3. Local Studies: Mainland China


Aijmer, Göran. "A Family Reunion: The Anthropology of Life, Death and New Year in Soochow." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15(2005)2: 199-218.


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. "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)


Andersen, Poul, "Taoist Ritual in the Shanghai Area." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.263-283.


Anderson, Samantha, "Gender and Ritual in South-East China." In: Arvind Sharma & Katherine K. Young [eds.], Annual Review of Women in World Religions, vol. VI. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002. Pp.122-207.


Andrews, Susan. "Gathering Medicines among the Cypress: The Relationship between Healing and Place in the Earliest Records of Mount Wutai." Studies in Chinese Religions 5, no. 1 (2019): 1-13.

Abstract: Early imaginings of Mount Wutai's (the Mountain of Five Plateaus) importance were more diverse than we might expect given the site's longstanding and intimate affiliation with Mañjuśrī (Wenshu). Alongside its importance as the Bodhisattva's territory, early accounts of this place preserved in Huixiang's (seventh-century) Ancient Chronicle of Mount Clear and Cool (Gu Qingliang zhuan) root Mount Wutai's specialness in the presence of curatives and substances promoting longevity there. These stories indicate that Wutai's connection with wellbeing played an important role in its seventh-century textual construction as a Buddhist sacred place. (Source: journal)


Ang, Isabelle. "The Revival of the Cult of Xu Xun in Jiangxi Province: The Pilgrimage to Xishan, and the Annual Rites in a Clanic Village." Daojiao xuekan 道教学刊/Journal of Taoist Studies 1 (2018): 111-132.


Arrault, Alain. "Analytic Essay on the Domestic Statuary of Central Hunan: The Cult to Divinities, Parents, and Masters." Journal of Chinese Religions 36 (2008): 1-53.


Arrault, Alain; Lina Verchery (trans.). A History of Cultic Images In China: The Domestic Statuary of Hunan. Hong Kong, Paris: Chinese University Press of Hong Kong, Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, 2020.

Abstract: In what period did objects of worship appear in China? Could there be a possible convergence between written testimonies and archaeological remains? How was the production of icons understood, especially in light of its eventual condemnation in iconoclastic discourse? This history of cultic images designed for religious worship in China remains to be written. The statue collections over the course of 16th to 20th centuries in central Hunan of southern China will give us insight into the local artistic tradition of statue-making, and the dynamics of multifarious religious practices consisting of a hybrid of Buddhism, Daoism, Confucian, Shamanism, and so forth. The documents contained inside these effigies, as well as the inscriptions found on the statues themselves, provide first-hand information that has not been filtered down through theological or philosophical discourses. Moreover, this art of domestic statuary—which is found far from palaces, large temples, monasteries, and painted or sculpted grottoes—is, indeed, still alive.


Baptandier, Brigitte, "Pratiques de la mémoire en Chine: le dieu des murs et des fossés de Puxi et Hanjiang." Genèses 23 (1996): 100-124.


Baptandier, Brigitte, "Entrer en montagne pour y rêver. Le mont des Pierres et des Bambous." Terrain 26(1996): 99-122.


Baptandier, Brigitte, "Lüshan Puppet Theatre in Fujian." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.243-256.


Baptandier, Brigitte, "Façonner la divinité en soi: À la recherche d'un lieu d'énonciation." Ethnologies 25(2003)1: 109-151. (Note: On female mediums [xiangu] in Fujian province.)


Bender, Mark, "A Description of Jiangjing (Telling Scriptures) Services in Jingjiang, China." Asian Folklore Studies 60(2001)1: 101-133.

Abstract: Jiangjing (telling scriptures) is a local style of oral prosimetric narrative performed in ritual contexts in the area of Jingjiang on the north bank of theYangzi River in Jiangsu Province, China. The style is a local expression of a once popular form of oral narrative known as baojuan ('precious scrolls' or 'precious volumes') that traditionally had associations with popular Buddhism and other beliefs. Jiangjing performances are recognized locally as having secular and sacred story repertories, performed by semi-professional storytellers at nighttime and daytime services, respectively. The storyteller is accompanied by a chorus of village elders who chime in at appropriate point sin the narration, a situation that raises interesting questions of performer/audience dynamics. This article includes a brief overview of jiangjing's history, its process of performance, a description of a child-protection ritual held in concert with a storytelling session, and a translation of a sample text of jiangjing. [Source of abstract: A&H Search]


Berezkin, Rostislav. “Scripture-telling (jiangjing) in the Zhangjiangang Area and the History of Chinese Storytelling.” Asia Major, Third Series, 24.1 (2011): 1-42.


Berezkin, Rostislav, and Vincent Goossaert. “The Three Mao Lords in Modern Jiangnan: Cult and Pilgrimage between Daoism and baojuan Recitation.” Bulletin de l'École Française d'Extrême-Orient 99 (2012): 295-326.


Berezkin, Rostislav. “On the Survival of the Traditional Ritiualized Performance Art in Modern China: A Case of Telling Scriptures by Yu Dingjun in Shanghu Town Area of Changshu City.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore/Min-su ch’ü-i 181 (2013): 167-222.


Berezkin, Rostislav. "The Connection between the Cults of Local Deities and Baojuan (Precious Scrolls) Texts in Changshu County of Jiangsu: with Baojuan Performed in the Gangkou Area of Zhangjiagang City as Examples." Monumenta Serica 61 (2013): 73-111.


Berezkin, Rostislav & Victor H. Mair. "The Precious Scroll on Bodhisattva Guanyin from Jingjiang, and Confucian Morality." Journal of Chinese Religions 42.1 (2014): 1-27.

Abstract: This article deals with the special features of the contents of the Precious Scroll on Bodhisattva Guanshiyin from Xiangshan (Xiangshan Guanshiyin baojuan), a prosimetric text performed in Jingjiang, and its role in the local culture. Though based on written narratives, this text exists primarily as an oral version in the tradition of religious storytelling called “scripture telling” (jiangjing). We trace the origin of this text and argue that it belongs to the late stage of the transformation of the famous Buddhist narrative subject—the story of Princess Miaoshan (earthly incarnation of Guan[shi]yin)—in the religious culture of China, where it was heavily influenced by Confucian ideas. We also analyze the application of these ideas in the context of ritualized performances of this text in modern Jingjiang. (Source: publisher's website)


Berezkin, Rostislav. “The Multiple Methods of Printing and Circulating ‘Precious Scrolls’ in Early Twentieth-Century Shanghai and Its Vicinity: Toward an Assessment of Multifunctionality of the Genre.” In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 139-185. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Berezkin, Rostislav and Vincent Goossaert. “The Three Mao Lords in Modern Jiangnan: Cult and Pilgrimage between Daoism and baojuan Recitation.” Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient 99 (2012-13): 295-326.


Berezkin, Rostislav, and Vincent Goossaert. “The Wutong Cult in the Modern and Contemporary Suzhou Area.” Journal of Chinese Studies, no. 70 (2020): 153–200.

Abstract: This article explores the living Wutong cult in the Suzhou area. In continuation with its long history, this spirit-possession cult still has fortune-bringing and exorcistic di- mensions. The authors combine historical and ethnographic approaches to the Wutong beliefs with a focus on the pilgrimage to cult's centre at Shangfangshan (a sacred site in Suzhou) and the domestic worship of the Wutong in the Changshu area. This provides us with a perspective on this cult as built by ritual specialists and common believers. In both forms of worship, the baojuan storytelling is actively employed, and the Baojuan of the Grand Dowager (transmitted as manuscripts) thus appears as a key scripture of local beliefs. With the analysis of textual and ethnographic evidence, we move beyond the established argument about these infamous deities, which con- sists of questioning whether the Wutong are essentially immoral, and to what extent the attempts at taming and standardizing them have succeeded. We uncover the am- biguity of the Wutong, who are presented as dangerous and kind at the same time in the local sources. The scriptures of the cult, notably the Baojuan of the Grand Dowager, acknowledge this ambiguity, which underpins the gods' power, and develop ritual means to deal with it.


Berezkin, Rostislav. “The Precious Scroll of the Blood Pond in the “Telling Scriptures” Tradition in Changshu, Jiangsu, China.” Religions 12 (2021).


Berndt, Andreas. "The Cult of the Longwang: Their Origin, Spread, and Regional Significance." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.61-94.

Abstract: This essay discusses the cult of the Chinese water deities called longwang (Dragon Kings or Dragon Princes). Deriving mainly from two sources - one the ancient Chinese belief in dragons itself, the other Indian snake deities called nagas or nagarajas that came to China along with Buddhism beginning in the first millennium - the cult became increasingly popular during the Tang and Song dynasties and can be found throughout the empire of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The essay focuses on how the expansion of the longwang cult can be explained. It argues that, despite historical developments, its expansion was mainly influenced by geographical factors like climate and topography. But these influences also modified the cult of the longwang: in late imperial China, instead of a homogeneous cult, a great variety of different forms of longwang worship existed. Local case studies from Qing dynasty Xuanhua (former Chaha’er), Changting (Fujian), Taigu (Shanxi), and Suzhou (Jiangsu) are introduced to illustrate these developments. (Source: book)

Berezkin, Rostislav. “On the Performance and Ritual Aspects of the Xiangshan Baojuan: A Case Study of Religious Assemblies in the Changshu Area.” Hanxue yanjiu 33, no. 3 (2015): 307-344.


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.


Berezkin, Rostislav. "The Precious Scroll of Miaoying in the Performative Context of Southern Jiangsu Storytelling." CLEAR 42 (2020): 93–117.


Billioud, Sébastien & Joël Thoraval. "Lijiao: The Return of Ceremonies Honouring Confucius in Mainland China." China Perspectives 2009/4: 82-100.


Brandl, Rudolf M., "Das nuo in Guichi (Anhui, China) 1994: Ein Feldforschungsbericht." In: Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller, Uwe Pätzold & Chung Kyo-chul [eds.], "Lux Oriente": Begegnungen der Kulturen in der Musikforschung: Festschrift Robert Günther zum 65. Geburtstag. Kassel: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1995. Pp. 111-148.


Broadwin, Julie Ann, "Intertwining Threads: Silkworm Goddesses, Sericulture Workers and Reformers in Jiangnan, 1880-1930." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California-San Diego, 1999.


Bruun, Ole, Fengshui in China: Geomantic Divination Between State Orthodoxy and Popular Religion. Foreword by Stephan Feuchtwang. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2003.


Bryson, Megan. Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.

Abstract: Dali is a small region on a high plateau in Southeast Asia. Its main deity, Baijie, has assumed several gendered forms throughout the area's history: Buddhist goddess, the mother of Dali's founder, a widowed martyr, and a village divinity. What accounts for so many different incarnations of a local deity? Goddess on the Frontier argues that Dali's encounters with forces beyond region and nation have influenced the goddess's transformations. Dali sits at the cultural crossroads of Southeast Asia, India, and Tibet; it has been claimed by different countries but is currently part of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. Megan Bryson incorporates historical-textual studies, art history, and ethnography in her book to argue that Baijie provided a regional identity that enabled Dali to position itself geopolitically and historically. In doing so, Bryson provides a case study of how people craft local identities out of disparate cultural elements and how these local identities transform over time in relation to larger historical changes—including the increasing presence of the Chinese state. (Source: publisher's website)


Bryson, Megan. “Gendering Ethnic Religion in 1940s and 1950s Yunnan: Sexuality in the Gua sa la Festival and the Worship of the Goddess Baijie.” NAN NÜ 19, no. 1 (2017): 97–126.

Abstract: Chinese intellectuals adopted the concepts minzu (ethnicity or “nationality”) and zongjiao (religion) from Japan in the late nineteenth century as part of the wider discourse of modernity. This article examines the gendered dimensions of these concepts through writings about sexuality in two examples from Dali, Yunnan (home to the Bai minzu) from the late Republican period (1911-49) to the early years of the People’s Republic of China. The first example, the Gua sa la festival, involves sexually explicit songs, cross-dressing, and possibly also sexual encounters with strangers. The second example, the cult of the local goddess Baijie, celebrates the fidelity and chastity of an eighth-century queen who committed suicide rather than marry her husband’s killer. The examination of writings about Gua sa la and Baijie demonstrates how intellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s selectively invoked concepts of minzu, zongjiao, and sexuality to affirm these apparently opposing phenomena as representations of Bai ethnic culture. Though the political and discursive climate changed significantly throughout this period, in the 1940s and 1950s Gua sa la and Baijie both remained positive images, which was only possible because intellectuals elided either zongjiao or sexuality in their descriptions. (Source: journal)


Bujard, Marianne, " Le culte du Joyau de Chen: culte historique--culte vivant." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10(1998): 131-181.


Bujard, Marianne & Christian Lamouroux, "La fête du Roi de la Médicine à Yaoxian (Shaanxi)." Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient 85 (1998): 422-428.


Bujard, Marianne; Xi Ju. "The Heritage of the Temples, a Heritage in Stone: An Overview of Beijing’s Religious Epigraphy." China Perspectives 2007/4: 22-30.

Abstract: Out of the thousands of temples that still existed in Beijing before the 1950s, less than a dozen are nowadays active, the remaining ones having been either abandoned or destroyed. However, the commemorative inscriptions that were carved on stelae for centuries and that still remain on rubbings enable us to understand whole sections of the history of temples and of the religious life of the capital. [Source: journal]


Bunkenborg, Mikkel. "Popular Religion Inside Out: Gender and Ritual Revival in a Hebei Township." China Information 26.3 (2012): 359-376.


Bunkenborg, Mikkel. „From Metaphors of Empire to Enactments of State: Popular Religious Movements and Health in Rural North China.“ positions: east asia cultures critique 22, no.3 (2014): pp. 573-602.


Carlitz, Katherine, "Shrines, Governing-Class Identity, and the Cult of Widow Fidelity in Mid-Ming Jiangnan." Journal of Asian Studies 56 (1997) 3: 612-640.


Chae, Jun Hyung. "Religion, Charity, and Contested Local Society: Daoyuan and World Red Swastika Society in Eastern Shandong, 1920-1954." PhD dissertation, The University of Chicago, 2015.

Abstract: This study describes Daoyuan, a syncretic popular religion that emerged after the Great War, and its charity wing, the World Red Swastika Society. Focusing on this popular religion's active involvement in public affairs from 1920 to 1954, mostly in Shandong province, it explores how this religious organization developed its networks and businesses, as well as how its syncretic belief shaped its unique religious identity. It also examines the complex relationship between religious charity and the state in modern China. Religious charity in this project focuses on charitable works by the popular religion. One of the purposes of this research is to view local popular religions as influential social actors. It also creates a vehicle for exploring the ways various charitable works by these groups served as a critical node in which religious and secular forces overlapped. Few historians mention the role of religion in the social formation of modern China. This study aims to contribute to the scholarly discussion on religion-state relations in the modern Chinese context. It is, however, neither another simple reiterated critique of secularization theory, nor a grandiose theorization of Chinese religiosities. Instead, it presents the informal religious sector as an alternative within the socio-historical context of modern China. By so doing, it challenges the secular modernity thesis, and argues that there were various ways to become modern.


Chan, Hok-lam. Legends of the Building of Old Peking. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press; Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2008.

Abstract: Legends of the Building of Old Peking examines a series of popular legends surrounding the building and rebuilding of the city that served as the capital of a succession of dynasties, including the Nazha or Nezha City legend of the Yuan (1279-1368) "Great Capital" and the Ming (1368-1644) "Northern Capital," and the Mongol legend of "siting by bowshot to locate the capital city" and its Chinese adaptations. These legends reveal a rich tapestry of religious and cultural traditions surrounding the majority Han and non-Han people's conceptions of the origins of their capital cities-legends that are distinct from imperial ideologies and dynastic traditions, and evolved under changing political and cultural circumstances. The book is a unique study of the historical origins of old Peking (spelled thus to distinguish it from modern Beijing) as well as the genesis and efflorescence of related popular culture in today's capital. [Source: publisher's website]


Chan, Selina Ching. “Temple-building and Heritage in China.” Ethnology 44.1 (2005): 65-79.

Abstract: Building Huang Da Xian temples in Jinhua, in the Lower Yangtze Delta, is a "heritage" process, an interpretation, manipulation, and invention of the past for present and future interests. Local memories of the saint Huang Da Xian were awakened by Hong Kong pilgrims, and the subsequent construction of temples enacted the politics of nationalism with a transnational connection. The process of remembering the saint and constructing temples creates, mediates, and invents relationships between the locals in Jinhua and Chinese living in mainland China and elsewhere. The multiple meanings of temple- building arc examined for mainland Chinese, Chinese in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the nation state. While the mainlanders treat new temples as places to perform religious activities, attract tourists, and develop the local economy, temple construction for the overseas Chinese is a nostalgic search for authenticity and roots. The state has utilized Huang Da Xian as a symbol of nationalism to reinforce a Chinese identity among mainlanders and all other Chinese. [Source: journal]


Chan, Selina Ching & Graeme S. Lang. “Temple Construction and the Revival of Popular Religion in Jinhua.” China Information 21.1 (2007): 43-69.

Abstract: This article examines a case of temple construction that was initiated by officials and cadres rather than by locals. The temple construction and religious revival are analyzed in the light of complex dynamics between the cadres at the United Front, provincial office, municipal government, township office, and religious bureau, as well as between these cadres and the locals—the intellectuals, village elders, religious specialists, and villagers. For the cadres and officials, the temple was intended as local heritage to attract tourists and ultimately to boost the local economy. However, the temple did not draw sufficient visitors as planned, whether foreign or local. On the other hand, the popularity of the deity associated with the temple took off. We suggest that whether the villagers identify culturally with the temple and lend it their support is crucial in determining its success. The fate of the temple will hence depend ultimately on the ability of the management committee to mobilize and involve local networks in the temple's activities. [Source: journal]


Chan, Selina Ching & Graeme Lang. Building Temples in China: Memories, Tourism and Identities. London, New York: Routledge, 2014.

Abstract: Much has been written on how temples are constructed or reconstructed for reviving local religious and communal life or for recycling tradition after the market reforms in China. The dynamics between the state and society that lie behind the revival of temples and religious practices initiated by the locals have been well-analysed. However, there is a gap in the literature when it comes to understanding religious revivals that were instead led by local governments. This book examines the revival of worship of the Chinese Deity Huang Daxian and the building of many new temples to the god in mainland China over the last 20 years. It analyses the role of local governments in initiating temple construction projects in China, and how development-oriented temple-building activities in Mainland China reveal the forces of transnational ties, capital, markets and identities, as temples were built with the hope of developing tourism, boosting the local economy, and enhancing Chinese identities for Hong Kong worshippers and Taiwanese in response to the reunification of Hong Kong to China. Including chapters on local religious memory awakening, pilgrimage as a form of tourism, women temple managers, entrepreneurialism and the religious economy, and based on extensive fieldwork, Chan and Lang have produced a truly interdisciplinary follow up to The Rise of a Refugee God which will appeal to students and scholars of Chinese religion, Chinese culture, Asian anthropology, cultural heritage and Daoism alike. (Source: publisher's website)



Chang, Hsun. “Between Religious Authenticity and Intangible Cultural Heritage: The Cult of Mazu in Taiwan, Fujian, and Hainan Island.” In Heritage and Religion in East Asia, edited by Shu-Li Wang, Michael Rowlands, and Yujie Zhu, 167–186. London: Routledge, 2021.



Chau, Adam Yuet, "The Dragon King Valley: Popular Religion, Socialist State, and Agrarian Society in Shaanbei, North-Central China." Thesis (Ph.D.), Stanford University, 2001, 281p.

Abstract: This dissertation is an ethnographic account of the revival and social organization of a popular religious temple in contemporary rural Shaanbei (northern Shaanxi Province), north-central China. Considered as "feudal superstition," the Black Dragon King Temple was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Soon after the reform era began in the early 1980s, however, villagers rebuilt the temple, expanded it, and made it into one of the most popular temples in Shaanbei. Based on a total of 18 months of fieldwork, this dissertation presents the story of the Black Dragon Temple as a case of popular religious revival. Three important conditions of possibilities lie behind popular religious revivals in Shaanbei. First, the social organization of popular religious activities replicates the principles and mechanisms of the organization of peasant secular life, which enabled quick revitalization of popular religion even after severe suppression. The temple association is examined as a key folk social institution staging much of Shaanbei folk culture. Second, village-level local activists seize upon temples and temple associations as valuable political, economic, and symbolic resource. The re-appearance of temples as sites of power generation and contestation is accompanied by the emergence of a new kind of local elite. The story of a temple boss and his legitimation strategies illustrates the shifting socio-political terrain in contemporary rural China. Third, shifting priorities compel the local state to regulate and even to profit from popular religion rather than suppress it, thus giving temples space to thrive. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Chau, Adam Yuet, "Popular Religion in Shaanbei, North-Central China." Journal of Chinese Religions 31(2003): 39-79.


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


Chau, Adam Yuet. "The Politics of Legitimation and the Revival of Popular Religion in Shaanbei, North-Central China." Modern China 31(2005)2: 236-278.

