance of Soul Ritual in South China." Studies in Chinese Religions 4, no. 1 (2018): 112-137.

Abstract: It was James Watson’s contention that the unity of Chinese culture was to be found in funeral rites. Funeral rites are usually conducted by the master of ceremony and ritual specialists. Watson had a detailed description on the part performed by the master of ceremony but gave only a six-page treatment on the part performed by the ritual specialists. This paper deals basically with the part of funeral rites performed by the ritual specialists. To avoid confusion, we will call the part performed by ritual specialist as Duwang (deliverance of the souls of the deceased). We will submit that, despite the diversity of Duwang ritual found in Chinese local societies and despite the fact that both Buddhism and Taoism has their own Duwang ritual, Duwang in China, in the same manner as funeral rites discussed by Watson, has a union structure across the southern part of the nation. We will use two cases to illustrate our hypothesis, namely the case of Jianchuan in Yunnan where a Vajrayana Buddhist tradition called ?c?rya Buddhism is flourished and the case of Wanzai in Jiangxi where there is a mixture of Buddho-Daoist tradition. (Source: journal)


Tan, Chris K.K., Xin Wang, and Shasha Chen. "Corpse Brides: Yinhun and the Macabre Agency of Cadavers in Contemporary Chinese Ghost Marriages." Asian Studies Review 43, no. 1 (2019): 148-163.

Abstract: Recently, Chinese newspapers have captured the attention of their readers with stories of criminals pillaging graves and murdering people to obtain corpses to sell for use in "ghost marriages" (yinhun, 阴婚). One sensationalistic report even claims that "150,000 yuan (US$22,000) won't even get you bones". When the state casts yinhun as a "culturally backward" superstition incongruent with national visions of modernity, how are we to understand the resurgence of this practice? By tracing the history of ghost marriages, we argue that yinhun corpses are simultaneously dead and alive. Adapting Gell's theory of the agency of art, we maintain that yinhun corpses may be traded as lifeless commodities, but they also possess powerful living agency that critically undergirds the social efficacy of the ghost-marriage ritual. Indeed, these cadavers perform a sort of macabre affective labour that soothes the anxieties of the living. As such, this article deepens our understanding of what we mean by "commodity".


Tan, Chris K.K. "The Macabre Affective Labour of Cadavers in Chinese Ghost Marriages." Made in China 5, no. 2 (2020): 118–123.

Abstract: Recently, Chinese newspapers have captured the attention of their readers with stories of criminals robbing graves and murdering people to sell the corpses for use in 'ghost marriages' (yinhun 阴婚). The state casts ghost marriages as 'superstition', but the practice remains as a way for people to attempt to sooth the angst of the spirit of the deceased and its living relatives. In fact, the lifeless corpse used in yinhun must be considered alive during the ritual for the ghost marriage to achieve its spiritual and social efficacies. As such, yinhun cadavers perform a sort of macabre affective labour.


Tao, Hung-Lin; Yeh, Powen. "Religion as an Investment: Comparing the Contributions and Volunteer Frequency among Christians, Buddhists, and Folk Religionists." Southern Economic Journal 73.3 (2007): 770-790.

Abstract: The magnitude of the reward of an afterlife promised in the case of Christians is significantly greater than that in relation to both Buddhism and Taiwanese folk religions. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether these differences in the promised rewards of an afterlife across religions and the extent of the belief in the existence of an afterlife within the same religion are positively correlated with religionists' contributions to their religion and the frequency of their voluntary activities. This positive correlation is verified across different religions and within Christianity in regard to the religionists' contributions.


Teather, E.K., "Time Out and Worlds Apart: Tradition and Modernity Meet in the Time-space of the Gravesweeping Festivals of Hong Kong." Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 22(2001)2: 156-172.

Abstract: This paper focuses on Hong Kong's Gravesweeping Festivals, Qingming and Chongyang. The practices carried out in urban cemeteries at these Festivals are over two thousand years old, and represent "time out" from modern "clock time". They are examined in the context of Giddens' (1985) reworking of Hagerstrand's time-space geography, and of Douglas' (1966) discussion of pollution. It is suggested that the cemeteries are regarded as dangerous places because they represent liminal spaces. Giddens' dimension of span enables a distinction to be made between, on the one hand, the long-established cultural significance of the grave, and, on the other, the recentness of the urban cemetery. The dimension of form (redefined from Giddens' original concept), applied to some details of cemetery landscapes, reveals the "worlds apart" of the non-material worlds of the spirits and of fengshui. By considering the Festivals in the light of Giddens' dimension, character it emerges that the Gravesweeping Festivals are, as they have been for centuries, firmly embedded in Hong Kong's social system, where routines of ancestor veneration continue to renew and strengthen the family bonds that are at the heart of Confucian values. Furthermore, their continued observation may well represent practices that are of deep ontological significance to the predominantly immigrant community of Hong Kong. (Source: A&H Search)


Thompson, Lydia, "The Yi'nan Tomb: Narrative and Ritual in Pictorial Art of the Eastern Han (25-220 C.E.)." Ph.D. diss., New York University 1998. [Note: For pictures of the tomb and further information about it go to http://www.foxthompson.net/ldt/tomb.html.]