Abstract: From the early 1980s onward, popular religion has enjoyed a momentous revival in Shaanbei (northern Shaanxi province), as in many other parts of rural China. But despite its immense popularity, popular religion still carries with it an aura of illegality and illegitimacy. Not properly Daoism or Buddhism, which are among the officially recognized religions, popular religion in theory constitutes illegal, superstitious activities. This article addresses questions of the legality and legitimacy of popular religion by analyzing the case of the Black Dragon King Temple in Shaanbei and its temple boss. It examines how not just popular religiosity but the actions of local elites and local state agents have enabled the revival of popular religious activities, focusing particularly on the legitimation politics engaged in by temples and their leaders. [Source: journal]


Chau, Adam Yuet. Miraculous Response: Doing Popular Religion in Contemporary China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Abstract: Based on a total of 18 months of fieldwork in Shaanbei (northern Shaanxi province), this is the first book-length ethnographic case study of the revival of a popular religious temple in contemporary rural China.

The book reveals that "doing popular religion" is much more complex than praying to gods and burning incense. It examines the organizational and cultural logics that inform the staging of popular religious activities such as temple festivals. It also shows the politics behind the religious revival: the village-level local activists who seize upon temples and temple associations as a valuable political, economic, and symbolic resource, and the different local state agents who interact with temple associations and temple bosses. The study sheds unique light on shifting state-society relationships in the reform era, and is of interest to scholars and students in Asian Studies, the social sciences, and religious and ritual studies. [Source: publisher's website]


Chau, Adam Yuet. “Expanding the Space of Popular Religion: Local Temple Activism and the Politics of Legitimation in Contemporary Rural China.” In: Ashiwa, Yoshiko & David L. Wank [eds.], Making Religion, Making the State: The Politics of Religion in Modern China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009. Pp. 211-240.

Chau, Adam Yuet. "Ritual Terroir: The Generation of Site-Specific Vitality." Archives des sciences sociales des religions, no. 193 (2021): 25–54.

Abstract: The French term "terroir" has entered the English language carrying more or less the same viticultural and culinary references. Despite its close English-language cousin "terrain" and "territory", terroir is a lot more than things having to do with the earth. It is a particular and dynamic "compositional assemblage" (Chau, 2012) of all elements that contribute to the unique qualities of a product (be it wine, foie gras or mushroom): climate, weather, topography, soil, precipitation, drainage, exposure to sunlight (duration, direction, intensity, etc.), disasters, ecology (including flora and fauna), human intervention (e.g. irrigation, fertilisers, weeding, introduction of cultivar and other bio-elements, fermentation and other procedures, craftsmanship and handling), etc. The deliberate, modern-day construction and privileging of terroir is a reaction against "soulless" mass production, against food and drink with no traceable origin because they have been industrially produced (with the help of globally-produced chemical fertilisers and feed), mixed and packaged. I propose to look at the production of power-laden religious sites through the lens of "ritual terroir", using examples from Chinese religious practices (drawn from my own fieldwork). Just like food and drink, some religious practices are extremely translocalisable and, even as they are always adapted to specific local conditions as they spread across the globe (e.g. Zen Buddhism, evangelical Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism, post-colonial and post-Cold-War Islam), many thrive precisely because of a delinking between the practices and any particular site or terroir. On the other hand, some other religious practices are resolutely spatially grounded in the production of specific religious sites and draw spiritual power from these sites. I will present the case of the Dragon King Valley (Longwanggou) in northcentral China to illustrate the workings of ritual terroir. Like all local cults, the reputation and efficacy of the Black Dragon King depend on an ensemble of site-specific features that combine geographical and human input.


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, 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.


Chen Yi-yuan, "The Drama of Redemption of Vows of the Living (Yangxi) in Sichuan: A Critical Review of Current Research." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.53-66.


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


Cheung, Neky Tak-Ching. Women’s Ritual in China: Jiezhu (Receiving Buddhist Prayer Beads) Performed by Menopausal Women in Ninghua, Western Fujian. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2008.


Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. “A Recent Quest for Religious Roots: The Revival of the Guangze Zunwang Cult and Its Sino-Southeast Asian Networks, 1978-2009.” Journal of Chinese Religions 41.2 (2013): 91-123.

Abstract: This article examines issues surrounding the revival of the cult of Guangze Zunwang and its religious networks between Southeast China and the Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore from 1978 to 2009. It reveals that the quest of overseas Chinese for the religious roots of Guangze Zunwang’s cult has contributed to the rebuilding of the Shishan Fengshan Si in particular and the cult’s sacred sites in general. The resurgence of diasporic religious networks has facilitated the transnational movement of financial resources and allowed overseas Chinese to make regular pilgrimages and participate in the cult’s religious activities in China. I argue that, on the one hand, this renewal of religious ties, which has led to the proliferation of pilgrimages and religious excursions to the cult’s sacred sites in China, and expeditions from China to Malaysia and Singapore, has benefited both the Shishan Fengshan Si and the overseas temples; on the other hand, it led to religious competition and inter-temple rivalries between the different principal sites of the cult in China. (Source: journal)


Clark, Hugh. “The Religious Culture of Southern Fujian, 750-1450.” Asia Major 19.1-2 (2006): 211-240.


Clark, Hugh R. Portrait of a Community: Society, Culture, and the Structures of Kinship in the Mulan River Valley (Fujian) from the late Tang through the Song. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2007.

Abstract: Portrait of a Community: Society, Culture, and the Structures of Kinship in the Mulan River Valley (Fujian) from the late Tang through the Song is a study of emerging kinship structures as embedded in the social and cultural history of a river valley in central coastal Fujian province from the 9th through 13th centuries. Social chapters focus on establishment of elite kin groups, the structure and internal segmentation of those kin groups, and marriage patterns. Culture chapters cover the religious culture, the academic culture, and the culture of kinship. The thesis of this book is that cultural innovation often begins at a local level, and challenges current paradigm that distinguishes the link between locality and the elite in the Northern and Southern Song. [Source: publisher's website]


Clark, Hugh R. „On the Protection of Mariners: A Trajectory in the Cultic Traditions of Southern Fujian from the Early Song to the Early Qing.“ Minsu quyi/Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 167 (2010): 65-121.


Cline, Erin M. “Female Spirit Mediums and Religious Authority in Contemporary Southeastern China.” Modern China 36.6 (2010): 520-555.

Abstract: Although studies of Chinese spirit mediums in Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan abound, there has been little work done on spirit mediums in mainland China today. Yet spirit mediums play an important role in religious life in southeastern China, and in some areas, spirit mediums are predominantly women. This phenomenon is significant not only because it allows women who are of relatively low status to hold positions of religious authority but also because female spirit mediums sometimes address community needs that are not addressed by other religious authorities.


Cooper, Eugene. “Market, Popular Culture, and Popular Religion in Contemporary China: the Market / Temple Fairs of Jinhua.” In: Asian Popular Culture in Transition, ed. Lorna Fitzsimmons & John A. Lent. London, New York: Routledge, 2013. Pp. 15-37.


Cooper, Gene. The Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China: Red Fire. London & New York: Routledge, 2012.

Abstract: During the early communist period of the 1950s, temple fairs in China were both suppressed and secularized. Temples were closed down by the secular regime and their activities classified as feudal superstition and this process only intensified during the Cultural Revolution when even the surviving secular fairs, devoted exclusively to trade with no religious content of any kind, were suppressed. However, once China embarked on its path of free market reform and openness, secular commodity exchange fairs were again authorized, and sometimes encouraged in the name of political economy as a means of stimulating rural commodity circulation and commerce. This book reveals how once these secular "temple-less temple fairs" were in place, they came to serve not only as venues for the proliferation of a great variety of popular cultural performance genres, but also as sites where a revival or recycling of popular religious symbols, already underway in many parts of China, found familiar and fertile ground in which to spread. Taking this shift in the Chinese state’s attitudes and policy towards temple fairs as its starting point, The Market and Temple Fairs of Rural China shows how state-led economic reforms in the early 1980s created a revival in secular commodity exchange fairs, which were granted both the geographic and metaphoric space to function. In turn, this book presents a comprehensive analysis of the temple fair phenomenon, examining its economic, popular cultural, popular religious and political dimensions and demonstrates the multifaceted significance of the fairs which have played a crucial role in expanding the boundaries of contemporary acceptable popular discourse and expression. (Source: publisher's website)


Courtney, Chris. "The Dragon King and the 1931 Wuhan Flood: Religious Rumors and Environmental Disasters in Republican China." Twentieth-Century China 40, no. 2 (2015): 83-104.

Abstract: This article explores popular religious conceptualizations of the environment and disasters in early twentieth-century China. In 1931, the city of Wuhan experienced a catastrophic flood. Soon a rumor began to circulate suggesting that the disaster had been caused by the recent demolition of a local Dragon King Temple. This article examines this rumor as a mode of popular discourse, using it to illustrate debates among members of the local population regarding the link between the environment, religion, and disasters. It describes the place of Dragon Kings in late imperial religious environmental management, before discussing how the status of these deities was devalued during the early twentieth century. It argues that, in spite of vigorous attempts at secular reform, for a large section of the population the experience of disasters continued to be dominated by popular religious conceptualizations of the environment. While modern critics disparaged what they saw as lamentable superstitions, for many people rainmaking Dragon Kings continued to exist. (Source: journal)


Csete, Anne, "The Li Mother Spirit and the Struggle for Hainan's Land and Legend." Late Imperial China 22(2001)2: 91-123.


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


Davis, Edward L., "Arms and the Dao, 2: The Xu Brothers in Tea Country." In: Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth [eds.], Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002. Pp.149-164.


Dean, Kenneth, "Multiplicity and Individuation: The Temple Network of the Three in One Religion in Putian and Xianyou." In: Proceedings of the Conference on Temples and Popular Culture. Taipei: Center for Chinese Studies, 1995.


Dean, Kenneth, Lord of the Three in One: The Spread of a Cult in Southeast China. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.


Dean, Kenneth, "Transformation of the She (Altars of the Soil) in Fujian." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10 (1998): 19-75.

Abstract: Par un examen des transformations du she (autel du sol) dans le district de Putian (Fujian), l'auteur se penche sur la création d'un espace sacré. Il examine d'abord les notions du she dans la région de Putian sous les Song, puis le développement d'une hiérarchie des temples en site propre dans la plaine irriguée. Il analyse ensuite les efforts de la cour au début des Ming pour standardiser les she et les rituels afférents. A ces efforts succédèrent les modifications locales quant à la théorie et la pratique du she. Un travail sur le terrain dans la région de Jiangkou lui permet de scruter les mutations du she à la fin des Ming et sous les Qing. Il étudie par ailleurs les attitudes vis-à-vis du she dans des ouvrages littéraires et dans des inscriptions sur pierre datant des Ming et des Qing dans la région de Putian, ainsi que les changements dans l'organisation du rituel au niveau des villages. Du milieu des Ming jusqu'aux Qing, une transition s'opère entre les formes d'organisation rituelle basée sur le lignage ou la parenté et des formes à bases territoriales. Les dernières pages contiennent une discussion sur le recouvrement de l'espace sacré au cours des quinze dernières années. Cette étude montre que les efforts, au début des Ming, pour institutionnaliser les structures et cérémonies rituelles au niveau inférieur du canton ont entraîné des conséquences imprévues. Le travail sur le terrain au Fujian durant ces derniers dix ans a fait apparaître des matériaux qui suggèrent que ces autels officiels se muèrent graduellement en une strate sous-jacente d'espace rituel de religion populaire. Les mesures prises périodiquement par l'État--jusqu'à l'époque contemporaine--pour affirmer sa suprématie par l'imposition d'un modèle standardisé et homologué d'espace rituel ont causé une tension insoluble entre l'État et les communautés rituelles locales en Asie orientale. [Source: article]


Dean, Kenneth, "China's Second Government: Regional Ritual Systems in Southeast China." 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.77-107.


Dean, Kenneth, "The Masked Exorcistic Theatre of Anhui and Jiangxi." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002 Pp.183-197.


Dean, Kenneth, "Local Communal Religion in Contemporary South-east China." The China Quarterly 174(2003): 338-358.


Dean, Kenneth & Zheng Zhenman [eds.], Epigraphical Materials on the History of Religion in Fujian: Xinghua Region/Fujian zongjiao beiming huibian (Xinghua fu fence). Fuzhou: Fujian Renmin Chubanshe, 1995.


Dean, Kenneth, "Lineage and Territorial Cults: Transformations and Interactions in the Irrigated Putian Plains." 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.87-129.


Dean, Kenneth. “Further Partings of the Way: The Chinese State and Daoist Ritual Traditions in Contemporary China.” In: Ashiwa, Yoshiko & David L. Wank [eds.], Making Religion, Making the State: The Politics of Religion in Modern China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009. Pp. 179-210.


Dean, Kenneth. "The Growth of Local Control over Cultural and Environmental Resources in Ming and Qing Coastal Fujian." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 219-247.


Dean, Kenneth. “The Role of Temple Networks in the Construction of the Minnan Coastal ‘Empire:’ Transnational Spaces of the Overseas Xinghua Chinese.” In Chen Yiyuan [ed.]. 2009 Minnan wenhua guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji. Tainan: Guoli Chenggong Daxue Zhongwenxi / Jinmenxian Wenhuaju, 2009. Pp. 759-787.


Dean, Kenneth & Zheng Zhenman. Ritual Alliances of the Putian Plain. Volume One: Historical Introduction to the Return of the Gods. Volume Two: A Survey of Village Temples and Ritual Activities. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2010.

Abstract: Making ingenious use of a wide variety of sources, and old as well as modern technical resources, Kenneth Dean and Zheng Zhenman here set a new standard for an histoire totale for a coherently well-defined cultural region in China. At the same time it deals in-depth with the ongoing negotiation of modernity in Chinese village rituals. Over the past thirty years, local popular religion has been revived and re-invented in the villages of the irrigated alluvial plain of Putian, Fujian, China. Volume 1 provides a historical introduction to the formation of 153 regional ritual alliances made up of 724 villages. Early popular cults, Ming lineages, Qing multi-village alliances, late Qing spirit-medium associations, 20th century state attacks on local religion, and the role of Overseas Chinese and local communities in rebuilding the temple networks are discussed. Volume 2 surveys the current population, lineages, temples, gods, and annual rituals of these villages. Maps of each ritual alliance, the distribution of major cults and lineages, are included. (Source: publisher's website)


Dean, Kenneth. “The Return Visits of Overseas Chinese to Ancestral Villages in Putian, Fujian.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.235-263.


Dean, Kenneth, and Zheng Zhenman. "The Rise of a 'Temple-Centric' Society in Putian in the Song and Later Transformations of the Ritual Sphere." Minsu quyi, no. 205 (2019): 103–159.


DeBernardi, Jean. “Commodifying Blessings: Celebrating the Double-Yang Festival in Penang, Malaysia, and Wudang Mountain, China.” In: Pattana Kitiarsa [ed.], Religious Commodifications in Asia: Marketing Gods. London: Routledge, 2008. Pp.49-67.


Dong Xiaoping, "The Dual Character of Chinese Folk Ideas about Resources: On Three Western Fujian Volumes in the Traditional Hakka Society Series." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.343-367.


Dorfman, Diane, "The Spirit of Reform: The Power of Belief in Northern China." Positions: East Asia Cultures Critique 4(1996)2: 253-289.


Dott, Brian Russell, "Ascending Mount Tai: Social and Cultural Interactions in Eighteenth Century China." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1998.


Dott, Brian R. Identity Reflections: Pilgrimages to Mount Tai in Late Imperial China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, distributed by Harvard University Press, 2004.

Abstract: Mount Tai in northeastern China has long been a sacred site. Indeed, it epitomizes China's religious and social diversity. Throughout history, it has been a magnet for both women and men from all classes--emperors, aristocrats, officials, literati, and villagers. For much of the past millennium, however, the vast majority of pilgrims were illiterate peasants who came to pray for their deceased ancestors, as well as for sons, good fortune, and health.

Each of these social groups approached Mount Tai with different expectations. Each group's or individual's view of the world, interpersonal relationships, and ultimate goals or dreams--in a word, its identity--was reflected in its interactions with this sacred site. This book examines the behavior of those who made the pilgrimage to Mount Tai and their interpretations of its sacrality and history, as a means of better understanding their identities and mentalities. It is the first to trace the social landscape of Mount Tai, to examine the mindsets not just of prosperous, male literati but also of women and illiterate pilgrims, and to combine evidence from fiction, poetry, travel literature, and official records with the findings of studies of material culture and anthropology. [Source: publisher's website]


Dott, Brian R. “Spirit Money: Tourism and Pilgrimage on the Sacred Slopes of Mount Tai.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.27-49.


DuBois, Thomas, "The Sacred World of Cang County: Religious Belief, Organization and Practice in Rural North China During the Late Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries." Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001.

Abstract: Since the late nineteenth century, the villages of Cang County, located in southern Hebei Province, have undergone enormous political, social, and economic change. Yet throughout this period, personal and public religious life have remained matters of highest importance. This dissertation combines traditional archival sources with the authorís fieldwork to outline the religious needs and devotion of the individual, the history of local religious institutions and networks, and interaction between religious organization and local society in Cang County during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The dissertation begins with an analysis of personal religious mentality, asking how the individual comes to know the sacred and what he or she comes to expect of it. An analysis of religious vows (yuan) in the city of Tianjin and in rural Cang County demonstrates the place of morality and devotion in an overtly functional ritual regimen. The place of spirit healers (xiangtou) in Cang County, and their interaction with other healers, particularly village doctors, demonstrates both the contingency of belief and the characteristic manner by which religious knowledge is spread through the medium of miracle tales.

Religious institutions generally did not demand exclusive belief or affiliation, and popular religiosity freely drew upon different sects and teachings as sources of inspiration. Formal teachings such as Buddhism made a great impact on local belief, but by the twentieth century, monks were few and their teaching nearly indistinguishable from local religiosity. Sectarian groups, long characterized as subversive and secret, also left an important mark on local religious life. Each teaching had distinct doctrine, organization and social appeal. Teachings such as Zailijiao were oriented towards the development and public expression of personal morality, particularly of the local mercantile elite. Yiguandao addressed millenarian longings, thus finding a ready audience during times of trial, particularly the Japanese occupation. Others, such as Tiandimen and Taishangmen were grounded in everyday ritual practice, and have thus retained their popular appeal throughout the period.

Outside of religious networks, the organization of local society shaped the diffusion and of religious knowledge. The concentration of religious resources (such as temples and specialists) within the village, influenced the votive lives of individual peasants. However, although the village supported these resources and expressed a sense of common welfare, the ritual use of these resources was primarily by the household. [Source: author.]


DuBois, Thomas, "Village Community and the Reconstruction of Religious Life in Rural North China." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.837-868.


DuBois, Thomas David. The Sacred Village: Social Change and Religious Life in Rural North China. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005.

Abstract: Until recently, few villagers of rural North China ventured far from their homes. Their intensely local view of the world included knowledge of the immanent sacred realm, which derived from stories of divine revelations, cures, and miracles that circulated among neighboring villages. These stories gave direction to private devotion and served as a source of expert information on who the powerful deities were and what role they played in the human world. The structure of local society also shaped public devotion, as different groups expressed their economic and social concerns in organized worship. While some of these groups remained structurally intact in the face of historical change, others have changed dramatically, resulting in new patterns of religious organization and practice.

The Sacred Village introduces local religious life in Cang County, Hebei Province, as a lens through which to view the larger issue of how rural Chinese perspectives and behaviors were shaped by the sweeping social, political, and demographic changes of the last two centuries. Thomas DuBois combines new archival sources in Chinese and Japanese with his own fieldwork to produce a work that is compelling and intimate in detail. This dual approach also allows him to address the integration of external networks into local society and religious mentality and posit local society as a particular sphere in which the two are negotiated and transformed. [Source: publisher's website]


DuBois, Thomas David. “Local Religion and the Cultural Imaginary: the Development of Japanese Ethnography in Occupied Manchuria.” American Historical Review 111.1 (2006): 52-74.


DuBois, Thomas David. “Manchukuo’s Filial Sons: States, Sects and the Adaptation of Graveside Piety.” East Asian History 36 (2008): 3-27.


Emmons, Deirdre. Dieux de la Chine. Le panthéon populaire du Fujian de J.J.M. de Groot. Lyon: Musée d'histoire naturelle/Un, deux, ... quatre Editions, 2003.


Eng, Irene & Yi-min Lin, "Religious Festivities, Communal Rivalry, and Restructuring of Authority Relations in Rural Chaozhou, Southeast China." Journal of Asian Studies 61(2002)4: 1259-1285.


Entenmann, Robert E., "Catholics and Society in Eighteenth-Century Sichuan." In Daniel H. Bays [ed.], Christianity in China. From the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. Pp.8-23.


Fan Lizhu, "A Review of Minxiang: Civil Incense Worship in Liaoning, China by Ren Guangwei." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.297-309.


Fan Lizhu, "The Cult of the Silkworm Mother as a Core of Local Community Religion in a North China Village: Field Study in Zhiwuying, Boading, Hebei." The China Quarterly 174(2003): 373-394.


Fan Lizhu, James D. Whitehead & Evelyn Eaton Whitehead. "Fate and Fortune: Popular Religion and Moral Capital in Shenzhen." Journal of Chinese Religions 32(2004): 83-100.


Fan, Lizhu & James D. Whitehead. “Spirituality in a Modern Chinese Metropolis.” In Chinese Religious Life, edited by David A. Palmer, Glenn Shive, and Philip L. Wickeri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp.13-29.


Fang Ling. "Inscription pour la stèle de restauration de la salle principale du palais de repos et de la scène d'opéra couverte du temple du roi des Remèdes (Pékin, Yaowang miao, 1806)." Sanjiao wenxian: Matériaux pour l'étude de la religion chinoise 4(2005): 82-90.


Fang Ling & Vincent Goossaert, "L'inscription pour le temple du roi des Remèdes (Pékin, Yaowang miao, 1596)." Sanjiao wenxian: Matériaux pour l'étude de la religion chinoise 3(1999): 159-167.


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.


Fava, Patrice. Aux Portes du ciel. La statuaire taoïste du Hunan: Art et anthropologie de la Chine. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2014.

Abstract: Ce livre est le fruit d'une enquête dans la province chinoise du Hunan qui a duré plus de dix ans. Le point de départ aura été la découverte sur un marché du sud de la Chine de quelques statues en bois polychrome à l'intérieur desquelles se trouvaient des documents de consécration, indiquant, pour certains d'entre eux, qu'il s’agissait de maîtres taoïstes. On y mentionnait la date de fabrication, le nom des personnages représentés, celui des commanditaires, le lieu où se trouvait la statue, les raisons pour lesquelles elle avait été faite, les vœux associés au culte et bien d’autres renseignements concernant l’histoire locale. De très nombreux séjours dans le centre du Hunan apportèrent peu à peu des réponses aux différentes énigmes que posait l’immense corpus de documents de consécration accompagnant quelque deux mille statues datant pour la plupart de la dernière dynastie mandchoue (1644-1911). Non seulement personne n’avait rencontré dans aucune autre partie de la Chine une statuaire de ce type, mais de surcroît, cette province méridionale du Hunan comptait un très grand nombre de maîtres taoïstes et de sculpteurs qui perpétuaient cette tradition très ancienne. C’est grâce à eux que progressivement furent assemblées les pièces d’un puzzle très complexe qui rendait compte d’un système de croyances qui plongeait ses racines dans l’Antiquité chinoise et rappelait de manière très évidente le culte des immortels du temps de Laozi et Zhuangzi. La confrontation des sources scripturaires, conservées entre autres dans le Canon taoïste compilé au XVe siècle, avec la liturgie des maîtres de cette province, aura permis de mettre en lumière, en dépit des bouleversements de tous ordres qu’a connu le pays, l’extraordinaire continuité dont se prévaut le taoïsme et un très grand nombre de particularités locales, car la transmission au sein de lignées taoïstes s’est faite de manières très différentes dans chaque région de Chine. Le Hunan et sa statuaire auront ainsi été l’occasion d’écrire une nouvelle page de l’histoire du taoïsme qui demeure l’une des composantes essentielles de la civilisation et de la pensée chinoises. Écrit du point de vue d’un anthropologue, ce livre consacré à l’art taoïste du Hunan, ne s’adresse pas uniquement à un public de sinologues. Débordant le cadre des études chinoises, il s’interroge sur la religion en général et fait référence aux travaux de Claude Lévi-Strauss, Philippe Descola, Clifford Geertz ou Alfred Gell, et se réclame à la fois de la philosophie de l’histoire de Marcel Gauchet et de l’héritage surréaliste. La très abondante iconographie qui accompagne le texte est constituée de documents inédits qui donnent une dimension indispensable à la compréhension du taoïsme, en tant que tradition vivante. (Source: publisher's website)


Feuchtwang, Stephan & Wang Mingming, Grassroots Charisma in China: Four Local Leaders in China. London: Routledge, 2001. Note: A comparative study of religion and local leadership in Meifa (Fujian) and Shiding (Taiwan).


Fisher, Gareth. "Universal Rescue: Re-making Post-Mao China in a Beijing Temple." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Virginia, 2006.

Abstract: Based on two years of ethnographic research at the Temple of Universal Rescue (Guangji Si) in Beijing, this dissertation examines both the content and process by which lay Buddhist practitioners create an alternative culture of meanings, relationships, and moralities to cope with a rapidly changing society. Specific focus is given to amateur lay preachers and their followers who convene in the temple's outer courtyard each week to combine Buddhist doctrine with other ideologies such as Mao Zedong thought. The goal of the preachers and their followers is to create a moral discourse which challenges the post-Mao Chinese state's narrative of progress through globalization and market reforms from which they have been both socially and economically marginalized.

Considering both historical and contemporary analogs to the practices of the lay practitioners and the amateur preachers around which they gather, the main body of the dissertation is organized around several cultural tropes through which the practitioners strive to inhabit their own universe of relationships and meanings. The last three chapters of the thesis examine how practitioners seek to apply this new framework to the moral reform of contemporary Chinese society which they understand as passing through a period of decline. The community of practitioners at the Temple of Universal Rescue is situated within a larger consideration of lay Buddhist revival in China as a whole. The dissertation concludes by considering how an imagined community of lay Buddhists provides a system of relationships, values, and exchange that takes its adherents beyond their immediate lives and concerns but that does not demand their adherence to an inflexible ideological system. This larger lay Buddhist community and the discourses it creates have the potential to challenge both popular and official understanding of self and personhood in globalizing post-Mao China, though this potential is limited by the difficulties faced by lay Buddhists in promoting their beliefs beyond the temple walls.


Fisher, Gareth. “Religion as Repertoire: Resourcing the Past in a Beijing Buddhist Temple.“ Modern China 38 (2012): 346-376.

Abstract: This article presents an ethnographic examination of a range of religious practices at the Buddhist Temple of Universal Rescue (Guangji si) in Beijing. Temple-goers engaged in both ritual practices in the temple’s inner courtyard and moralistic conversations in the outer courtyard draw on recycled fragments of China’s many “pasts” to form cultural repertoires. These repertoires provide the temple-goers with a cultural toolkit to enter into meaningful projects of self- and identity-making in an environment of rapid social change. Participants in different religious activities at the temple both add to and mobilize different elements in their repertoires as their life circumstances change. The example of the temple shows that, in the popular Chinese social arena, various past stages of China’s history, including phases in its modernization process, have neither been abandoned nor superseded but remain as cultural resources to be drawn from as needed. (Source: journal)


Fisher, Gareth. From Comrades to Bodhisattvas: Moral Dimensions of Lay Buddhist Practice in Contemporary China. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2014.

Abstract: From Comrades to Bodhisattvas is the first book-length study of Han Chinese Buddhism in post-Mao China. Using an ethnographic approach supported by over a decade of field research, it provides an intimate portrait of lay Buddhist practitioners in Beijing who have recently embraced a religion that they were once socialized to see as harmful superstition. The book focuses on the lively discourses and debates that take place among these new practitioners in an unused courtyard of a Beijing temple. In this non-monastic space, which shrinks each year as the temple authorities expand their commercial activities, laypersons gather to distribute and exchange Buddhist-themed media, listen to the fiery sermons of charismatic preachers, and seek solutions to personal moral crises. Applying recent theories in the anthropology of morality and ethics, Gareth Fisher argues that the practitioners are attracted to the courtyard as a place where they can find ethical resources to re-make both themselves and others in a rapidly changing nation that they believe lacks a coherent moral direction. Spurred on by the lessons of the preachers and the stories in the media they share, these courtyard practitioners inventively combine moral elements from China’s recent Maoist past with Buddhist teachings on the workings of karma and the importance of universal compassion. Their aim is to articulate a moral antidote to what they see as blind obsession with consumption and wealth accumulation among twenty-first century Chinese. Often socially marginalized and sidelined from meaningful roles in China’s new economy, these former communist comrades look to their new moral roles along a bodhisattva path to rebuild their self-worth. Each chapter focuses on a central trope in the courtyard practitioners’ projects to form new moral identities. The Chinese government’s restrictions on the spread of religious teachings in urban areas curtail these practitioners' ability to insert their moral visions into an emerging public sphere. Nevertheless, they succeed, at least partially, Fisher argues, in creating their own discursive space characterized by a morality of concern for fellow humans and animals and a recognition of the organizational abilities and pedagogical talents of its members that are unacknowledged in society at large. Moreover, as the later chapters of the book discuss, by writing, copying, and distributing Buddhist-themed materials, the practitioners participate in creating a religious network of fellow-Buddhists across the country, thereby forming a counter-cultural community within contemporary urban China. (Source: publisher's website)


Flower, John, "Portraits of Belief: Constructions of Chinese Identity in the 'Two Worlds' of City and Countryside in Modern Sichuan Province." Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1997.


Flower, John & Pamela Leonard, "Defining Cultural Life in the Chinese Countryside: The Case of the Chuan Zhu Temple." In: Eduard B. Vermeer, Frank N. Pieke and Woei Lien Chong [eds.], Cooperative and Collective in China's Rural Development: Between State and Private Interests. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1998. Pp.273-290. (Note: On revival of the local Chuanzhu temple in a Sichuan village around 1992/93.)


Flower, John M., "A Road is Made: Roads, Temples, and Historical Memory in Ya'an County, Sichuan." Journal of Asian Studies 63(2004)3: 649-685.


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.


Frick, Johann, Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Riten und Brauchtum in Nordwestchina. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 1995.


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.


Frick, Johann, "Neujahrsbräuche im Westtale von Sining." In: Johann Frick, Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Riten und Brauchtum in Nordwestchina. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 1995. Pp.233-273.


Frick, Johann, "Wiederversöhnung des verletzten Erdgeistes: ein Brauch im chinesisch-tibetischen Grenzgebiet." In: Johann Frick, Zwischen Himmel und Erde. Riten und Brauchtum in Nordwestchina. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag, 1995. Pp.225-231.


Gaw, Albert C; Ding, Qin-zhang; Levine, Ruth E; Gaw, Hsiao-feng , "The Clinical Characteristics of Possession Disorder among 20 Chinese Patients in the Hebei Province of China." Psychiatric Services 49(1998)3: 360-365.

Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the clinical characteristics of 20 hospitalized psychiatric patients in the Hebei province of China who believed they were possessed. METHODS: A structured interview focused on clinical characteristics associated with possession phenomena was developed and administered to 20 patients at eight hospitals in the province. All patients had been given the Chinese diagnosis of yi-ping (hysteria) by Chinese physicians before being recruited for the study. RESULTS: The subjects' mean age was 37 years. Most were women from rural areas with little education. Major events reported to precede possession included interpersonal conflicts, subjectively meaningful circumstances, illness, and death of an individual or dreaming of a deceased individual. Possessing agents were thought to be spirits of deceased individuals, deities, animals, and devils. Twenty percent of subjects reported multiple possessions. The initial experience of possession typically came on acutely and often became a chronic relapsing illness. Almost all subjects manifested the two symptoms of loss of control over their actions and acting differently. They frequently showed loss of awareness of surroundings, loss of personal identity, inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, change in tone of voice, and loss of perceived sensitivity to pain. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary findings indicate that the disorder is a syndrome with distinct clinical characteristics that adheres most closely to the DSM-IV diagnosis of dissociative trance disorder under the category of dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. [Source of abstract: article.]


Gerritsen, Anne, "Visions of Local Culture: Tales of the Strange and Temple Inscriptions from Song-Yuan Jizhou." Journal of Chinese Religions 28(2000): 69-92.


Gerritsen, Anne Tjerkje, "Gods and Governors: Interpreting the Religious Realms in Ji'an (Jiangxi) during the Southern Song, Yuan, and Ming Dynasties." Thesis (Ph.D.), Harvard University, 2001, 349p.

Abstract: This dissertation examines the religiosity of the common people in Ji'an Prefecture (Jiangxi Province) during the Southern Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. I use the term "religiosity" to refer to the multiple ways in which the people of Ji'an interpreted and manipulated the realm of higher forces that affected their lives and deaths. This religiosity is of particular interest because the sources demonstrate that many "social actors" on the local scene attached great importance to this religiosity. Many regional and national groups of "actors" represented in local society were interested in asserting their authority over the religiosity of commoners by suggesting their own interpretations of the religious realm. This dissertation chronicles two processes of change; the gradual change in the religiosity of the common people, and the changing ways of manipulating this religiosity and their different rates of success.

Religiosity during the Southern Song dynasty is based on the availability and diversity of options. The importance of access to a range of options means that boundaries within which interpretations of the outer realm exist are constantly shifting, while the communities within which such interpretations exist are also fluid. The analysis of Yuan dynasty sources suggests a high degree of continuity between the Southern Song and Yuan. By the later Ming the diversity of options still exists, but the importance of an integrated community within which a tradition of practice is shared also begins to feature. I suggest that the emphasis on cohesion and small-scale integration in Ji'an does not appear in written sources until the middle of the Ming dynasty.

Throughout this period both representatives of the central government and local literati attempted to impose their own interpretations of the religious realm on local population. While government-based narratives of local religiosity change dramatically throughout this period, the effect of that change is much less noticeable on the local level. Analysis of literati narratives yield a more significant change. Throughout the Southern Song and Yuan dynasties literati use religion to give themselves a voice of authority in local society. This gradually diminishes during the Ming dynasty. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Gerritsen, Anne, "A Thirteenth-Century Cult in the Village of Ji'an (Jiangxi), or 'Fieldwork for Historians'." Journal of Song-Yuan Studies 33 (2003): 181-185. (Note: On the cult of Kang Wang.)


Gerritsen, Anne. "From Demon to Deity: Kang Wang in Thirteenth-Century Jizhou and Beyond." T'oung Pao 90 (2004)1-3: 1-31.


Gerritsen, Anne. Ji’an Literati and the Local in Song-Yuan-Ming China. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

Abstract: Drawing on largely local sources, including local gazetteers and literati inscriptions for religious sites, this book offers a comprehensive examination of what it means to be 'local' during the Southern Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties in Ji'an prefecture (Jiangxi). It argues that 'belonging locally' was important to Ji'an literati throughout this period. How they achieved that, however, changed significantly. Southern Song and Yuan literati wrote about religious sites from within their local communities, but their early Ming counterparts wrote about local temples from their posts at the capital, seeking to transform local sites from a distance. By the late Ming, temples had been superseded by other sites of local activism, including community compacts, lineage prefaces, and community covenants. [Source: publisher's website]

Glahn, Richard von, "The Sociology of Local Religion in the Lake Tai Basin." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.773-815.


Goodrich, Anne S., "Miao Feng Shan." Asian Folklore Studies 57(1998)1: 87-97.


Goossaert, Vincent, "Les fêtes au temple du Pic de l'Est de Pékin sous les Mongols. Une source ancienne inédite." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 87-90.


Goossaert, Vincent; Fang Ling & Pierre Marsone, "Inscription de l'association pour célébrer les bureaux (Pékin, Dongyue Miao)." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 47-60.


Goossaert, Vincent, "Portrait épigraphique d'un culte. Inscription des dynasties Jin et Yuan de temples du Pic de l'Est." Sanjiao wenxian 2(1998): 41-83.


Goossaert, Vincent. "Destruction et récupération d’un patrimoine religieux : les temples de Pékin."In Regards croisés sur le patrimoine dans le monde à l’aube du XXIe siècle, ed. Maria Gravari-Barbas & Sylvie Guichard-Anguis. Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2003. Pp. 667-682.


Goossaert, Vincent. "Daoism and Local Cults in Modern Suzhou: A Case Study of Qionglongshan." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.199-254.

Abstract: The richly documented life of Shi Daoyuan (1617-1678) provides a unique case study of the relationship between elite Daoist institutions and local cults, particularly spirit-medium cults. The article discusses current research on this topic before introducing Shi and the sources for his dealings with local cults, notably the Wutong. Shi was often called by members of the local elites in Suzhou to perform exorcisms. In this process, Shi not only employed martial gods from the classical Daoist thunder rites traditions, but also incorporated local gods into his pantheon. As a result, ambivalent gods such as the Wutong were to some extent tamed and made more acceptable. Such a process developed over the long term; present fieldwork shows that the Wutong are still partly marginal but have been nonetheless quite thoroughly integrated within mainstream Daoism. (Source: book)


Goossaert, Vincent. “A Question of Control: Licensing Local Ritual Specialists in Jiangnan, 1850-1950.” In Xinyang, shijian yu wenhua tiaoshi. Proceeding of the Fourth International Sinology Conference. Taipei: Academia Sinica, 2013. Pp. 569-604.


Goossaert, Vincent. "The Local Politics of Festivals: Hangzhou, 1850-1950." Daoism: Religion, History & Society 5 (2013): 57-80.


Goossaert, Vincent. "A quel point les Chinois sont-ils sortis de la religion? Quelques réflexions à partir de la vie religieuse locale au Jiangnan." Monde chinois nouvelle Asie 35 (n° spécial « A propos de la sortie de la religion en Chine… »), 2013, pp. 62-66.


Grootaers, W.A., Li Shih-yü & Wang Fu-shih, The Sanctuaries in a North China City. A Complete Survey of the Cultic Buildings in the City of Hsüan-hua (Chahar). Brussels: Institut Belge des Hautes Études Chinoises, 1995. (Mélanges chinois et bouddhiques, vol.XXVI).


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. Ritual Opera and Mercantile Lineage: The Confucian Transformation of Popular Culture in Late Imperial Huizhou. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Abstract: This book analyzes Confucian ideology as culture and culture as history by exploring the interplay between popular ritual performance of the opera Mulian and gentrified mercantile lineages in late imperial Huizhou. Mulian, originally a Buddhist tale featuring the monk Mulian's journey through the underworld to save his mother, underwent a Confucian transformation in the sixteenth century against a backdrop of vast socioeconomic, intellectual, cultural, and religious changes. The author shows how local elites appropriated the performance of Mulian, turning it into a powerful medium for conveying orthodox values and religious precepts and for negotiating local social and gender issues altered by the rising money economy. The sociocultural approach of this historical study lifts Mulian out of the exorcistic-dramatic-ethnographic milieu to which it is usually consigned. This new approach enables the author to develop an alternative interpretation of Chinese popular culture and the Confucian tradition, which in turn sheds significant new light upon the social history of late imperial China. [Source: publisher's website]


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.


Gyss-Vermande, Caroline, "Petite chronique d'une première mission collective à Pékin, automne 1995." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 61-66.


Gyss-Vermande, Caroline, Alain Arrault, Vincent Goossaert, Fang Ling & Pierre Marsone, "Stèle commemorative pour la restauration des images saintes du temple du Pic de l'Est." Sanjiao wenxian 2(1998): 103-112.


Haar, Barend J. ter, "Buddhist Inspired Options: Aspects of Lay Religious Life in the Lower Yangzi from 1100 until 1340." T'oung Pao 87(2001): 92-152.


Haar, Barend J. ter. "The Non-Action Teachings and Christianity: Confusion and Similarities." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.295-328.

Abstract: Christianity entered China in the seventeenth and eighteenth century in two missions, one the better known Jesuit mission and the other less known and more localized, the Franciscan-Dominican mission. In northern Fujian both missions had to compete with an extremely popular new religious movement, known locally as the Old Official Vegetarians or Dragon Flower Gathering. Elsewhere this movement was known as the Non-Action or Great Vehicle Teachings. Christian authors wrote rather detailed polemical texts to distinguish themselves from this specific movement, showing that they were well aware of their competition. This article investigates three of these texts. In addition it shows why late Ming and Qing anti-Christian authors sometimes confused these different groups and thought of them as one single phenomenon, namely heretic groups or, to use the Western label, “sects.” (Source: book)


Haar, Barend J. ter. “The Rise of the Northern Chinese Regional Temple Cults: A Case Study of the Worship of King Tang.” Minsu quyi, no. 205 (2019): 161–213.


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.


Han, Seunghyun. “Shrine, Images, and Power: The Worship of Former Worthies in Early Nineteenth Century Suzhou.” T’oung Pao 95 (2009): 167-195.

Abstract: In the 1820s, the literati of Suzhou embarked on a project to build a shrine devoted to the worship of local former worthies and engraved almost six hundred portraits of the latter on the shrine's inner walls. Since the locality already had a paired shrine of eminent officials and local worthies, as had become the case across the empire since the mid-Ming period, why did they need to create a shrine of a similar nature? What was the cultural significance of introducing visual representations of the worthies in the worship? By analyzing the multiple layers of meaning surrounding this shrine-building activity, the present study attempts to illuminate an aspect of the changing state-elite relations in the early nineteenth century.


Hargett, James M. Stairway to Heaven: A Journey to the Summit of Mount Emei. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2006.

Abstract: A consideration of China's Mount Emei, long important in Chinese culture and history and of particular significance to Buddhists.

Located in a remote area of modern Sichuan province, Mount Emei is one of China's most famous mountains and has long been important to Buddhists. Stairway to Heaven looks at Emei's significance in Chinese history and literature while also addressing the issue of "sense of place" in Chinese culture.

Mount Emei's exquisite scenery and unique geographical features have inspired countless poets, writers, and artists. Since the early years of the Song dynasty (960&endash;1279), Emei has been best known as a site of Buddhist pilgrimage and worship. Today, several Buddhist temples still function on Emei, but the mountain also has become a scenic tourist destination, attracting more than a million visitors annually.