Abstract: This dissertation investigates the pictorial narrative of relief carvings in a second century C.E. Chinese tomb. Among the issues addressed are the relationship of pictorial narrative and ritual practice, and how the space of the tomb conveys narrative meaning. I find a dynamic space of shifting positions in which the imagery is not aimed at one ideal observer, but at two kinds of ideal observers--the living mourner as s/he enters the tomb from the south and the deceased male and female located in the rear chamber. Thus it is concluded that the pictorial narrative represents the process of forging an unbroken relationship of mutual benefit between the living and the dead and establishing a sacred center.

The public reception of the monument's imagery is also considered. It is argued that the imagery, especially representations of cultural heroes, may have been viewed differently depending on the viewers' status, education and ability to read. Such figures are usually identified with the moral and behavioural codes sanctified by the state. However, the mode of representation and placement in the tomb evoke powers of supernatural protection associated with their local cult status. This points up the dual role of the male occupant of the tomb, a member of the provincial elite: he is charged with both disseminating the ideology of the state and accomodating or co-opting the local cults.

Finally, the pictorial narrative is considered from the perspective of its function within the larger context of the burial ground and ritual performance. It is argued that the narrative structure parallels the mourner's progress as s/he enters and then exits the tomb, and that scenes of funerary rites may have had a votive function. Also examined is the role of the artisan and ritual performance in consecrating the tomb and imbuing the bas-reliefs with magical powers of protection and transformation. (Source: Dissertation Abstracts International)


Thompson, Lydia, "Confucian Paragon or Popular Deity: Legendary Heroes in a Late-Eastern Han Tomb." Asia Major, 3rd series, 12(1999)2: 1-38.


Thompson, Stuart. “On (not) Eating the Dead: A Reader’s Digest of a ‘Chinese’ Funerary Taboo.” In Consuming China: Approaches to Cultural Change in Contemporary China, ed. by Kevin Latham, Stuart Thompson & Jakob Klein. London: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 121-149.


Thote, Alain, "Burial Practices as Seen in Rulers' Tombs of the Eastern Zhou Period: Patterns and Regional Traditions." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.65-107.


Thote, Alain. “Shang and Zhou Funeral Practices: Interpretation of Material Vestiges.” In: John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski [eds.], Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC-220 AD), vol.1. Leiden: Brill, 2009.


Thote, Alain. “Les pratiques funéraires Shang et Zhou: interprétation des vestiges matériels.” In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion et société en Chine ancienne et médiévale. Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf/Institut Ricci, 2009. Pp. 47-76.


Tian Tian. “From ‘Clothing Strips’ to Clothing Lists: Tomb Inventories and Western Han Funerary Ritual.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 32-86.

Abstract: “Clothing strips” refers to those sections of tomb inventories written on bamboo and wooden slips from the early and middle Western Han that record clothing items. The distinctive characteristics of the writing, check markings, and placement in the tomb of these clothing strips reflect funerary burial conventions of that period. “Clothing lists” from the latter part of the Western Han period are directly related to these clothing strips. Differences in format between these two types of documents are the result of changes in funerary ritual during the Western Han period. (source: journal)


Tong Chee Kiong. Chinese Death Rituals in Singapore. London, New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004.


Tsan, Tsong-sheng, "Ahnenkult und Christentum in Taiwan heute: eine asiatische Fallstudie." Zeitschrift für Mission 23 (1997) 3: 184-204.


Tsu, Timothy Y. , "Toothless Ancestors, Felicitous Descendants: The Rite of Secondary Burial in South Taiwan." Asian Folklore Studies 59(2000)1: 1-22.


Wang, Cecil Kwei Heng, "Ancestor Veneration Practices and Christian Conversion in Taiwan: A Study of Perceptions of Chinese College Students in Urban Taiwan." Thesis (Ph.D.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2001, 402p.

Abstract: Ancestral practices have long been considered the bedrock of Chinese religion, and remain one of the most significant elements of Chinese culture.

For some four hundred years, missionaries and Chinese believers debated the appropriate Christian response to ancestral veneration practices. In recent decades and up to the present time, many Chinese aver that following cultural traditions and customs is critical for maintaining identity and social status in society. While modernization altered much of Taiwan's cultural and social environment, church leaders and scholars recognize that ancestral practices remain a major obstacle that prevents Chinese people from accepting Christ. Other church leaders, however, devalue the influence of ancestral practices and forecast its spiraling decline.

The purpose of this research is to identify what is the meaning and significance of ancestral practices for Chinese college students in urban Taiwan, and to what extent are these rites roadblocks or bridges to Christian conversion?

Based on the experiences of sixteen students from whom data were collected through in-depth qualitative interviews, and by examining these relevant materials, the significance of ancestral practices and the degree of there effect on the process of becoming Christians are identified by applying Opler's theory of themes and counter-themes.