Author James M. Hargett takes readers on a journey to the mountain through the travel writings of the twelfth-century writer and official Fan Chengda (1126&endash;1193). Fan's diary and verse accounts of his climb to the summit of Mount Emei in 1177 are still among the most informative accounts of the mountain ever written. Through Fan's eyes, words, and footsteps&emdash;and with background information and commentary from Hargett&emdash;the reader will experience some of the ways Emei has been "constructed" by diverse human experience over the centuries. [Source: publisher's website]


Hayes, James. South China Village Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.


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.


Hinsch, Bret. "Prehistoric Images of Women from the North China Region: The Origins of Chinese Goddess Worship?" Journal of Chinese Religions 32(2004): 47-82.


Ho Ts'ui-p'ing, "Ritual Literalized: A Critical Review of Ritual Studies on the National Minorities in Guangxi, Guizhou, Hunan and Sichuan." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.135-155.


Holm, David, "A Review of the Celebration of the Bodhisattva Ritual of the Vernacular Priests of the Zou Lineage in Poji Township, Zhenxiong County, Zhaotong Region, Yunnaan by Guo Siju and Wang Yong." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.109-116.


Holm, David, "A Review of the Yangxi of Guizhou: The Theatrical Troupe of the Deng Lineage in Dashang Village, Limu Township, Luodian by Huangfu Chongqing." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.117-127.


Holm, David, "A Review of the Celebration of the Bodhisattva Ritual of the Han Chinese in Poji Township, Zhenxiong County, Yunnan by Ma Chaokai." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.129-132.


Holm, David, "A Review of Pleasing the Nuo Gods in Cengong County, Guizhou." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.171-180.


Holm, David, "The Death of Tiaoxi (the 'Leaping Play'): Ritual Theatre in the Northwest of China." Modern Asian Studies 37(2003)4: 863-884.


Homola, Stéphanie. "La relation de maître à disciple en question: transmission orale et écrite des savoirs divinatoires en Chine et à Taiwan." Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 35 (2013): 11-43.

Abstract: This paper explores two contrasting modes of transmission of divinatory knowledge in contemporary Taiwan and mainland China. One is built on the academic model which emphasizes written communication and the other one on the teacher to student relationship which favors oral transmission. In Taiwan, faced with the declining quality of teaching and the multiplication of schools of thought, divinatory arts specialists tried to reform their knowledge and teaching methods to make them fit with the scientific requirements of contemporary society. This endeavor which had already been launched in mainland China in the Republican era, resulted in Taiwan in a boom of popular handbooks and a standardization of training. Then, I qualify this evolution through a case study conducted in mainland China which, on the contrary, highlights the importance of personal relationship and orality in the transfer of mantic techniques. In this context, methods and know-how are taught through predestined affinities, initiatory journeys and legends. (Source: journal)

Hou Song, Wu Zongjie, and Liu Huimei. "Multi-Discursive Ethnography and the Re-Narration of Chinese Heritage: Stories about the Yueju Opera Performance at the Heavenly Queen Palace of Quzhou." Sungkyun Journal of East Asian Studies 16, no.2 (2016): 197-222.

Hsu Li-ling, "Three Books on the Duangong Ritual of Jiangbei County, Sichuan by Wang Yue." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.67-73.


Hu, Anthony. "Encounters between Catholic Missionary Activities and Popular Deities Worshiped in Fujian during the Late Ming and Early Qing Periods: A Study Based on the Kouduo richao. " Orientierungen, Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens 31 (2019): 35–53.


Idema, Wilt L., "The Pilgrimage to Taishan in the Dramatic Literature of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries." Chinese Literature, Essays, Articles, Reviews 19 (1997): 23-57.


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.


Janousch, Andreas. “The Censor’s Stele: Religion, Salt-Production and Labour in the Temple of the God of the Salt Lake in Southern Shanxi Province.” East Asian Science, Technology, and Medicine 39 (2014): 7-53.

Abstract: This case study analyses religious and technological changes that occurred during the last seventy years of the Ming dynasty (1574-1644) around the Hedong Salt Lake, situated south of Yuncheng City in southern Shanxi province. Based on a close reading of inscriptions found on stone steles at the Temple of the God of the Salt Lake and of different kinds of gazetteers, the article documents the processes and analyses the factors that shaped the expanding pantheon of local salt-production-related deities during this period. I argue that these religious changes need to be understood in the context of a wider sociotechnical system around the Salt Lake, especially the emergence of new salt production methods that were introduced at this time under the increasingly affirmative leadership of local salt merchants, as well as the changing conditions of local labour management. The larger methodological point the article makes is about the necessity to take stone steles themselves in their spatial and material dimensions as evidence of historical processes: this will allow us to see that by means of these steles and their inscriptions the temple became an architectural discursive space that facilitated new forms of social participation and of administrative intervention, while offering simultaneously a nexus be- tween the sphere of human intervention and the relevant ‘natural’ factors of the salt production at the Salt Lake. Accordingly, the article proposes novel ways to understand the role of religious institutions such as temples in their relation to ‘natural’ and ‘technological’ processes. (Source: journal)


Jansen, Thomas. “Sectarian Religions and Globalization in Nineteenth Century Beijing: The Wanbao baojuan (1858) and Other Examples.” In Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present, edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, and Christian Meyer, 115-135. Leiden: Brill, 2014.


Jiao, Yupeng. "The People's Living Guanyin Bodhisattva: Superstition, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare, Rural Economic Control, and Huidaomen in the Early PRC." The Chinese Historical Review 26, no. 2 (2020): 175–196.

Abstract: During the Republican era and the PRC, both regimes labeled religious practices outside official institutionalized religions as "superstition" (mixin). In the early PRC, the CCP labeled superstitious activities with mass participation as "mass superstitious incidents." This article examines a mass superstitious incident in Chongqing in 1953 in which more than fifty thousand people participated. In this case, local residents, especially local merchants, advertised an old woman as a Living Guanyin Bodhisattva with supernatural disease-curing powers to expand their economic interests. The incident was also a result of poor healthcare infrastructure management. Key organizers in the incident were severely punished, in part because they were scapegoats for the problems of the new national policy of State Monopoly for Grain Purchase. The incident also had a strong contagion effect that led to various similar "superstitious incidents" in the vicinity that were eventually suppressed under the name "huidaomen."


Jing, Anning, The Water God's Temple of the Guangsheng Monastery: Cosmic Function of Art, Ritual, and Theater. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2001.

Abstract: The 14th century dragon king temple in Southern Shanxi is the only known intact survivor of this ancient Water God institution once existing in every Chinese agricultural community. After describing the history, lay-out and mural paintings of the building, its original Yuan time mural paintings enable the author to depict the ritual of praying for rain, and the actual rain-making of the god. The meaning of the unique painting of a theatrical company is interpreted as to subject and its connections with the ritual of praying for rain. Rainmaking magic is compared with similar practices in other parts of the world (India), and thus suggests a common cosmological basis of Chinese and Indian cultures, and a common pattern of human behaviour and mode of thinking concerning human procreation and food production. (Source: publisher's catalogue)


Jing, Jun, The Temple of Memories: History, Power, and Morality in a Chinese Village. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.


Jing, Jun, "Villages Dammed, Villages Repossessed: A Memorial Movement in Northwest China." American Ethnologist 26(1999)2: 324-343.


Jing, Jun, "Food, Nutrition, and Cultural Authority in a Gansu Village." In: Jing Jun [ed.], Feeding China's Little Emperors: Food, Children, and Social Change. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000. Pp. 135-159

Abstract: Interview & fieldwork data collected since 1989 in Dachuan village, Gansu province, People's Republic of China, are drawn on to explore child feeding practices among contemporary parents, who are more prosperous, have smaller families, & enjoy greater access to more & varied foods than did their predecessors. It is shown how local discourse on child nutrition & health has been shaped by three forms of "cultural authority": (1) the government, with its support of scientific research on nutrition & public health campaigns; (2) religion, including the family's use of traditional food therapies, medicines, & deity worship; & (3) the market, in terms of TV advertising & the retail food industry. Conflicts among these three sources of cultural authority are identified, & implications for child nutrition & health are discussed. (source: Sociofile, K. Hyatt Stewart)


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, "Knowledge, Organization, and Symbolic Capital: Two Temples to Confucius in Gansu." In: Wilson, Thomas A. [ed.], On Sacred Grounds: Culture, Society, Politics, and the Formation of the Cult of Confucius. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, distributed by Harvard University Press, 2002. Harvard East Asian Monographs, 217. Pp.335-375.


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.]


Jing, Jun. "Meal Rotation and Filial Piety." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.53-62.


Johnson, David, "Confucian Elements in the Great Temple Festivals of Southeastern Shansi in Late Imperial Times." T'oung Pao 83 (1997) 1-3: 126-161.


Johnson, David, "A 'Lantern Festival' Ritual in Southwest Shanxi." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.287-295.


Johnson, David. Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2010.

Abstract: This book is about the ritual world of a group of rural settlements in Shanxi province in pre-1949 North China. Temple festivals, with their giant processions, elaborate rituals, and operas, were the most important influence on the symbolic universe of ordinary villagers and demonstrate their remarkable capacity for religious and artistic creation. The great festivals described in this book were their supreme collective achievements and were carried out virtually without assistance from local officials or educated elites, clerical or lay. Chinese culture was a performance culture, and ritual was the highest form of performance. Village ritual life everywhere in pre-revolutionary China was complex, conservative, and extraordinarily diverse. Festivals and their associated rituals and operas provided the emotional and intellectual materials out of which ordinary people constructed their ideas about the world of men and the realm of the gods. It is, David Johnson argues, impossible to form an adequate idea of traditional Chinese society without a thorough understanding of village ritual. Newly discovered liturgical manuscripts allow him to reconstruct North Chinese temple festivals in unprecedented detail and prove that they are sharply different from the Daoist- and Buddhist-based communal rituals of South China. [Source: publisher's website]


Johnson, Ian. "Chasing the Yellow Demon." Journal of Asian Studies 76, no. 1 (2017): 5-24.

Abstract: Author's note: A few years ago, I read David Johnson's Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China. The book immediately caught my attention because it dealt with parts of China that I know well: southern Hebei and eastern Shanxi provinces, where I was conducting research for a new book. Johnson describes festivals that helped bind together communities, and in several cases had information showing that some of them had been revived after the Cultural Revolution. One, particularly, seemed noteworthy: Guyi Village in the south of Hebei Province. This is near the steel-making city of Handan and one of the most polluted parts of China. I had been there several times and was fascinated with the idea that this area could also be home to elaborate, multi-day rituals that seemed otherwise not to exist in North China. According to Johnson's informants, local scholars had visited the village in the 1990s and seen exciting performances of Zhuo Huanggui, or Chasing the Yellow Demon, an exorcistic purging ritual performed at the end of the fifteen-day Chinese New Year's festival. I contacted local officials and academics, who were unsure if the ritual would be performed again. No one, it seemed, had been out to the village in years. So in mid-February 2014, I set off to see if anything was left of these complex performances. (Source: journal)


Jones, Stephen. Plucking the Winds: Lives of Village Musicians in Old and New China. Leiden: CHIME, 2004.

Abstract: This book tells the story of 20th-century China through the eyes of village musicians in north China. Based on extensive fieldwork since 1989, it portrays the lives of several generations of members of an amateur ritual association in South Gaoluo, a village not far from Beijing. The musicians perform solemn chants and music for wind and percussion instruments, serving funerals and Chinese New Year rituals. The reader learns how they have managed to maintain their local ritual traditions amidst massacre, invasion, civil war, famine, political campaigns, theft, destruction, banditry, and religious rivalry (from a Catholic community in the early 1930s).

The book looks beyond cosy and rosy images of modernizing ideology to the realities of local survival, and shows the astonishing resilience and stoic humanity of the musicians and their fellow villagers under all kinds of onslaughts. In a community whose history might seem to have been erased under Maoism, the account becomes a kind of detective story. It also features the author's relationship with the musicians and provides a lively impression of the "spit and sawdust" which are the tribulations and delights of fieldwork in rural China. The account is further enlivened by a CD and many photographs. [Source: publisher]


Jones, Stephen. “Turning a Blind Ear: Bards of Shaanbei.” Chinoperl 27 (2007): 174–208.

Abstract: This article introduces the blind bards of Shaanbei, contrasting the new stories of the Party's model bard Han Qixiang, and the official teams, with the persistent practice of traditional stories, based in ritual practice and healing, among the majority. Since the 1980s, sighted bards have encroached on the blindmen's 'food-bowl', and TV and pop music have dented the bards' popularity. [Source: author]


Jones, Stephen. Ritual and Music of North China: Shawm Bands in Shanxi. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

Abstract: The rich local traditions of musical life in rural China are still little known. Music-making in village society is largely ceremonial, and shawm bands account for a significant part of such music. This is the first major ethnographic study of Chinese shawm bands in their ceremonial and social context. Based in a poor county in Shanxi province in northwestern China, Stephen Jones describes the painful maintenance of ceremonial and its music there under Maoism, its revival with the market reforms of the 1980s and its modification under the assault of pop music since the 1990s. Part One of the text explains the social and historical background by outlining the lives of shawm band musicians in modern times. Part Two looks at the main performing contexts of funerals and temple fairs, whilst Part Three discusses musical features such as instruments, scales, and repertories.


Jones, Stephen. Ritual and Music of North China, Volume 2: Shaanbei. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009.

Abstract: This second volume of Stephen Jones' work on ritual and musical life in north China, again with an accompanying DVD, gives an impression of music-making in daily life in the poor mountainous region of Shaanbei, northwest China. It conveys some of the diverse musical activities there around 2000, from the barrage of pop music blaring from speakers in the bustling county-towns to the life-cycle and calendrical ceremonies of poor mountain villages. Based on the practice of grass-roots music-making in daily life, not merely on official images, the main theme is the painful maintenance of ritual and its music under Maoism, its revival with the market reforms of the 1980s, and its modification under the assaults of TV, pop music, and migration since the 1990s.

The text is in four parts. Part One gives background to the area and music-making in society. Parts Two and Three discuss the lives of bards and shawm bands respectively, describing modifications in their ceremonial activities through the twentieth century. Part Four acclimatizes us to the modern world with glimpses of various types of musical life in Yulin city, the regional capital, illustrating the contrast with the surrounding countryside.

The 44-minute DVD, with its informative commentary, is intended both to illuminate the text and to stand on its own. It shows bards performing at a temple fair and to bless a family in distress, and shawm bands performing at a wedding, at funerals, and a shop opening - including their pop repertory with the 'big band'. Also featuring as part of these events are opera troupes, geomancers, and performing beggars; by contrast, the film shows a glimpse of the official image of Shaanbei culture as presented by a state ensemble in the regional capital. [Source: publisher's website]


Jones, Stephen. In Search of the Folk Daoists of North China. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010.

Abstract: The living practice of Daoist ritual is still only a small part of Daoist studies. Most of this work focuses on the southeast, with the vast area of north China often assumed to be a tabula rasa for local lay liturgical traditions. This book, based on fieldwork, challenges this assumption. With case studies on parts of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces, Stephen Jones describes ritual sequences within funerals and temple fairs, offering details on occupational hereditary lay Daoists, temple-dwelling priests, and even amateur ritual groups. Stressing performance, Jones observes the changing ritual scene in this poor countryside, both since the 1980s and through all the tribulations of twentieth-century warfare and political campaigns. The whole vocabulary of north Chinese Daoists differs significantly from that of the southeast, which has so far dominated our image. Largely unstudied by scholars of religion, folk Daoist ritual in north China has been a constant theme of music scholars within China. Stephen Jones places lay Daoists within the wider context of folk religious practices - including those of lay Buddhists, sectarians, and spirit mediums. This book opens up a new field for scholars of religion, ritual, music, and modern Chinese society. [Source: publisher's website]


Jones, Stephen. “Revival in Crisis: Amateur Ritual Associations in Hebei.” In: Adam Yuet Chau [ed.], Religion in Contemporary China: Revitalization and Innovation. London: Routledge, 2011. Pp. 154-181.


Jones, Stephen. "Yinyang: Household Daoists of North China and Their Rituals." Daoism: Religion, History and Society 3 (2011): 83–144.

Abstract: The documenting of Daoist ritual in modern China is still only a small part of Daoist studies; most such work has focused on the southeast, for which we now have a substantial body of fieldwork on local lay traditions. In north China, meanwhile, the only outposts of Daoism generally assumed to survive are the major Quanzhen temples. My recent book, based on fieldwork, challenges this assumption that north China is virtually a tabula rasa for folk ritual, showing that local, lay, nominally Zhengyi, traditions remained active through the 20th century there too. Focusing on ritual sequences (mainly for funerals and temple fairs), I deduce that the typical performers in north China, as for the south, were, and are, lay hereditary family groups; further, both Zhengyi and Quanzhen priests from the many small local temples until the 1950s were likely to perform forrituals among the folks. I note the common use of the term yinyang to describe lay Daoists, positing a “yinyang corridor” right along the north of north China. The article focuses on the lay household traditions of north Shanxi, with outlines of ritual performers and descriptions of ritual sequences in the northeast of one county, Yanggao. In many areas of north China the jiao offering ritual, supposedly a staple of Daoist ritual, is unknown. Indeed, the whole vocabulary of north Chinese Daoists is significantly different from that of the southeast, which has so far dominated our image of Daoist ritual. The main proposal is that there is still plenty of folk Daoist activity in north China.(Source: journal)

Jones, Stephen. Daoist Priests of the Li Family: Ritual Life in Village China. St. Petersburg, FL: Three Pines Press, 2017.

Abstract: Complementing the author's moving film Li Manshan: Portrait of a Folk Daoist, this engaging and original book describes a hereditary family of household Daoist priests based in a poor village in north China. It traces the vicissitudes of their lives—and ritual practices—over the turbulent last century through the experiences of two main characters: Li Manshan (b.1946), and his distinguished father Li Qing (1926–99). A social ethnography of ritual specialists and their local patrons, the work anchors in their changing ritual performance practice. The book combines local social history and biography, evoking the changing ritual soundscape and the continuing vibrancy and relevance of the Daoists’ performance. Jones reflects on the inspiration of fieldwork, giving a unique flavor of rural life in China today. A vivid portrait of a rapidly changing society, Daoist Priests of the Li Family will fascinate anthropologists, scholars of Chinese religion, world-music aficionados, and all those interested in Asian society. (Source: publisher's website)


Joo Fumiko. „Ancestress Worship: Huxin Temple and the Literati Community in Late Ming Ningbo.“ Nan Nü: Men, Women and Gender in China 16, no.1 (2014): 29-58.


Ju Xi. "Legend of Nine Dragons and Two Tigers: an Example of City Temples and Blocks in Beijing." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 11, no. 1 (2016): 48-67.

Abstract: Peking Temple Survey Schedule in Capital Library of China recorded the saying of “nine dragons, two tigers and one stele”, this legend still spread in the old residents in Xizhimen Street. Through the history research and fieldwork, this essay finds out the exact meaning of nine dragons and two tigers and the relationship with the temples, wells in Xizhimen Street. We find three characteristics of the temples in Beijing inner city through the legend: First, the temples have complicated responsibilities, clear objects and class attributes, which is the important reason for the great number of temples in Beijing. Second, the people have their own view and imagination towards the city landscape, this kind of special sense has some difference with the upper class. Finally, temples are not only served for the diverse religious and social needs of the residents, but also the basement of constructing their urban spatial aesthetics, the temples communicates the secular and gods, they are also the junction of city and universe. Based on the understanding and arrangement of the real temples, citizens construct their unique cosmic order. (Source: journal)


Kang Xiaofei, "In the Name of the Buddha: the Cult of the Fox at a Sacred Site in Contemporary Northern Shaanxi." Minsu quyi, no.138 (2002): 67-110.


Kang, Xiaofei. The Cult of the Fox: Power, Gender, and Popular Religion in Late Imperial and Modern China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Abstract: For more than five centuries the shamanistic fox cult has attracted large portions of the Chinese population and appealed to a wide range of social classes. Deemed illicit by imperial rulers and clerics and officially banned by republican and communist leaders, the fox cult has managed to survive and flourish in individual homes and community shrines throughout northern China. In this new work, the first to examine the fox cult as a vibrant popular religion, Xiaofei Kang explores the manifold meanings of the fox spirit in Chinese society. Kang describes various cult practices, activities of worship, and the exorcising of fox spirits to reveal how the Chinese people constructed their cultural and social values outside the gaze of official power and morality.

Kang's book uncovers and reinterprets a wealth of anecdotal historical texts and works of popular literature and draws on her own ethnographic research. She considers how the fox cult operated on the margins of Chinese society as well as the fox's place in the popular imagination. As a symbol, fox spirits have long been marginal and variable creatures with the ability to freely change their gender and age, appearing as both evil and benign. The Chinese people, as Kang demonstrates, have drawn on and manipulated the various meanings of the fox spirit to cope with and give order to the changes in their personal lives and in society.

Kang also pays close attention to the ways in which gender was used to construct religious power in Chinese society. Gendered interpretations of the fox were used to define the official and unofficial, private and public, and moral and immoral in religious practices. Kang's analysis of the history of the fox cult addresses central questions in the study of Chinese religion and society, including the dynamic between cultural unity and variation and the relationships of various social groups to popular religion. [Source: publisher's website.]


Kang Xiaofei. "Two Temples, Three Religions, and a Tourist Attraction: Contesting Sacred Space on China's Ethnic Frontier." Modern China 35 (2009): 227-255.


Kang Xiaofei. "Rural Women, Old Age, and Temple Work: A Case from Northwestern Sichuan." China Perspectives 2009/4: 42-52.

Abstract: This article examines the interface of religion, gender, and old age in contemporary China through the case of a group of rural Han elder women and their community temple in northwestern Sichuan. Without access to monastic resources and charismatic leadership, the women have made the temple a gendered ritual space of their own to obtain social company, spiritual comfort, and moral capital for themselves and their families. Neither victims of feudal superstition nor obstacles to modernisation, they are a dynamic transformative force in contemporary rural China.

Kang, Xiaofei; Sutton, Donald S. Contesting the Yellow Dragon: Ethnicity, Religion, and the State in the Sino-Tibetan Borderland. Leiden: Brill, 2016.

Abstract: This book is the first long-term study of the Sino-Tibetan borderland. It traces relationships and mutual influence among Tibetans, Chinese, Hui Muslims, Qiang and others over some 600 years, focusing on the old Chinese garrison city of Songpan and the nearby religious center of Huanglong, or Yellow Dragon. Combining historical research and fieldwork, Xiaofei Kang and Donald Sutton examine the cultural politics of northern Sichuan from early Ming through Communist revolution to the age of global tourism, bringing to light creative local adaptations in culture, ethnicity and religion as successive regimes in Beijing struggle to control and transform this distant frontier. (Source: publisher's website)


Katz, Paul R., "Plague God Cults in Late Imperial Chekiang: A Case Study of Marshal Wen." In: Proceedings of the Conference on Temples and Popular Culture. Taipei: Center for Chinese Studies, 1995.


Katz, Paul R., Demon Hordes and Burning Boats. The Cult of Marshal Wen in Late Imperial Chekiang. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995.


Katz, Paul R., Images of the Immortal: The Cult of Lü Dongbin at the Palace of Eternal Joy. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999.


Katz, Paul R., "Recent Developments in the Study of Chinese Ritual Dramas: An Assessment of Xu Hongtu's Research on Zhejiang." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.199-229.


Katz, Paul R. "Festivals and the Recreation of Identity in South China: A Case Study of Processions and Explsion Rites in Pucheng, Zhejiang." Journal of Ritual Studies 19(2005)1: 67-85.


Katz, Paul R. "Festivals and the Recreation of Identity in South China: A Case Study of Processions and Expulsion Rites in Pucheng, Zhejiang." In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures, edited by Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew Strathern. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. Pp.153-182.

Katz, Paul R. „Repaying a Nuo Vow in Western Hunan: A Rite of Trans-Hybridity.“ Taiwan renleixue kan 11, no.2 (2013): 1-88.


Katz, Paul. R. “Illuminating Goodness -- Some Preliminary Considerations of Religious Publishing in Modern China.” In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 265-294. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Katz, Paul R. “Religious Life in Western Hunan during the Modern Era: Some Preliminary Observations.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 25 (2016): 181-218.


Kipnis, Andrew B., Producing Guanxi: Sentiment, Self, and Subculture in a North China Village. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997.


Kleeman, Terry F., "Sources for Religious Practice in Zitong: The Local Side of a National Cult." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10(1998): 341-355.


Knepper, Timothy, and You Bin, eds. Religions of Beijing. London: Bloomsbury, 2020.

Abstract: Religions of Beijing offers an intimate portrayal of lived religion in 17 different religious communities in greater Beijing. Students at Minzu University of China spent one year immersed in the routine and practices daily, "writing with" the experiences and perspectives of their practitioners. Each chapter has been translated into English, with students at Drake University (Des Moines, Iowa) facilitating this process. The result is a bi-lingual book (Mandarin, English) that reveals to Chinese- and English-speaking readers the vibrant diversity of lived religion in contemporary Beijing. Each chapter focuses on the histories, practices, spaces, and members of its community, telling the overall story of the renewed flourishing of religion in Beijing. The book is also enriched with over 100 photos that portray this flourishing renewal, capturing the lived experience of ordinary practitioners. Together, the words and photographs of Religions of Beijing draw the reader into the stories and lives of these communities and their members, providing a first-hand look at the contemporary practice of religion in greater Beijing. The religions covered are Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam and folk religion.


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. (Note: On Anxi county, Fujian province)


Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng. "The Worship of Qingshui Zushi and Religious Revivalism in South China." In: Tan Chee-Beng [ed.], Southern Fujian: Reproduction of Traditions in Post-Mao China. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2006. Pp.121-144.


Lagerwey, John, "Dingguang Gufo: Oral and Written Sources in the Study of a Saint." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10(1998): 77-129.

Abstract: Saint bouddhique du dixième siècle presque inconnu en dehors de la région hakka dans le sud-est de la Chine, Dingguang gufo fait l'objet, dans toute cette région, de cycles de légendes liés aux sites sacrés ainsi qu'aux pèlerinages. Les sources historiques du onzième au treizième siècles en font à la fois un héros civilisateur et la réincarnation du Bouddha du passé (Dipamkara). Les monographies locales permettent aussi bien de suivre le développement géographique du culte que d'en comprendre le lien intime entre les gestes du saint et le paysage. Cependant, seuls l'enquête de terrain et la collecte de traditions orales donnent accès à la sociologie du culte et au phénomène de sa localisation. Cet essai se veut donc démonstration de l'indispensable alliance entre l'histoire et l'anthropologie pour l'étude de la société chinoise et de ses dieux. [Source: article]


Lagerwey, John, "A Year in the Life of a Mingqi Saint." Minsu quyi no.117 (1999): 329-370.


Lagerwey, John, "Du caractère rationnel de la religion locale en Chine." Bulletin de l'École française d'Extrême-Orient 87(2000)1: 301-315.

Abstract: La thèse soutenue dans cet article est que le comportement religieux chinois, tel qu'on l'observe à l'échelon local, suppose un système symbolique commun qui est « approprié à la situation socioéconomique ». Basé sur un travail de terrain dans les parties habitées par les Hakka du Nord-Est de la province de Guangdong, il examine une vallée « idéal-typique » coupée par une rivière qui divise un village monolignager d'un village plurilignager. Il y a une « logique profonde de l'occupation lignagère de l'espace », qui est fondamentalement monopolistique et conduit, si le lignage arrive à ses fins, d'un ancêtre fondateur unique à un lignage dominant qui a chassé tous les rivaux de l'écosystème que constitue la vallée. C'est dans ce contexte que le souci intense, lors de la construction d'une maison ou d'une tombe, de la captation symbolique du pouvoir spirituel du paysage au moyen de la géomancie prend tout son sens. Si les ancêtres représentent le lignage comme entité « publique », sociale, ce sont les dieux qui représentent la vallée comme un tout, c'est-à-dire comme un écosystème social partagé. Les dieux les plus importants sont les dieux villageois du sol, qui protègent le village des envahisseurs surnaturels. Il arrive souvent que des villages, représentés par leurs dieux du sol, appartiennent à des alliances plus larges formées autour de divinités hébergées dans des temples. Les processions à travers le territoire du dieu font partie intégrante des célébrations communautaires. Les démons, enfin, sont des puissances spirituelles qui, contrairement aux dieux, ne sont pas attachées à un lieu précis et doivent être régulièrement « invitées », nourries, et chassées en des lieux rituels en aval du village. Cet espace religieux surpeuplé reflétait un espace socioéconomique surpeuplé, situation qui engendrait « une approche stratégique et opportuniste de la survie »."

The basic thesis of this essay is that Chinese religious behaviour as observed on the local level involves a symbolic system common to all that is "appropriate to the socio-economic context." Based on fieldwork in the Hakka parts of north-eastern Guangdong, the article examines an "ideal-type" valley bisected by a river which divides a uni-lineage from a multi-lineage "village". There is an "inner logic of the lineage occupation of space", a logic which is essentially monopolistic and leads, if the lineage is successful, from a single founding ancestor to a fully articulated major lineage which has driven all rivals from the valley ecosystem. It is in this context that the intense concern, when building a house or a tomb, with symbolic capture of the spiritual power of the landscape by means of geomancy makes sense. If the ancestors represent the lineage as a "public", social entity, it is the gods who represent the valley as a whole, that is, as a shared social ecosystem. The most important are the village earth gods, who protect the village against supernatural invaders. Not infrequently, villages represented by their earth gods will belong to larger alliances built up around gods housed in temples. Processions throughout the god's territory are a standard part of communal celebrations. Demons, finally, are spiritual forces who, unlike gods, are not tied to a fixed place and must be regularly "invited", fed, and driven away at ritual sites downstream from the village. This overcrowed religious space reflected an overcrowded socio-economic space, a situation that engendered "a strategic, opportunistic approach to survival".


Lagerwey, John, "Popular Ritual Specialists in West Central Fujian." 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.435-507.


Lagerwey, John, "The Altar of Celebration Ritual in Lushan County, Sichuan." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.75-79.


Lagerwey, John, "Duangong Ritual and Ritual Theatre in the Chongqing Area: A Survey of the Work of Hu Tiancheng." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.81-107.


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)


Lagerwey, John. "The History and Sociology of Religion in Changting County, Fujian." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 189-218.


Lagerwey, John. “Village Religion in Huizhou: A Preliminary Assessment.” Min-su ch’ü-i / Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 174 (2011): 305-357.


Lang, Graeme & Lars Ragvald, "Spirit-Writing and the Development of Chinese Cults." Sociology of Religion 59(1998)4: 309-328.


Lang, Graeme; Selina Ching Chan, Lars Ragvald. The Return of the Refugee God: Wong Tai Sin in China. CSRCS Occasional Paper No.8. Hong Kong: Centre for the Study of Religion and Chinese Society (Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong), 2002.


Lang, Graeme; Selina Chan & Lars Ragvald. "Temples and the Religious Economy." In: Fenggang Yang & Joseph B. Tamney [eds.], State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Pp.149-180. [Note: Case-examples are Wong Tai Sin/Huang Daxian temples in Zhejiang and Guangdong.]


Law Pui-lam. "The Revival of Folk Religion and Gender Relationships in Rural China: A Preliminary Observation." Asian Folklore Studies 64(2005)1: 89-109. [Note: On revival of religious practices in the Pearl River Delta.]


Le Mentec, Katiana. "Barrage des Trois Gorges: les cultes et le patrimoine au coeur des enjeux: étude sur les vestiges culturels et la religion populaire locale dans le xian de Yunyang (municipalité de Chongqing)." Perspectives chinoises 94 (2006): 2-12.


Le Mentec, Katiana; Brown, Peter, tr. "The Three Gorges Dam Project: Religious Practices and Heritage Conservation: a Study of Cultural Remains and Local Popular Religion in the xian of Yunyang (Municipality of Chongqing)." China Perspectives 65 (2006): 2-13. [Note: A German translation of this article appeared in China heute 25(2006)4-5: 154-163.]


Leamaster, Reid J.; Anning Hu. “Popular Buddhists: The Relationship between Popular Religious Involvement and Buddhist Identity in Contemporary China.” Sociology of Religion 75 (2014): 234-259.

Abstract: Drawing on previous literature and theoretical considerations, the authors identify six key independent variables related to popular religious belief and practice in mainland China: institutional religious affiliation, level of education, income, perspectives on inequality as a social problem, assessment of overall health, and rural residency. Using the 2007 Spiritual Life Study of Chinese Residents, the authors find that Buddhist identity is positively associated with popular religious involvement across measures of popular religious belief and practice. Identifying as a formally committed Buddhist consistently displays the strongest positive relationship with popular religious involvement. The level of education does not reveal a consistent negative association with popular religious adherence, contrary to predictions of classical secularization theory. One measure of existential security theory, feeling inequality is a serious social problem, shows a strong positive relationship with popular religious belief, but not popular religious practices. Finally, despite research highlighting the functional importance of popular religion in rural areas, rural residency is not consistently a significant predictor of popular religious adherence. The implications of these findings are discussed. (Source: journal)


Leung, Angela Ki Che. “Charity, Medicine, and Religion: The Quest for Modernity in Canton.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 579-612. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Li Feng-mao, "A Review of Ye Mingsheng's Study of the Lüshan Sect in Longyan, Fujian and Its Rituals." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.257-262.


Li Geng. “Rivers and Lakes: Life Stories of Diviners in a Northern Chinese City.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 393-419. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.


Li Lan. Popular Religion in Modern China: The New Role of Nuo. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2015.

Abstract: Since the early 1980s, China's rapid economic growth and social transformation have greatly altered the role of popular religion in the country. This book makes a new contribution to the research on the phenomenon by examining the role which popular religion has played in modern Chinese politics. Popular Religion in Modern China uses Nuo as an example of how a popular religion has been directly incorporated into the Chinese Community Party's (CCP) policies and how the religion functions as a tool to maintain socio-political stability, safeguard national unification and raise the country's cultural 'soft power' in the eyes of the world. It provides rich new material on the interplay between contemporary Chinese politics, popular religion and economic development in a rapidly changing society. (Source: publisher's website)


Liang, Yongjia. "Morality, Gift and Market: Communal Temple Restoration in Southwest China." Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 15, no.5 (Nov 2014): 414-432 .


Lin, Fu-shih, "Chinese Shamans and Shamanism in the Chiang-nan Area During the Six Dynasties Period (3rd to 6th Century A.D.)." Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1994.


Litzinger, Charles A., "Rural Religion and Village Organization in North China: The Catholic Challenge in the Late Nineteenth Century." In Daniel H. Bays [ed.], Christianity in China. From the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. Pp.41-52.


Liu, Anrong. "Catholic and Chinese Folk Religion During the Republican Era in the Region of Taiyuan, Shanxi." In A Voluntary Exile: Chinese Christianity and Cultural Confluence since 1552, edited by Anthony E. Clark, 145-171. Bethlehem, Penn.: Lehigh University Press, 2014.


Liu, Kwang-Ching, "Religion and Politics in the White Lotus Rebellion of 1796 in Hubei." In: Kwang-Ching Liu and Richard Shek [eds.], Heterodoxy in Late Imperial China. Honolulu : University of Hawai'i Press, 2004. Pp.281-320.


Liu Tik-sang, "Ritual, Context, and Identity: The Lingmu Ritual of the Liangshan Yi People in Sichuan." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.157-169.


Liu, Xuan: Monica McGarrity; Li Yiming. “The Influence of Traditional Buddhist Wildlife Release on Biological Invasions.” Conservation Letters 5.2 (2012): 107-114.

Abstract: An understanding of anthropogenic factors influencing wildlife invasions is crucial to development of comprehensive prevention and management strategies. However, little attention has been paid to the role religious practice plays in biological invasions. The tradition of wildlife release is prevalent in many areas around the world where Asian religions are influential and is hypothesized to promote species invasions, although quantitative evidence is lacking. We used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the influence of Buddhist wildlife release events on establishment of feral populations of American bullfrogs ( Lithobates catesbeianus) in Yunnan province, southwestern China, from 2008 to 2009. We identified frequency of release events and lentic water conditions as factors that promote establishment of bullfrog populations, whereas hunting activity likely helps to prevent establishment. Our study provides the first quantitative evidence that religious release is an important pathway for wildlife invasions and has implications for prevention and management on a global scale. (Source: journal)


Liu, Xun. "Physicians, Quanzhen Daoists, and Folk Cult of the Sage of Medicine in Nanyang, 1540s-1950s." Daoism: Religion, History and Society 6 (2014): 269-334.


Liu, Yonghua. Confucian Rituals and Chinese Villagers: Ritual Change and Social Transformation in a Southeastern Chinese Community, 1368-1949. Religion in Chinese Societies, vol.6. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

Abstract: In Confucian Rituals and Chinese Villagers, Yonghua Liu presents a detailed study of how a southeastern Chinese community experienced and responded to the process whereby Confucian rituals - previously thought unfit for practice by commoners - were adopted in the Chinese countryside and became an integral part of village culture, from the mid fourteenth to mid twentieth centuries. The book examines the important but understudied ritual specialists, masters of rites (lisheng), and their ritual handbooks while showing their crucial role in the ritual life of Chinese villagers. This discussion of lisheng and their rituals deepens our understanding of the ritual aspect of popular Confucianism and sheds new light on social and cultural transformations in late imperial China. (Source: publisher's website)


Liu, Zhiwei, "Beyond the Imperial Metaphor: a Local History of the Beidi (Northern Emperor) Cult in the Pearl River Delta." Chinese Studies in History 35(2001)1: 12-30.


Lo, Roger Shih-Chieh. “Local Politics and the Canonization of a God: Lord Yang (Yang fujun) in Late Qing Wenzhou (840-67).” Late Imperial China 33.1 (2012): 89-121.

Abstract: In early February 1855, a group of “local bandits” led by Qu Zhenhan occupied Yueqing city of Wenzhou prefecture for a week. According to Qing officials’ report, this incident was suppressed by the divine manifestation of Lord Yang, a popular local deity in Wenzhou. Instead of focusing on how Qing authority regained control over local society, this article takes advantage of the local materials available in Wenzhou to explore the following two questions: How does a local deity function politically in local society? What is the role of popular religion in local politics and even national politics in late Qing China? This local history study sheds light on the significance of popular religion in Chinese political culture. (Source: journal)


Luo, Chia-Li, "Coastal Culture and Religion in Early China: A Study through Comparison with the Central Plain Region." Thesis (Ph.D.), Indiana University, 1999.

Abstract: This dissertation identifies and introduces the culture of the coastal region in early China from the Neolithic through the early historic period, with a focus on its religious aspect. In analyzing the religious tradition of the coastal region, the author also compares it with that of contemporaneous central plains region, conventionally known as mainstream Chinese religion. The primary purpose of the dissertation is to challenge the conventional view of a homogenous early Chinese culture, explore the cultural and religious plurality of early China, and provide a more solid basis for discourses on the origins of Chinese religions.

The first half of the dissertation includes a survey of related fields and an introduction to the recently identified coastal culture in early China. The survey covers the fields of the Wu-Yue culture, the Hundred Yue culture, and the Yi culture—all located within or linked with the coastal culture. It provides a summary of the archaeological research in the past few decades and a critical review of the common agendas of the fields. It is then followed by an introduction to the recent scholarship that establishes the identification of an early coastal culture, and a discussion of the physical features of the culture.

The second half of the dissertation focuses on the religious aspect of the coastal culture, comparing it with that of the central plains culture. It includes two parts, the first part studies the cemetery layouts of both cultures, establishing the regionality of the central plains religious tradition (which is centered on lineage hierarchy and commonly considered as the “pan-Chinese” tradition) and the separate identity of the coastal religious culture. The second part aims to reconstruct the actual content of coastal religion, comparing it with an analysis of the religious paradigm of the central plains region. The dissertation concludes that the coastal religious tradition was fundamentally different from the central plains tradition, as shown in various aspects including the structure of the pantheon, the location of worship sites, and the views concerning the destiny of the dead and the relationship between the dead and the living. (Source: Dissertation Abstracts International)


Luo Weiwei. “Locality and Temple Fundraising in Northern Qing China.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 37-58. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.


Marsone, Pierre, Alain Arrault, Alix Feng & Vincent Goossaert, "Inscription de la bonne association du sanctuaire stationnal du Pic de l'Est (Pékin, Dongyue Miao, 1560)." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 25-32.


Marsone, Pierre, "L'épigraphie religieuse de Xi'an. Situation actuelle et documents inédits." Sanjiao wenxian 2(1998): 113-144.


Matthews, William. "Making 'Science' from 'Superstition': Conceptions of Knowledge Legitimacy among Contemporary Yijing Diviners." Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no. 2 (2017): 173-196.

Abstract: Yijing prediction is experiencing a popular revival in the contemporary PRC, ongoing since the beginning of the Reform era. At the same time, state and popular discourse continue to valorize “science” (kexue) as modern, accurate, and legitimate, against backward, false, and illegitimate “superstition” (mixin). Yijing prediction is widely considered “superstitious,” but is cast by diviners as a legitimate form of knowledge. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Hangzhou, this article identifies six common popular attitudes to “science” in relation to other knowledge systems, and examines them through case studies of two predictors. Predictors maintain a strong epistemological and ethical concern with accurately accounting for reality, identifying Yijing prediction positively as “scientific” or as compatible with “science,” against other forms of knowledge like religion and Marxism, which are considered “superstitious” and inaccurate. Predictors thus appropriate and redefine the prevailing discourse of knowledge legitimacy based on their individual epistemological perspectives. (Source: journal)


Matthews, William. Cosmic Coherence: A Cognitive Anthropology Through Chinese Divination. New York: Berghahn Books, 2021.

Abstract: Humans are unique in their ability to create systematic accounts of the world – theories based on guiding cosmological principles. This book is about the role of cognition in creating cosmologies, and explores this through the ethnography and history of Yijing divination in China. Diviners explain the cosmos in terms of a single substance, qi, unfolding across scales of increasing complexity to create natural phenomena and human experience. Combined with an understanding of human cognition, it shows how this conception of scale offers a new way for anthropologists and other social scientists to think about cosmology, comparison and cultural difference.