There is supportive evidence that ancestral practices continue to wield authority because the great majority of Taiwanese households are involved in some sort of veneration rites. A trend is noted, however: the younger the generation, the less serious the religious behavior, and the less thoughtful and the less articulate the conceptualizing regarding this tradition. Furthermore, for the majority of college students residing in Taiwan's metropolitan areas, the meaning of ancestral practices is either described as "nonreligious" or merely "a little religious."

The findings of this research also reveals that ancestral practices for the church in Taiwan are more a missiological and pastoral than theological issue. Therefore, four guiding principles are provided to direct those in church leadership, and ideas for further research in related areas are suggested. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Watson, James L. "Of Flesh and Bones: The Management of Death Pollution in Cantonese Society." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 355-389.


Watson, James L. "Funeral Specialists in Cantonese Society: Pollution, Performance, and Social Hierarchy." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 391-422.


Watson, James L. "Killing the Ancestors: Power and Piety in the Cantonese Ancestor Cult." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 443-451.


Watson, Rubie S. "Remembering the Dead: Graves and Politics in Southeastern China." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 325-353.


Watson, Rubie S. & James L. Watson. "From Hall of Worship to Tourist Center: an Ancestral Hall in Hong Kong's New Territories." Cultural Survival Quarterly 21(1997)1: 33-35.


Woo, Tak-ling Terry. "Distinctive Beliefs and Practices: Chinese Religiosities in Saskatoon, Canada." Journal of Chinese Overseas 12 (2016): 251-284.

Abstract: This article examines the history of Chinese religiosities in Saskatoon. Chinese Religion(s), described by Jordan and Li Paper and David Chuenyan Lai as an “unrecognized” religion in Canada, can just as easily be described as “misunderstood.” To better understand the “religion(s)” of Chinese Canadians, this exploratory essay concentrates on the population in Saskatoon from the mid-nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries with the help of archival materials that range from oral interviews to photographs; headstone inscriptions and offerings at graves in Hillcrest and Woodlawn cemeteries; textual sources including newspapers, provincial statutes, books, and journal articles; and thirteen interviews conducted in 2007. (Source: journal)


Xu, Man. “Gender and Burial in Imperial China: An Investigation of Women's Space in Fujian Tombs of the Song Era (960-1279).” Nan nü 13.1 (2011): 1-51.

Abstract: This paper examines how Song dynasty (960-1279) contemporaries viewed women's place in the afterlife. It analyzes archaeological reports on women's and men's tombs in Song Fujian as well as relevant writings by Song era Neo-Confucian scholars. Despite Neo-Confucians' strong emphasis on gender segregation among the living, both textual and material evidence show that the increasingly hardened gender hierarchy did not carry over into the afterlife. Prescription of gender distinctions in burial practices is virtually absent from neo-Confucians' writings. The structure of tombs implies that communication between women and men after death was expected, not suppressed. Similarities overwhelm differences among women's and men's grave goods, which resemble each other in both object categories and decorative motifs. Women's place in the afterlife was not a reflection of the hierarchies on earth but a new construction. (Source: journal)


Yang, Li-shou, Arland Thornton & Thomas Fricke, "Religion and Family Formation in Taiwan: The Decline of Ancestral Authority." In: Sharon K. Houseknecht & Jerry G. Pankhurst [eds.], Family, Religion, and Social Change in Diverse Societies. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Pp.121-146.


Yang, Ni & Michael Sloboda [trsl.], "Chinese Ancestor Worship in the USA." Tripod (1996) #92:5-12.


Yen, Chuan-ying, "The Immortal World in Tomb Murals." The Chinese Pen 91, 23.1 (1995): 81-94.


Yoshihara Kazuo. "Types of Surname Associations in Hong Kong: Their Precursory Organisations in China and the Development of Surname Assiations in Contemporary Hong Kong." In: Suenari Michio, J.S. Eades & Christian Daniels [eds.], Perspectives on Chinese Society: Anthropological Views from Japan. Canterbury: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent, 1995. Pp.105-119.


Zhang, Ellen Cong. “How Long Did It Take to Plan a Funeral? Liu Kai’s (947-1000) Experience Burying His Parents.” Frontiers of History in China 13, no. 4 (2018): 508-530.


Zhang, Jie. “The Effects of Religion, Superstition, and Perceived Gender Inequality on the Degree of Suicide Intent: A Study of Serious Attempters in China.” Omega: an International Journal for the Study of Dying, Death, Bereavement, Suicide, and Other Lethal Behaviors 55.3 (2007): 185-197.


Zhang Zong. “Comment le bodhisattva Dizang est parvenu à gouverner les Dix Rois des Enfers.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 17 (2008): 265-291.


Zhao Zhiming, "The Tangs of Lung Yeuk Tau: A Chinese Lineage in Contemporary Social Context." Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1998.


Zhong Liang. “Les ancêtres dans les manuscrits divinatoires et sacrificiels de la tombe nº 2 de Baoshan.” Études chinoises 36, no. 1 (2017): 21-49.


Zhou Yiqun. “The Status of Mothers in the Early Chinese Mourning System.” T’oung pao 99, no.1-3 (2013): 1-52.