McLaren, Anne & Chen Qinjian, "The Oral and Ritual Culture of Chinese Women: Bridal Lamentations of Nanhui." Asian Folklore Studies 59(2000)2: 205-238.


McLaren, Anne E. Performing Grief: Bridal Laments in Rural China. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008.

Abstract: This is the first in-depth study of Chinese bridal laments, a ritual and performative art practiced by Chinese women in premodern times that gave them a rare opportunity to voice their grievances publicly. Drawing on methodologies from numerous disciplines, including performance arts and folk literatures, the author suggests that the ability to move an audience through her lament was one of the most important symbolic and ritual skills a Chinese woman could possess before the modern era.
    Performing Grief provides a detailed case study of the Nanhui region in the lower Yangzi delta. Bridal laments, the author argues, offer insights into how illiterate Chinese women understood the kinship and social hierarchies of their region, the marriage market that determined their destinies, and the value of their labor in the commodified economy of the delta region. The book not only assesses and draws upon a large body of sources, both Chinese and Western, but is grounded in actual field work, offering both historical and ethnographic context in a unique and sophisticated approach. Unlike previous studies, the author covers both Han and non-Han groups and thus contributes to studies of ethnicity and cultural accommodation in China. She presents an original view about the ritual implications of bridal laments and their role in popular notions of “wedding pollution.” The volume includes an annotated translation from a lament cycle.
    This important work on the place of laments in Chinese culture enriches our understanding of the social and performative roles of Chinese women, the gendered nature of China’s ritual culture, and the continuous transmission of women’s grievance genres into the revolutionary period. As a pioneering study of the ritual and performance arts of Chinese women, it will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of anthropology, social history, gender studies, oral literature, comparative folk religion, and performance arts. [Source: publisher's website]


Miles, Steven B. "Celebrating the Yu Fan Shrine: Literati Networks and Local Identity in Early Nineteenth-Century Guangzhou." Late Imperial China 25 (2004)2: 33-73.


Miller, Eric T. "Filial Daughters, Filial Sons: Comparisons from Rural China." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.34-52.


Miller, Tracy Gay, "Constructing Religion: Song Dynasty Architecture and the Jinci Temple Complex." Thesis (Ph.D.), University of Pennsylvania., 2000, 502p.

Abstract: This dissertation addresses the buildings within the Jinci temple complex both as a case study in early building style and as evidence for local religious practice. In Part I, I assess the date of the primary temple building at Jinci, the Sage Mother Hall. I do this first by comparing the building to the Northern Song building manual the Yingzao fashi in order to review the current methodology of dating traditional buildings. Then I compare the bracketing style and structural features of the Sage Mother Hall to buildings of similar date in southern Shanxi province. By establishing a stylistic chronology within the southern Shanxi region, I show that the Sage Mother Hall is not a tenth century building, rather it is stylistically from the end of the eleventh century and should be given a date range of 1038-1102.

In Part II, I examine the architecture of the temple complex in relation to local religion. The distribution of temple buildings at Jinci reveals both how local people conceived of their divinities, and how over time the temple buildings themselves affected later generations' interpretation of the site. The architectural language of traditional Chinese ritual sites used by elite and common patrons alike reveals aspects of local religious belief systems which were obfuscated by the elite authors of textual sources. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Miller, Tracy G. "Water Sprites and Ancestor Spirits: Reading the Architecture of Jinci." Art Bulletin 86(2004)1: 6-30. [Note: The Jinci temple complex is located about eleven miles southwest of Taiyuan, Shanxi province.]


Murray, Daniel M. “The City God Returns: Organised and Contagious Networks at the Xiamen City God Temple.” The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 19, no. 4 (2018): 281-297.

Abstract: This paper explores the revival and current networks of the Xiamen City God temple in Southeast China. I divide the networks into two forms: the first is organised and composed of systematically and consciously structured networks; the second is contagious, made up of networks that are more unwieldy and impossible to fully map as they are formed through the affective intensity of ritual events. The two forms of networks are mutually dependent: without the donations and participation generated through organised networks, the ritual events would never take place; without the ritual events that generate networks of contagion, there would be no interest or reason to support the temple and the god’s efficacy would be seen in decline. (Source: journal)


Naquin, Susan, "Sites, Saints, and Sights at the Tanzhe Monastery." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10(1998): 183-211.


Naquin, Susan, Peking: Temples and City Life, 1400-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.


Nedostup, Rebecca Allyn, "Religion, Superstition and Governing Society in Nationalist China." Thesis (Ph.D.), Columbia University, 2001, 668p.

Abstract: In its self-appointed role as the savior of Chinese culture, the Nationalist regime at Nanjing (1927-1937) sought to define habits suitable for a modern citizen, and to eliminate customs that might hinder the formation of a cohesive nation. In religion, reformers saw laudable systems of ethics degraded by wasteful and unseemly popular practices, and institutions whose influence threatened to impede government control. Thus party and government officials sought to translate a nebulous distinction between acceptable beliefs and harmful superstition into executable ways to regulate religious groups and control practitioners. Meanwhile, by confiscating temple property and attempting to substitute civic rituals for old-style customs, the regime sought to reorder the pattern of power in local society, sometimes to great resistance. This project aims to trace the story of Nationalist policy towards Chinese popular religion and then place it in the context of local history, employing case studies from the capital and Jiangsu province. The result is not simply a case of an "urban intellectual" government seeking to repress a clear-cut set of "traditional" cultural practices. The difficulties faced by KMT officials and party cadres in dealing with superstition reveal the inherent contradictions in the regime's greater project to remake Chinese culture, society and nation. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Ng, Emily. A Time of Lost Gods: Mediumship, Madness, and the Ghost after Mao. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020.

Abstract: Traversing visible and invisible realms, A Time of Lost Gods attends to profound rereadings of politics, religion, and madness in the cosmic accounts of spirit mediumship. Drawing on research across a temple, a psychiatric unit, and the home altars of spirit mediums in a rural county of China's Central Plain, it asks: What ghostly forms emerge after the death of Mao and the so-called end of history? The story of religion in China since the market reforms of the late 1970s is often told through its destruction under Mao and relative flourishing thereafter. Here, those who engage in mediumship offer a different history of the present. They approach Mao's reign not simply as an earthly secular rule, but an exceptional interval of divine sovereignty, after which the cosmos collapsed into chaos. Caught between a fading era and an ever-receding horizon, those "left behind" by labor outmigration refigure the evacuated hometown as an ethical-spiritual center to come, amidst a proliferation of madness-inducing spirits. Following pronouncements of China's rise, and in the wake of what Chinese intellectuals termed semicolonialism, the stories here tell of spirit mediums, patients, and psychiatrists caught in a shared dilemma, in a time when gods have lost their way.


Ng, Emily. "Spectral Revolution: Notes on a Maoist Cosmology." Made in China 5, no. 2 (2020): 104–111.

Abstract: This essay describes the cosmological role of Mao in ritual and spirit mediumship in rural China. It considers the occulted forces hosted by the Chairman's image and words, across movements of display, concealment, and circulation. Here, the Party-state has a cosmic double, and Maoist anti-religious policies are not what they seem.


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.


Oakes, Tim. “Alchemy of the Ancestors: Rituals of Genealogy in the Service of the Nation in Rural China.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.51-77.


Oakes, Tim. “Heritage, Ritual Space, and Contested Urbanization in Southern China.” In Heritage and Religion in East Asia, edited by Shu-Li Wang, Michael Rowlands, and Yujie Zhu, 105–124. London: Routledge, 2021.



Oguma Makoto. "The Village of 'Two Dragons' and the Village of 'Dragon and Tiger': A Field Study of Fengshui in Two Zhejiang Villages." 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.120-135.


Olles, Volker. Der Berg des Lao Zi in der Provinz Sichuan und die 24 Diözesen der daoistischen Religion.Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2005. Asien- und Afrika-Studien 24.

Abstract: Der Berg des Lao Zi (Laojun Shan) in der Provinz Sichuan ist eine heilige Stätte des Daoismus, die auf eine lange Geschichte zurückblicken kann und auch in der heutigen Zeit als florierender Tempelstandort und regionales Zentrum der einheimischen Religion Chinas bekannt ist. Die Bedeutung und das Erscheinungsbild des Laojun Shan in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, die Grundlagen seiner spirituellen Legitimation in kanonischen Schriften und Überlieferungen, der traditionelle Tempelkomplex und das religiöse Leben auf dem Berg werden in diesem Buch umfassend dargestellt. Die Studie ist das Ergebnis von Forschungen an mehreren Lokalitäten in Sichuan, die zu den Stützpunkten des Himmelsmeister-Daoismus (Tianshi Dao) in der Östlichen Han-Zeit (25-220) gehörten. Diese Orte, die sich auf oder in unmittelbarer Nähe von Bergen bzw. Hügeln befanden, sind als ã24 Diözesen" (ershisi zhi) in den daoistischen Schriften aufgelistet. In vielen Fällen können diese Stätten auch heute noch identifiziert werden. Der Laojun Shan, das ehemalige Zentrum der Diözese Chougeng (Chougeng Zhi), wurde im Verlauf der Geschichte zum Standort eines Tempels zu Ehren von Lao Zi, der in dieser Religion als kosmische Gottheit und Verkörperung des Dao verehrt wird. Als heiliger Raum überdauerte der Berg die Jahrhunderte, und heute beherbergt der Tempelkomplex auf dem Laojun Shan eine Klostergemeinschaft von Daoisten, die zur Schule der Vollkommenen Verwirklichung (Quanzhen) gehören. Als erste Monographie zu diesem Berg bietet die Studie einen Einblick in Erscheinungsformen und Bedeutungen des heiligen Raumes innerhalb der chinesischen Religiosität und zeichnet zugleich ein lebendiges Bild der daoistischen Kultur von Sichuan.

The twenty-four dioceses (ershisi zhi) of early Celestial Master Daoism (Tianshi Dao) appear as a system of religious geography in various texts of the Daoist canon (Daozang). They were religious administrative spheres of an early Daoist movement and as such played an important role in the founding process of China's native religion. These administrative spheres were centered around mountains or hills surrounded by fertile farmland. From the beginning, their function was of a spiritual nature, and after the vanishing of the early Daoist movement these mountains became locations for temples and monasteries. Mt. Laojun (Laojun Shan), the Mountain of Lord Lao, is located in Xinjin County, south of the Sichuanese capital of Chengdu. This mountain has been identified as the center of the former diocese Chougeng (Chougeng Zhi) and, furthermore, has a long history as sanctuary for the worship of Laozi. The temple on Mt. Laojun is today a very active and flourishing institution that belongs to the Dragon Gate (Longmen) order of Complete Realization (Quanzhen) Daoism. This study is the first comprehensive monograph that illustrates Mt. Laojun's past and present in order to provide an insight into the nature and meaning of Daoist sacred space. [Source: publisher's website.]


Olles, Volker. "The Gazetteer of Mt. Tianshe: How the Liumen Community Reshaped a Daoist Sacred Mountain." In Chinese and European Perspectives on the Study of Chinese Popular Religions, edited by Philip Clart. Taipei: Boyang Publishing, 2012. Pp.229-289.

Abstract: The Mountain of Lord Lao (Laojun shan), a sacred site in Sichuan Province, belongs to the earliest sanctuaries of the Daoist religion. In late Qing and Republican times, the temple on Mt. Laojun was closely connected with the Liumen (Liu School) community, a quasi-religious movement based on the doctrine of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan (1768-1856). Under the influence of the Liumen community, an ancient legend of Laozi’s sojourn on this mountain has become the main source of Mt. Laojun’s spiritual authority. Tang Jicang, an adherent of the Liumen tradition who functioned as the caretaker of the sanctuary from the early 1960s through the 1980s, wrote the only monograph on this sacred site: the Tianshe shan zhi (Gazetteer of Mt. Tianshe). “Tianshe shan” is an alternative appellation for Mt. Laojun, which is favoured by members of the Liumen community. The focus of my contribution is on this valuable document that allows fascinating insights into the modern history of the temple on Mt. Laojun. (Source: book)


Olles, Volker. Ritual Words: Daoist Liturgy and the Confucian Liumen Tradition in Sichuan Province. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2013.

Abstract: The Qing dynasty scholar Liu Yuan (1768-1856) developed a unique system of thought, merging Confucian learning with ideas and practices from Daoism and Buddhism, and was eventually venerated as the founding patriarch of an influential movement combining the characteristics of a scholarly circle and a religious society. Liu Yuan, a native of Sichuan, was an outstanding Confucian scholar whose teachings were commonly referred to as Liumen (Liu School). Assisted by his close disciples, Liu edited a Daoist ritual canon titled Fayan huizuan (Compendium of Ritual Words). Daoist priests affiliated with the Liumen community and using the Fayan huizuan canon in their rituals constituted an independent liturgical branch of Daoism, which is still extant and known under the name of “Fayan tan” (Altar of Ritual Words). Following a comprehensive description of the Liumen tradition, the volume by Volker Olles discusses the compilation history of the Fayan huizuan canon, the lineage of the Fayan tan priests, as well as the temporal framework of their liturgy. The main part of the volume consists of a detailed study of the ritual canon, identifying its textual sources and describing its pantheon, the influence of the Liumen ideology on its texts, as well as the function and performance of its rituals in contemporary religious practice. Furthermore concluding thoughts about the Fayan tan tradition’s role in present-day Sichuan constitute the epilogue. By showing how members of the Confucian elite were involved in the evolution of modern Daoism, this study sheds light on hitherto obscure or poorly understood aspects of the intellectual and spiritual culture of Southwest China. (Source: publisher's website)

Olles, Volker. “Der Wahre Mensch von der Smaragdgrotte. Teil I einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 163.2 (2013): 485-504.


Olles, Volker. "Der Palast der Grauen Ziege. Teil II einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 166, no.2 (2016): 443-466.

Abstract: This contribution is the second in a series of articles presenting the texts and annotated translations of five stele inscriptions, which were included in the collection Chongkan Daozang jiyao (Reedited Essentials of the Daoist Canon), a Daoist anthology published in 1906 at the monastery Erxian An (Hermitage of the Two Immortals) in Chengdu (Sichuan). The inscriptions in question were, with one exception, composed to commemorate the renovation or rebuilding of temple halls and other structures belonging to either the Erxian An or the adjacent Qingyang Gong (Palace of the Grey Goat), and were included in the relevant sections of the Chongkan Daozang jiyao. All texts share a common derivation from the Liumen (Liu School) tradition. The term Liumen refers to the teachings of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan (1768–1856) as well as a quasi-religious movement, which was based on Liu’s thought and flourished in late imperial and Republican times. Liu Yuan and the following Liumen patriarchs were patrons of the Qingyang Gong and the Erxian An, and the two Daoist sanctuaries, among other temples in Chengdu and its environs, were supported by the Liumen community. The present article contains a full translation of Liu Yuan’s Chongxiu Qingyang Gong beiji (Stele Inscription on the Restoration of the Qingyang Gong) and outlines the historical development of Chengdu’s most important Daoist temple. Special emphasis is placed on the Qingyang Gong’s modern history and its relation to the Liumen community. From the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, the Qingyang Gong received substantial support from the Liu family and Liumen adherents, and it is obvious that the Liumen community was significantly involved in the management of this ancient sanctuary. (Source: journal)


Olles, Volker. "Die Halle der Drei Urspünge. Teil III einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 168, no.2 (2018): 465-480.

Abstract: This contribution is the third in a series of articles presenting the texts and annotated translations of five stele inscriptions, which were included in the collection Chongkan Daozang jiyao 重刊道藏輯要 (Reedited Essentials of the Daoist Canon), a Daoist anthology published in 1906 at the monastery Erxian An 二仙菴 (Hermitage of the Two Immortals) in Chengdu (Sichuan). The inscriptions in question were, with one exception, composed to commemorate the renovation or rebuilding of temple halls and other structures belonging to either the Erxian An or the adjacent Qingyang Gong 青羊宮 (Palace of the Grey Goat), and were included in the relevant sections of the Chongkan Daozang jiyao. All texts share a common derivation from the Liumen 劉門 (Liu School) tradition. The term Liumen refers to the teachings of the Confucian scholar Liu Yuan 劉沅 (1768–1856) as well as a quasi-religious movement, which was based on Liu's thought and flourished in late imperial and Republican times. Liu Yuan and the following Liumen patriarchs were patrons of the Qingyang Gong and the Erxian An, and the two Daoist sanctuaries, among other temples in Chengdu and its environs, were supported by the Liumen community. The present article contains a full translation of Liu Yuan's Chongxiu Qingyang Gong Sanyuan Dian beiji 重 修青羊宮三元殿碑記 (Stele Inscription on Rebuilding the Three Primes Hall at Qingyang Gong). From the early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, the Qingyang Gong received substantial support from the Liu family and Liumen adherents, and it is obvious that the Liumen community was significantly involved in the management of this ancient sanctuary. The Three Primes Hall inside the Qingyang Gong was rebuilt by Liumen adherents in the early 19th century. In addition to the annotated translation of the inscription, the present contribution introduces the deities worshiped in the temple hall and briefly discusses how Liu Yuan perceived the Daoist notion of the Three Primes (sanyuan). (Source: journal)


Olles, Volker. “Die Halle der Reinen und der Pavillon der Acht Trigramme. Teil IV einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 169, no. 2 (2019): 437-453.


Olles, Volker. “Verborgene Tugend: Liu Yuan über Laozi. Teil V einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 171, no. 1 (2020): 173-190.


Ouyang Nan. "Localizing a Bodhisattva in Late Imperial China: Kṣitigarbha, Mt. Jiuhua, and Their Connections in Precious Scrolls." Journal of Chinese Religions 47, no. 2 (2019): 195-219.


Overmyer, Daniel L., "Comments on the Foundations of Chinese Culture in Late Traditional Times." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.313-342. [NOTE: Review of two studies of local culture and religion in Meizhou, Guangdong.]


Overmyer, Daniel L. [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002.

Abstract: This book includes twenty chapters reviewing a total of sixty-four books in Chinese in the two series: "Studies in Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore" and "Traditional Hakka Society," edited respectively by Wang Ch'iu-kuei and John Lagerwey.

It is intended to inform the wider world of scholarship of this new research, which provides the most detailed information ever available about Chinese local culture, drama and religion. Together with the excellent studies of this dimension of culture by scholars in Taiwan, and with a revived interest in this area by other China mainland scholars, this book represents a resumption of the folklore studies movement of the 1920s and 1930s that was interrupted by the war with Japan. These new reports may also be seen as a complement to the work of anthropologists, who until recently have not been able to conduct many field studies in China. As such, this research provides fresh information for an understanding of the culture of the majority of the Chinese people, an understanding based on their lived experiences and values. [From the book's cover.]


Overmyer, Daniel L. "Ritual Leaders in North China Local Communities in the Twentieth Century: A Report on Research in Progress." Minsi quyi 153 (2006): 203-263.


Overmyer, Daniel L. “Local Religion in North China in the Twentieth Century: The Structure and Organization of Community Rituals and Beliefs.” Zongjiao renleixue / Anthropology of Religion 4 (2013): 3-24.

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.]


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.


Pan Junliang. "Rethinking Mediumship in Contemporary Wenzhou." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 229-252.

Abstract: The study of spirit mediums has drawn the attention of international scholars from the 1960s onward, and the topic continues to thrive. Yet little work has been done on spirit mediums in mainland China, which have mainly been glimpsed through studies of mediumship in Taiwan. This article draws on ethnographic research to explore the diverse traditions of spirit mediums in Wenzhou. While spirit mediums are viewed with ambivalence, they play a significant role within broader Chinese folk religions. It is crucial to understand spirit mediums through the appropriate cultural context in order to understand their diverse practices and roles in local society. I discuss why Wenzhou's mediumship should be regarded as a form of shamanism in spite of differences between its discourse and practices and those of Minnan mediumship, as well as those of Siberian or Korean shamanism. (Source: journal)


Peng, Mu. "Shared Practice, Esoteric Knowledge, and Bai: Envisioning the Yin World in Rural China." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2008. 

Abstract: How do rural Chinese people practice popular religion? Without Church and institutional propagation, how do people form visions of the yin world, the Chinese spiritual world that is the opposite of the yang world where we live? Based upon fieldwork from 2005-2006 in Chaling County, Hunan Province, China, my dissertation explores what and how social processes and agents influence and shape formation and reproduction of religious beliefs and practices in individual and rural community. Portraying how daily life practices, rites of passage, and annual festival performances mold people’s mind and body, I highlight various wandering ritual specialists, who, as ordinary villagers as well as itinerants, shape and are shaped by local tradition. Centering upon how beliefs and practices are reproduced on the ground, my dissertation touches upon wider issues in the study of religion in general and Chinese popular religion in particular. Religion, belief, and ancestor worship are all modern Western categories. What are the Chinese sense of religion, worship, and belief and believing—at least in one place and time? I invoke the local term bai to shed light on the sense of doing religion. On the one hand, bai refers to concrete bodily movements that embody respect and awe, such as bowing, kneeling, or holding up offerings on ritual occasions. On the other hand, villagers not only use bai as a generic term to generalize ritual worship, but also to characterize their religious inclinations and practices. In this sense, my dissertation is an ethnography of bai, of how cultural and social practices cultivate people to bai appropriately and to envisage the yin world at the same time. Religious practices, I argue, instill into people beliefs and ways of doing religion, and deeply engrain visions of the yin world in the acting body and mind as a whole. Religion is not simply a matter of belief. Using case studies in rural China, I aim to offer an ethnographic critique that demonstrates the possibility of religion as a way, as a repertoire, for people to negotiate and come to terms with the dread and desires of life and death. (Source: dissertation)


Peng, Mu. “Imitating Masters: Apprenticeship and Embodied Knowledge in Rural China.” In: Devorah Kalekin-Fishman & Kelvin E.Y. Low [eds.], Everyday Life in Asia: Social Perspectives on the Senses. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2010. Pp. 115-136.


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)


Pomeranz, Kenneth, "Power, Gender, and Pluralism in the Cult of the Goddess of Taishan." In: Theodore Huters, R. Bin Wong, and Pauline Yu [eds.], Culture & State in Chinese History: Conventions, Accommodations, and Critiques. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1997. Pp. 182-204.


Pomeranz, Kenneth. "Orthopraxy, Orthodoxy, and the Goddess(es) of Taishan." Modern China 33(2007)1: 22-46.


Poon, Shuk Wah, "Refashioning Popular Religion: Common People and the State in Republican Guangzhou, 1911--1937." Thesis (Ph.D.), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2001, 207p.

Abstract: In its search for a modern China after the 1911 Revolution, the Nationalist regime not only mobilized public resources to strengthen the regime's administrative, financial, and military control over society, but also strove to nurture a new official culture in order to foster citizens' allegiance to the nation. Scholarship on the relationship between state and local society tends to emphasize how modern nation-states' dissemination of political ideology and urban values breaks down local cultural beliefs and leads to the homogenization of people's behavior and thoughts. By unfolding the process of state expansion into the domain of popular religion in Republican Guangzhou from the experiences of the grassroots people, this dissertation argues that official values and symbols did not dominate popular religion. Facing the expansion of state culture that stressed the modern ideas of "evolution," "science," and "anti-superstition," common people resisted by refashioning popular religion into state-approved forms of existence. Thus, the infiltration of national symbols into society did not necessarily mean the replacement of local traditions by national culture. Instead of being integrated into the national culture advocated by the political authority, common people in fact preserved their local traditions underneath the surface of cultural integration. By refashioning their own religion into state-approved forms, the common people at the same time refashioned the meanings and representations of national culture in local society. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Poon Shuk Wah, "Refashioning Festivals in Republican Guangzhou." Modern China 30(2004)2: 199-227.

Abstract: Influenced by the concept of evolution, the Republican regime branded popular religious beliefs and practices as superstition, believing that the eradication of superstition was crucial to the making of modern citizens. Government policies not only affected the development of popular religion but also reshaped the relationship between the state and the common people. Tracing the changes of the Double Seven Festival and the Ghost Festival in Republican Guangzhou, this article aims to show the complexities of the contestations between the state and the common people in actual religious settings, particularly the interaction between official culture and traditional festivals. It argues that although new national symbols successfully found their way into common people's religious lives, helping to give a nationalistic outlook to traditional festivals, underneath the expansion of an official culture, a rich variety of local traditions persisted. By appropriating official symbols, the common people refashioned and preserved their religious traditions. [Source: article]


Poon, Shuk-wah. “Religion, Modernity, and Urban Space: The City God Temple in Republican Guangzhou.” Modern China 34.2 (2008): 247-275.

Abstract: This article examines the impact of the Nationalist regime's modernizing project on the religious landscape and people's public behavior in Republican Guangzhou. In the transformation of the Guangzhou City God Temple, urban space became a place of contest between the government's modernizing project and urban people's religious traditions. In 1931, the municipal government converted the City God Temple into the Native Goods Exhibition Hall, a political space that attempted to foster patriotic consumption among the populace. Yet, beneath the surface, the people of Guangzhou continued to treat the "exhibition hall" as a religious space for expressing their faith in their patron god. While the government was doubtless an important force in modernizing the urban landscape, the city's people managed to inscribe their values onto the urban public space. [Source: journal]


Ptak, Roderich & Cai Jiehua: "The Mazu Inscription of Chiwan (1464) and the Early Ming Voyages." Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 167, no. 1 (2017): 191-214.

Abstract: There are several inscriptions in the famous Chiwan Temple near Shekou in Shenzhen. One item dates from 1464. This text is important for a number of reasons: It is an early document for the Mazu cult in Central Guangdong; it refers to several Ming envoys and thereby indirectly to the voyages of Zheng He; and it also tells us something about China's maritime connections after the end of these expeditions, in the Guangdong context. The present article provides an annotated translation of the text and discusses these and other issues, mainly by relating them to historical sources and religious works. (Source: journal)


Ptak, Roderich. “Fujianese Migrants and the Mazu Cult in Xiangshan, circa 1200–1550: Some Observations and Questions.” Orientierungen, Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens 31 (2019): 9-34.

Abstract: Fujianese migrants carried the Mazu cult to various locations along the China coast. This process already began in Song times. One area which repeatedly absorbed migrants from Fujian was the county of Xiangshan 香山, then a separate island, now forming part of the Guangdong mainland, especially of Zhuhai 珠海. The arrival of Fujianese merchants and settlers in Xiangshan gradually turned that county into an area with a strong seaward orientation. This involved the peninsula of Macau, where the Portuguese started to build houses from the mid 1550s onward. Merchants from Ryukyu and Southeast Asia, many of which were of Fujianese descent, also visited Xiangshan. The article summarizes the links between sea trade, possible economic changes, local demographic trends and the early presence of the Mazu cult on the island. It suggests that this cult became an important element in a kind of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural matrix that pre-dates the rise of Macau.


Qu, Ray X. L. “Popular Religion Temples in Fujian, Southeast China: The Politics of State Intervention, 1990s–2010s.” Modern China 2020 (Online prepublication), https://doi.org/10.1177/0097700419899038

Abstract: This article presents an ethnographic examination of state intervention in popular religion temples in Fujian, southeast China. Specifically, it surveys the state presence in four temples, explores how and why the local state adopted a varied approach to religious organizations in the same religious tradition, and examines the mutually legitimating relations of state and religion. State-religion relations are constantly changing, highly variable, and context-bound. The state-religion interactions in Fujian demonstrate that to a certain extent the uneven revitalization of temple-based popular religion shaped, and was shaped by, the degree of state presence. I argue that the performance-based legitimacy of the nation-state has been fortified through local-state projects devoted to religious tourism, intra- religious competition, and the Taiwan issue, and that the Chinese state has the potential to influence a reemerging traditional form of authority at the local level through varying degrees of state presence in religious organizations.


Rack, Mary, "The Mu Yi Festival: Contesting Interpretations of a Territorial Temple Cult." In: Anders Hansson, Bonnie S. McDougall, and Frances Weightman [eds.], The Chinese at Play: Festivals, Games, and Leisure. London: Kegan Paul, 2002. Pp. 55-68. (Note: On a local cult in Yaxi village, near Jishou, western Hunan province.)


Rainey, Lee, "The Secret Writing of Chinese Women: Religious Practice and Beliefs." Annual Review of Women in World Religions 4(1996):130-163.


Remoiville, Julie. "Le renouveau religieux en Chine contemporaine: Le rôle social des lieux de culte en contexte urbain." Études chinoises 33, no.1 (2014): 133-146.

Abstract: Les nouvelles politiques et réformes mises en place au lendemain de la Révolution Culturelle en Chine ont permis un renouveau religieux dans les milieux urbains, exerçant ses effets sur la structuration même du champ religieux chinois. Après une brève présentation de la situation religieuse de la ville de Hangzhou, capitale de la province du Zhejiang, je propose dans cette note de recherche d’analyser le rôle social que peuvent jouer aujourd’hui les lieux de culte en contexte urbain. En effet, une analyse des différentes activités religieuses que l’on peut observer dans les lieux de culte de la ville, ainsi que des types de fidèle pratiquant ces activités, permet de constater qu’il existe actuellement une coupure sociale profonde entre les acteurs de la vie religieuse autour des petits temples et ceux autour des temples officiels, reconnus par l’État.


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


Rubinstein, Murray, "The Revival of the Mazu Cult and of Taiwanese Pilgrimage to Fujian." Harvard Studies on Taiwan: Papers of the Taiwan Studies Workshop, vol.1, pp.89-125 (Cambridge, MA: Fairbank Center for East Asian Research, Harvard University, 1995).


Ruizendaal, Robin, "The Quanzhou Marionette Theater: A Fieldwork Report (1986-1995)." China Information 10(1995)1: 1-18.


Ruizendaal, Robin, "Ritual Text and Performance in the Marionette Theatre of Southern Fujian and Taiwan." In: Jan A.M. De Meyer & Peter M. Engelfriet [eds.], Linked Faiths: Essays on Chinese Religion and Traditional Culture in Honour of Kristofer Schipper. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000. Pp.336-360.


Schipper, Kristofer, "Liturgical Structures of Ancient Beijing." In: Dai Kangsheng, Zhang Xinying and Michael Pye [eds], Religion and Modernization in China: Proceedings of the Regional Conference of the International Association for the History of Religions held in Beijing, China, April 1992. Cambridge: Roots and Branches, 1995. Pp. 19-33.


Schipper, Kristofer, "Note sur l'histoire du Dongyue miao à Pékin." In Jean-Pierre Diény [ed.], Hommage à Kwong Hing Foon: Études d'histoire culturelle de la Chine. Paris 1995. Pp.255-269.


Schipper, Kristofer, Alain Arrault, Fang Ling & Vincent Goossaert, "Stèle de l'association pour divers objets utilisés dans le monde des ténèbres (Pékin, Dongyue Miao, 1591)." Sanjiao wenxian 1 (1997): 33-45.


Schipper, Kristofer, "Stèle du temple du Pic de l'Est (Dongyue Miao) de la Grande Capitale, par Wu Cheng (1249-1333)." Sanjiao wenxian 2(1998): 85-93.


Schipper, Kristofer & Pierre Marsone, "Inscription pour la reconstruction du temple du Pic de l'Est à Pékin par l'Empereur Zhengtong (1447)." Sanjiao wenxian 2(1998): 95-102.


Schipper, Kristofer, "La grande stèle de l'association de nettoyage (Pékin, Dongyue miao, 1774)." Sanjiao wenxian: Matériaux pour l'étude de la religion chinoise 3(1999): 169-179.


Schluessel, Eric. "Exiled Gods: Territory, History, Empire, and a Hunanese Deity in Xinjiang." Late Imperial China 41, no. 1 (2020): 113–157.


Segers, A. “Le mariage traditionnel dans un petit village Chinois anno 1916.” Courier Verbiest 24 (2011/2012): 16-18.


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)


Shahar, Meir. "Newly-Discovered Manuscripts of a Northern-Chinese Horse King Temple Association." T'oung Pao 105, no. 1-2 (2019): 183–228.

Abstract: Written documents from rural north China are rare. This essay examines the newly-discovered records of a Shanxi village association, which was dedicated to the cult of the Horse King. The manuscripts detail the activities, revenues, and expenditures of the Horse King temple association over a hundred-year period (from 1852 until 1956). The essay examines them from social, cultural, and religious perspectives. The manuscripts reveal the internal workings and communal values of a late imperial village association. They unravel the social and economic structure of the village and the centrality of theater in rural culture. Furthermore, the manuscripts bring to the fore a forgotten cult and its ecological background: the Horse King was among the most widely worshiped deities of late imperial China, his flourishing cult reflecting the significance of his protégés – horses, donkeys, and mules – in the agrarian economy.


Shiga Ichiko, "The Manifestations of Lüzu in Modern Guangdong and Hong Kong: The Rise and Growth of Spirit-Writing Cults." In: Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth [eds.], Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002. Pp.185-209.


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


Stevens, Keith. "The Popular Religion Gods of the Hainanese." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 41 (2001): 43-93.


Stevens, Keith. "Temple Dedicated to Emperor Yao in Yaocheng, Shanxi." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch 53 (2013): 135-151.


Stevens, Keith. "Fox Spirits (Huli)." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch 53 (2013): 153-165.


Sun, Jiang; Wu, Guo, tr. “The Predicament of a Redemptive Religion: the Red Swastika Society under the Rule of Manchukuo.” Journal of Modern Chinese History 7.1 (2013): 108-126.


Sun, Yanfei. "Popular Religion in Zhejiang: Feminization, Bifurcation, and Buddhification." Modern China 40, no.5 (2014): 455-487.

Abstract: Based on eighteen months of fieldwork in a county in Southeast China, this article identifies three tendencies that have appeared in the revitalization of temple-based popular religion in the post-Mao period. These three tendencies—women taking more central roles in popular religion, the bifurcation between the ever increasing popularity and prosperity of a small number of temples and the decline in the majority of small village temples, and the tendency of popular religion temples to acquire Buddhist features—have consequently caused the character and terrain of popular religion to diverge greatly from the pre-1949 past. To explain these changes, the article argues that we have to come to terms with the two faces of popular religion: the communal/mandatory dimension and the individual/voluntary dimension that is largely associated with female devotees. All three tendencies have been taking place when popular religion temples’ bonds with village communities attenuated and their voluntary dimension moved to the forefront. The article attributes the weakening of the communal dimension of popular religion temples to the restructuring of rural society by the Maoist political campaigns and the post-Mao marketization. (Source: journal)


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., "Myth Making on an Ethnic Frontier: The Cult of the Heavenly Kings of West Hunan, 1715-1996." Modern China 26(2000)4: 448-500.


Sutton, Donald S., "Prefect Feng and the Yangzhou Drought of 1490: A Ming Social Crisis and the Rewards of Sincerity." Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore / Minsu quyi 143(2004): 13-48. (Special issue on "Disasters and Religion", edited by Paul R. Katz and Wu Hsiu-ling)


Sutton, Donald S. & Xiaofei Kang. “Making Tourists, Remaking Locals: Religion, Ethnicity, and Patriotism on Display in Northern Sichuan.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.103-126.

Sutton, Donald S. & Xiaofei Kang “Recasting Religion and Ethnicity: Tourism and Socialism in Northern Sichuan, 1992-2005.” In: Thomas David DuBois [ed.], Casting Faiths: Imperialism and the Transformation of Religion in East and Southeast Asia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Pp. 190-214.


Svensson, Marina. “Tourist Itineraries, Spatial Mangement, and Hidden Temples: The Revival of Religious Sites in a Water Town.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.211-233.


Szonyi, Michael A., "Village Rituals in Fuzhou in the Late Imperial and Republican Periods." D.Phil dissertation, University of Oxford, 1995.


Szonyi, Michael, "Local Cult, Lijia, and Lineage: Religious and Social Organization in the Fuzhou Region in the Ming and Qing." Journal of Chinese Religions 28(2000): 93-126.


Szonyi, Michael, Practicing Kinship: Lineage and Descent in Late Imperial China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002. (Note: See especially 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.


Tam, Wai-lun, "Local Temple Festivals and Chinese Culture." Ching Feng 42(1999)1-2: 111-134. [Note: On pre-1945 temple festivals in three communities in Fujian, Jiangxi, and Guangdong]


Tam Wai-lun, "Local Religion in Southern Jiangxi Province: A Review of the Gannan Volumes in Lagerwey's Traditional Hakka Society Series." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.369-382.


Tam Wai Lun, "Religious Festivals in Northern Guangdong." In: John Lagerwey [ed.], Religion and Chinese Society. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press / Paris: École française d'Extrême-Orient, 2004. Pp.817-836.


Tam Wai Lun, "Local Religion in Contemporary China." In: James Miller [ed.], Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp.57-83. [Note: Treats case examples from Fujian and Guangdong provinces.]


Tam, Wai Lun. “Communal Worship and Festivals in Chinese Villages.” In Chinese Religious Life, edited by David A. Palmer, Glenn Shive, and Philip L. Wickeri. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp.30-49.


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.


Tan Chee-Beng. "Chinese Religious Expressions in Post-Mao Yongchun, Fujian." In: Tan Chee-Beng [ed.], Southern Fujian: Reproduction of Traditions in Post-Mao China. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2006. Pp.97-120.


Tiedemann, R.G., "Christianity and Chinese 'Heterodox Sects'. Mass Conversion and Syncretism in Shandong Province in the Early Eighteenth Century." Monumenta Serica 44(1996):339-382.


To, Wing-kai, "The Making of Cantonese Society in Late Imperial China: Religion, Community, and Identity Formation of the Pear River Delta." Ph.D. dissertation, U of California (Davis), 1996.


Tsai, Lily Lee, "Cadres, Temple and Lineage Institutions, and Governance in Rural China." The China Journal 48(2002): 1-27.


Verellen, Franciscus, "Zhang Ling and the Lingjing Salt Well." In: Jacques Gernet & Marc Kalinowski [eds.] (avec la collaboration de Jean-Pierre Diény), En suivant la voie royale: mélanges offerts en hommage à Léon Vandermeersch. Paris: École Française d'Extrême-Orient, 1997. Pp.249-265.

Abstract: Zhang Ling, fondateur du mouvement taoïste des Maîtres célestes au IIe siècle de notre ère, fut également vénéré comme héros civilisateur de la région du Sichuan. Le présent article propose une nouvelle lecture de la légende de Zhang à partir de cette perspective régionale. L'image du héros au sein de la mythologie de Sichuan ancien est illustrée en particulier par les légendes ayant trait à sa création du Lingjing, puits de sel important et source majeure de richesse de la région au Moyen Age. [Source: article.]


Vermander, Benoît, Les mandariniers de la rivière Huai: le réveil religieux de la Chine. Paris: Desclée de Brouwer, 2002.


Vermander, Benoit;Liz Hingley, and Liang Zhang. Shanghai Sacred: The Religious Landscape of a Global City. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018. 


Wang Chien-chuan. “Morality Book Publishing and Popular Religion in Modern China: A Discussion Centered on Morality Book Publishers in Shanghai.” Translated by Gregory Adam Scott. In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 233-264. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Wang, Danyu. "Ritualistic Coresidence and the Weakening of Filial Practice in Rural China." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.16-33.


Wang, Mingming, "Place, Administration, and Territorial Cults in Late Imperial China. A Case Study from South Fujian." Late Imperial China 16(1995)1:33-78.


Wang Mingming, "The Fa Zhu Gong Festival: The Birth of a God or the Reproduction of Locality in a Chinese Village." In: Anders Hansson, Bonnie S. McDougall, and Frances Weightman [eds.], The Chinese at Play: Festivals, Games, and Leisure. London: Kegan Paul, 2002. Pp. 12-33. (Note: On a temple cult in Meifa village, Anxi county, Fujian.)


Wang, Qian, and Qiong Yang. “Ritual, Legend, and Metaphor: Narratives of the Willow in Yuan Zaju.” Religions 13 (2022).


Wang, Shu-Li. “Who Owns ‘the Culture of the Yellow Emperor’?” In Heritage and Religion in East Asia, edited by Shu-Li Wang, Michael Rowlands, and Yujie Zhu, 32–52. London: Routledge, 2021.


Wang, Xiaoxuan. “Saving Deities for the Community: Religion and the Transformation of Associational Life in Southern Zhejiang, 1949-2014.” PhD thesis, Harvard University, 2015.


Wang Xing. "Rethinking the 'Magic State' in China: Political Imagination and Magical Practice in Rural Beijing." Asian Ethnology 77, no. 1-2 (2018): 331-351.

Abstract: This paper discusses the local imagination of the Chinese state in rural Beijing using ethnographic evidence. In particular, it examines the process by which the state is internalized in people's lives through local magical practices and collective memories of traditional rituals, geomancy, and spirit possessions. I argue that the magical aspect of the Chinese state in people's imagination denies an understanding of a magic state as the alternative for a violent and hegemonic reality for the state. In this sense, the Chinese popular perception of the state challenges the established concept of the state as the consequence of an elitist discussion and definition, and at the same time also challenges the national discourse. Furthermore, magical practices and beliefs in rural Beijing in relation to the local comprehension of the Chinese state show that in many cases, the state is considered as powerless.


Wang-Riese, Xiaobing. “Globalization vs. Localization: Remaking the Cult of Confucius in Contemporary Quzhou.” In Globalization and the Making of Religious Modernity in China: Transnational Religions, Local Agents, and the Study of Religion, 1800-Present, edited by Thomas Jansen, Thoralf Klein, and Christian Meyer, 182-207. Leiden: Brill, 2014.


Wang Yaofeng, Yue Yongyi. "Belief or Leisure: The Evolution of Miaofeng Mountain Temple Festival in the Last Century." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 11, no.1 (2016): 27-47.

Abstract: The Miaofeng Mountain temple festival is based on Bixia Yuanjun, known as Laoniangniang, belief in Beijing-Tianjin area. The paper discusses its historical changes and transformation through methods of text analysis and fieldwork. The historical changes of Miaofeng Mountain temple festival are organized as follow: 1) its origin, 2) the space-time distribution, 3) the ritualized behavior and interactive mode of incense organizations (Xianghui) and unorganized discrete pilgrims when offering incense and sacrifices, and 4) the impact brought by the participation of special forces represented by the Bannermen and the royal family of Qing dynasty. The driving force behind the contemporary transformation of Miaofeng Mountain temple festival is mainly tourism economy, leisure culture and the decline of the sanctity of the goddess beliefs. Changes were found in temples, managers, the time of the temple festival, the roads to the mountain, the composition and mind set of the Xianghui, etc. (Source: journal)


Werblowsky, R.J. Zwi, "Catalogue of the Pantheon of Fujian Popular Religion." Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 12/13(2001-2002): 95-192.


Whyte, Martin King. "Filial Obligations in Chinese Families: Paradoxes of Modernization." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.106-127.


Wu, Ka-ming. Reinventing Chinese Tradition: The Cultural Politics of Late Socialism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2015.

Abstract: The final destination of the Long March and center of the Chinese Communist Party's red bases, Yan'an acquired mythical status during the Maoist era. Though the city's significance as an emblem of revolutionary heroism has faded, today's Chinese still glorify Yan'an as a sanctuary for ancient cultural traditions. Ka-ming Wu's ethnographic account of contemporary Yan'an documents how people have reworked the revival of three rural practices--paper-cutting, folk storytelling, and spirit cults--within (and beyond) the socialist legacy. Moving beyond dominant views of Yan'an folk culture as a tool of revolution or object of market reform, Wu reveals how cultural traditions become battlegrounds where conflicts among the state, market forces, and intellectuals in search of an authentic China play out. At the same time, she shows these emerging new dynamics in the light of the ways rural residents make sense of rapid social change. (Source: publisher's website)


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, Mayfair Mei-hui, "Putting Global Capitalism in Its Place: Economic Hybridity, Bataille, and Ritual Expenditure." Current Anthropology 41(2000)4: 477-509. (Note: On ritual economy of modern Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province.)


Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui, "Spatial Struggles: Postcolonial Complex, State Disenchantment, and Popular Reappropriation of Space in Rural Southeast China." Journal of Asian Studies 63(2004)3: 719-755.


Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui, "Goddess Across the Taiwan Strait: Matrifocal Ritual Space, Nation-state, and Satellite Television Footprints." Public Culture 16(2004)2: 209-238.


Yang, Mayfair Mei-hui. “Goddess across the Taiwan Strait: Matrifocal Ritual Space, Nation-State, and Satellite Television Footprints.” In: Mayfair Mei-hui Yang [ed.], Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Moidernity and State Formation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Pp. 323-347.


Yang, Mayfair. Re-enchanting Modernity: Ritual Economy and Society in Wenzhou, China. Durham: Duke University Press, 2020.

Abstract: In Re-enchanting Modernity Mayfair Yang examines the resurgence of religious and ritual life after decades of enforced secularization in the coastal area of Wenzhou, China. Drawing on twenty-five years of ethnographic fieldwork, Yang shows how the local practices of popular religion, Daoism, and Buddhism are based in community-oriented grassroots organizations that create spaces for relative local autonomy and self-governance. Central to Wenzhou's religious civil society is what Yang calls a "ritual economy," in which an ethos of generosity is expressed through donations to temples, clerics, ritual events, and charities in exchange for spiritual gain. With these investments in transcendent realms, Yang adopts Georges Bataille's notion of "ritual expenditures" to challenge the idea that rural Wenzhou's economic development can be described in terms of Max Weber's notion of a "Protestant Ethic". Instead, Yang suggests that Wenzhou's ritual economy forges an alternate path to capitalist modernity.


Yau Chi-on. “The Xiantiandao and Publishing in the Guangzhou-Hong Kong Area from the Late Qing to the 1930s: The Case of the Morality Book Publisher Wenzaizi.” Translated by Philip Clart. In Religious Publishing and Print Culture in Modern China, 1800-2012, edited by Philip Clart and Gregory Adam Scott, 187-231. Boston: Walter De Gruyter, 2015.


Ye Xiaoqing, The Dianshizhai Pictorial: Shanghai Urban Life, 1884-1898. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, The University of Michigan, 2003. (Note: See Part Four, "Religious Practices", pp. 188-224.)


You, Ziying. Folk Literati, Contested Tradition, and Heritage in Contemporary China: Incense Is Kept Burning. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2020.

Abstract: In this important ethnography Ziying You explores the role of the "folk literati" in negotiating, defining, and maintaining local cultural heritage. Expanding on the idea of the elite literati—a widely studied pre-modern Chinese social group, influential in cultural production—the folk literati are defined as those who are skilled in classical Chinese, knowledgeable about local traditions, and capable of representing them in writing. The folk literati work to maintain cultural continuity, a concept that is expressed locally through the vernacular phrase: "incense is kept burning." You's research focuses on a few small villages in Hongtong County, Shanxi Province in contemporary China. Through a careful synthesis of oral interviews, participant observation, and textual analysis, You presents the important role the folk literati play in reproducing local traditions and continuing stigmatized beliefs in a community context. She demonstrates how eight folk literati have reconstructed, shifted, and negotiated local worship traditions around the ancient sage-Kings Yao and Shun as well as Ehuang and Nüying, Yao's two daughters and Shun's two wives. You highlights how these individuals' conflictive relationships have shaped and reflected different local beliefs, myths, legends, and history in the course of tradition preservation. She concludes her study by placing these local traditions in the broader context of Chinese cultural policy and UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage program, documenting how national and international discourses impact actual traditions, and the conversations about them, on the ground.


You, Ziying. "Conflicts over Local Beliefs: 'Feudal Superstitions' as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Contemporary China." Asian Ethnology 79, no. 1 (2020): 137–159.

Abstract: This article addresses conflicts over local beliefs in both discourse and practice in contemporary China, especially in the process of protecting local beliefs as China's national intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in the twenty-first century. These local beliefs were stigmatized as "feudal superstitions" in revolutionary China and were revived in public since the reform era started in 1978. With influence from UNESCO, the project to protect ICH has spread all over China since 2004, and many local beliefs are promoted as China's national ICH. Drawing on my ethnographic case study of "receiving aunties (Ehuang and Nüying)" in Hongtong County, Shanxi Province, I argue that the categories of "superstition" and ICH are both disempowering and empowering, and the new naming should allow for more space for local communities to achieve social equity and justice.


Yu, Zhejun. "Volksreligion im Spiegel der Zivilgesellschaftstheorie: Gottbegrüßungsprozession in Shanghai während der Republikzeit." Doctoral dissertation, University of Leipzig, Germany, 2010. Download here.

Abstract: Gottbegrüßungsprozession (????, oder Gottempfangsprozession) ist die eines der wichtigsten volksreligiösen Rituale, die zu den bedeutendsten Zeremonien des Religionslebens des chinesischen Volks zählen dürften. Der Ausgangspunkt meiner Forschung ist die 1995 veröffentlichte Studie Demon Hordes and Burning Boats: The Cult of Marshall Wen in Late Imperial Chekiang von Paul Katz, in der „Zivilgesellschaft und Volksreligion“ zum ersten Mal in der Forschung über die chinesische Kultur thematisiert. Um Katz’ Schwächen in der Studie zum Marschall Wen - sowohl an Quellen als auch in Theorie - auszugleichen, folgen ich in meiner Arbeit vertiefend zwei Grundlinien und damit sie grob in zwei Teile teilen, nämlich einen theoretischen und einen empirischen Teil. Im theoretischen Teil müssen zwei Fragen beantwortet: Was ist Zivilgesellschaft? Wie könnte die Zivilgesellschaftstheorie für diese religionswissenschaftliche Forschung nützlich sein? Um eine präzise Arbeitsdefinition geben und eine operationalisierbare Fragestellung aufstellen zu können, verfolge ich zunächst im ersten Teil die Begriffsgeschichte von „Zivilgesellschaft“ und „Öffentlichkeit“ im abendländischen Kontext zurück. Ein dreieckiges Problemfeld zwischen Staat, Privatsphäre und Ökonomie, zwei Ansätze der Zivilgesellschaftstheorie (der analytisch-deskriptive und der Idealistisch-präskriptive) werden zusammengefasst. Sieben Merkmale (öffentliche Assoziationen, Autonomie, Pluralität, Legalität, zivilisiertes Verhalten und utopisches Potenzial) und sechs Modelle (Das Trennungs-, Oppositions-, Öffentlichkeits-, Unterstützungs-, Partnerschaftsmodell und die globale Zivilgesellschaft) werden in der Forschung angeführt. Anschließend setze ich mich mit der Zivilgesellschaftsdiskussion im chinesischen Kontext auseinander. Aus der „Modern China Debate“ in den U. S. A. und der daran angeschlossenen chinesischen Diskussion wird eine Bilanz gezogen. Die „teleologische Annahme“ und der „China-Hat(te)-Auch-Komplex“ werden herausgefunden, die in einer historischen Forschung nicht legitimierbar sind. Danach wird die bisherige Erörterung über die Beziehung zwischen Zivilgesellschaft und Religion kurz zusammengefasst. Zum Ende des theoretischen Teils beschließe ich auf den idealistisch-präskriptiven Ansatzes zu verzichten. Die Zivilgesellschaftstheorie als Idealtypus im Weberschen Sinn benutzt, um die Kulturbedeutung der volksreligiösen Feste in China zu erkennen. Besonders die Organisation und die politische Auseinandersetzung der Prozession sollen in Betrachtung der Zivilgesellschaftstheorie gezogen werden, um die chinesische Gesellschaft besser zu verstehen. Im empirischen Teil der Arbeit werden Regionalbeschreibungen, Archivakten und Zeitungsartikel als Hauptquelle benutzt. Weil bisher keine systematische Forschung im Bereich der Religionswissenschaft zur Gottbegrüßungsprozession vorliegt, wird zuerst eine ausführliche Einführung in die Prozessionen in China gegeben, um ein zuverlässiges Bild von den Prozessionen innerhalb der chinesischen Religionslandschaft entwerfen zu können. Die Etymologie, die Arbeitsdefinition und die kosmologische Ordnung hinter der Prozession werden anschließend vorgestellt. Ich schlage vor, die Prozession als das Kennzeichen der kommunalen Religion Chinas anzusehen. Durch einige Sammelbände zur Folklore in China wird dann deutlich belegt, dass zahlreiche Gottbegrüßungsprozessionen ab Anfang der Qing-Zeit bis in die Republikzeit hinein kontinuierlich in fast allen Provinzen Chinas stattfanden. Danach werden die gesetzlichen Verbote in der Kaiserzeit dargestellt. Die Forschungsgeschichte zur Prozession und deren Problematik werden daraufhin zusammengefasst. Nachdem die Grundform bzw. die alternativen Formen, der Aufbau des Umzugs, Gottheiten, Dauer und Häufigkeit der Prozessionen in einem weiter begrenzten geographischen Raum, nämlich dem heutigen Shanghai, und zeitlich Raum, nämlich der Republikzeit (1912-49), dargestellt werden, werden die Haltung der Regierung und die mediale Präsentation solcher Prozessionen während der Republikzeit rekonstruiert, um die potenzielle Spannung zwischen dem Staat und den religiösen Gemeinschaften als eine der wichtigsten kollektiven Einstellungen zur Prozession zu zeigen. Die Zwischenfälle in der Nachbarregion werden wiedergegeben. Sodann werden drei detailreiche historische Fallbeispiele stichprobenartig angeführt und analysiert, um die weitere Behandlung der Fragestellung empirisch zu untermauern. Das erste historische Fallbeispiel ist der Stadtgott-Inspektionsrundgang. In diesem Fallbeispiel werden besonders die Finanzierung, die Aktivisten und Organisationen berücksichtigt, um ein Licht auf die Durchführung und Verwaltung der Prozessionen zu werfen. Darüber hinaus werden die Streite, Auseinandersetzungen und Konflikte zwischen den lokalen Behörden und dem Aufsichtsrat des Stadtgotttempels beleuchtet, um deren Verläufe, Hintergründe und Ursachen zu erforschen. Das zweite Fallbeispiel handelt sich um die Prozessionen und die Konflikte in Pudong von 1919 bis 1935. Die Verbote, die Gegenmaßnahmen der Regierung und die Verstöße gegen das Prozessionsverbot werden ausführlich geschildert, um die tatsächliche Ursachen der Konflikte zu finden. Zum Schluss des Kapitels wird die Polizei als Beispiel der damaligen Staatsmacht analysiert. Das dritte Fallbeispiel ist die Prozession im Dorf Jiangwan. Im Jahr 1935 wurde die dortige Prozession von der lokalen Feuerwehr schikaniert. Die Nachwirkung und die direkte Einmischung der Parteidirektion werden auch detailreich dargelegt. In der Schlussfolgerung der Arbeit werden die Beteiligten der Prozession in drei Gruppen, nämlich den Schaulustigen, den Aktivisten, den Unterstützer und die Förderer, eingeteilt. Ihre unterschiedlichen Funktionen und Motivationen getrennt zusammengefasst. Die andere Partei, die Kontrolleure der Prozession, wird anschließend behandelt. Alle historischen Beschreibungen werden im Spiegel der Zivilgesellschaftstheorie, v. a. der sieben Merkmale und sechs Modelle, evaluiert. Außerdem bringe ich zwei Einwände gegen die Dichotomie von C. K. Yang vor.


Yuan Bingling, "Les inscriptions du temple du Pic de l'Est à Pékin/Beijing Dongyue miao beiwen kaoshu." Sanjiao wenxian: Matériaux pour l'étude de la religion chinoise 3(1999): 137-158. (Note: article in Chinese; French abstract provided on pp.6-7.)


Yuan, I, "Center and Periphery--Cultural Identity and Localism of the Southern Chinese Peasantry." Issues and Studies 32(1996)6: 1-36.


Yue Yongyi. "Holding Temple Festivals at Home of Doing-gooders: Temple Festivals and Rural Religion in Contemporary China." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 9, no. 1 (2014): 48-95.

Abstract: Holding temple festivals at home is a local temple festival system and practicing religious in Pear Area of North China, referring to the regular “temple festivals” people hold at home centering on shénshen (Gods). Through the ethnographic study on the family space shared by people and shénshen, the controlled possession, unbalances in the daily life of local people, shrine of spirits and the practice of efficacious reading-incense, etc., this article responds to both classic modes of Chinese rural religious study and contemporary western discourse of Chinese temple festivals’ study. The article tries to illuminate the following ideas: firstly, as a life style and a part of daily life, both Chinese rural religion and temple festivals represent a cultural system that not only embodies sacredness and carnival but is more of an extension to daily life as well; secondly, the flexibility of temple festivals. Family temple festivals are the bearing soil of temple festivals, and the relationship of encompassing the contrary is the essence among family temple festivals, village temple festivals and multi-village temple festivals; Thirdly, it is the necessity and the significance of its methodology to come back to the domestic space in the course of daily life as investigating rural religion and temple festival. (Source: journal)


Yue Yongyi. "The Alienation of Spiritual Existence: Temple Festivals and Temple Fairs in Old Beijing." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 11, no.1 (2016): 1-26.

Abstract: The wall-confined Old Beijing was a rural city in an agricultural civilization. Its ruralism is reflected by the sacredness of revering earth and also by isomorphic space aesthetics of houses, streets and the city. All kinds of temples, such as Gong, Guan, Miao, An, Ci, Tan, and Si, were distributed in Old Beijing according to their own ranks and attributes. In addition, the Three Mountains and Five Summits (Sanshan Wuding) which enshrined the Lady of Taishan (Bixia Yuanjun) were regarded to be surrounding and protecting the capital city. There were even numerous small temples in ordinary streets and lanes, such as the Nine Dragons and Two Tigers (Jiulong Erhu) in Xizhimennei Street. The once prevalent cult of Four Sacred Animals (Sidamen) has enabled the space of many households in Old Beijing to bear more or less the properties of a temple. Accordingly, temple festivals in Old Beijing were spiritual existence connected with the leisure and graceful life of the Bannermen and intensively revealed their daily life and individual values. The Western civilization has been set as the model in China by most of native elites in different periods since 1840. There has inevitably been a process of secularizing and stigmatizing the worship-centred temple festivals in Old Beijing. Temple festivals have generally deteriorated to displays of manpower and lust for material goods. With the intangible cultural heritage movement since the 21st century, temple fairs have returned to temple festivals to a limited extend. (Source: journal)


Zhang, Hong. "'Living Alone' and the Rural Elderly: Strategy and Agency in Post-Mao Rural China." In: Charlotte Ikels [ed.], Filial Piety: Practice and Discourse in Contemporary East Asia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004. Pp.63-87.


Zhang Qingren. "The Logic of Chinese Local Religion - Analysis of the Statement of 'Serving Lao Niangniang' Claimed by the Incense Societies Pilgrimaging to Miaofeng Mount." Cambridge Journal of China Studies 9, no. 1 (2014): 96-108.

Abstract: The pilgrims heading for Miaofeng Mount address the Bixia Yuanjun as “Lao Niangniang”, and describing their religious practices as serving Lao Niangniang. These actions reflect the logic of the Chinese local religious practice. The motivation of religious practice is to obtain the goddess’ blessing. In the believers’ opinion, although all the believers pray in front of the goddess and pilgrimage to Miaofeng Mount, the religious practices are centred around the goddess and the blessings differentiate depending on the relationship between the goddess and the believers. The believers try to establish an intimate relationship with Bixia Yuanjun by addressing Bixia Yuanjun as Lao Niangniang and describing their religious practices as serving Lao Niangniang. Therefore they are able to use the moral obligation between relatives to ensure the goddess’ rewards. The logic of the local religious practices is then shaped by the Pattern of Difference Sequence of Chinese society. (Source: journal)


Zhang, Xinli. "Tales of the Water God in the Water God Temple of Guangsheng Monastery: Folk Religion and Social Justice in the Premodern Chinese Political Tradition." PhD diss., University of Hawai'i at Manoa, 2020.


Zhang Yanchao. "The Local Promotion of Mazu: The Intersection of Lineage, Textual Representation, Confucian Values, and Temples in Late Imperial China." Religions 2020, 11(3), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11030123.

Abstract: This article explores the role that local elites played in the development of the Mazu cult, a local goddess cult in Putian district in late imperial China. I argue that local elites were central in the promotion and transmission of the cult. Through compiling and writing key Confucian texts featuring Mazu, they reshaped, manipulated, and represented certain aspects of her cult in accordance with their interests. As a result of the activities of local elites, Mazu became associated with the Lin lineage, an influential local lineage. In this manner, Mazu came to be seen as an expression of the lineage's authority, as well as an imperial protector embodying local loyalty to the state and a daughter who was the paradigm filial piety. In addition to the literary production, local elites, in particular the descendants from the Lin lineage, established an ancestral hall of Lin in the port of Xianliang dedicated to Mazu, further sanctioning divinely the local elites' authority and privilege in the community. I conclude that the locally promoted version of goddess worship operated at the intersection of state interests, Confucian ideology, the agency of local elites, and the dynamics of popular religiosity.


Zhao, Xiaohuan. “Form Follows Function in Community Rituals in North China: Temples and Temple Festivals in Jiacun Village.” Religions 12 (2021).


Zhao, Xudong and Duran Bell. “Miaohui, the Temples Meeting Festival in North China.” China Information 21.3 (2007): 457-479.

Abstract: We examine the multiple purposes and modalities that converge during a circuit of festivals, miaohui, which temples organize in recognition of local gods and which are attended reciprocally by temple representatives from the surrounding area in North China. The festivals involve intense expressions of devotion to one or more deities, while offering an opportunity for representatives of other villages to seek recognition through rather boisterous drumming and prolonged choreographed dancing. We note also the emergence of Mao as a great god whose legacy as Chairman of the CCP is projected in order to legitimate current Party leadership and their policy of reform while concurrently acting as a powerful denial of those same policies from the perspective of villagers. [Source: journal]


Zhao, Yuzhong. “Remaking Social boundaries: the Construction of Benzhu Worship in Southwest China.” Asian Ethnicity 17, no.3 (2016): 480-495.

Abstract: In the historical transformation of the state, benzhu worship in the Erhai lake basin, northwest Yunnan, an esoteric Buddhist practice developed in the period of Nanzhao Kingdom, has been continually reconstructed by the state and local agencies. As a result, social boundaries between the Han Chinese and the ethnic ‘others’ living in this multi-ethnic southwestern frontier of China have been constantly remade. This paper, through a review of the state’s interpretations and local agencies’ negotiations and contentions of the meaning and practice of the worship, is mainly intended to revisit the social and cultural consequences incurred by the transformation of the state, and highlight, among other things, how local agencies, average villagers in particular, have cautiously yet ingeniously exercised their agency since the 1950s by appropriating or recasting national and international discourses on ethnicity and diversity to serve their own ends. (Source: journal)


Zhu Qiuhua, "Achievements in the Study of the Tongzi Ritual Drama in Jiangsu." In: Daniel L. Overmyer [ed.] (with the assistance of Shin-yi Chao), Ethnography in China Today: A Critical Assessment of Methods and Results. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing Co., 2002. Pp.231-241.


Ziegler, Delphine, "Entre ciel et terre: Le culte des 'bateaux-cercueils' du Mont Wuyi." Cahiers d'Extrème-Asie 9(1996/97): 201-231.


Ziegler, Delphine, "The Cult of the Wuyi Mountains and Its Cultivation of the Past: A Topo-Cultural Perspective." Cahiers d'Extrême-Asie 10 (1998): 255-286.