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.

Barrett, Timothy Hugh. "Human Sacrifice and Self-Sacrifice in China: a Century of Revelations." In: The Strange World of Human Sacrifice, edited by Jan N. Bremmer. Leuven: Peeters, 2007. Pp. 237-257.


Brown, Melissa J. "Ethnic Identity, Cultural Variation, and Processes of Change: Rethinking the Insights of Standardization and Orthopraxy." Modern China 33(2007)1: 91-124.


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]


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]


Chen, Fan Pen. “Ritual Roots of the Theatrical Prohibitions of Late-Imperial China.” Asia Major 20.1 (2007): 25-44.


Chen, Fan Pen Li. Chinese Shadow Theatre: History, Popular Religion, and Women Warriors. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007.

Abstract: In her study of Chinese shadow theatre Fan Pen Li Chen documents and corrects misconceptions about this once-popular art form. Drawing on extensive research and fieldwork, she argues that these plays served a mainly religious function during the Qing dynasty and that the appeal of women warrior characters reflected the lower classes' high tolerance for the unorthodox and subversive.

Chinese Shadow Theatre includes several rare transcriptions of oral performances, including a didactic play on the Eighteen Levels of Hell, and Investiture of the Gods, a sacred saga, and translations of three rare, hand-copied shadow plays featuring religious themes and women warrior characters.

Chen examines the relationship between historical and fictional women warriors and those in military romances and shadow plays to demonstrate the significance of both printed works and oral transmission in the diffusion of popular culture. She also shows that traditional folk theatre is a subject for serious academic study by linking it to recent scholarship on drama, popular religion, and popular culture. [Source: publisher's website.]


Chia Meng Tat, Jack. "Ah Ma and her Beliefs: The Migrant Experience and Religious Practices of a Chinese Immigrant Woman in Twentieth Century Singapore." Marburg Journal of Religion 12 (May 2007)1:


Chipman, Elana. “Our Beigang: Culture Work, Ritual, and Community in a Taiwanese Town.” Ph.D. dissertation, Cornell University, 2007.

Abstract: This dissertation examines the production of locality in Beigang, a rural Taiwanese town, which is a famous popular-religious transnational pilgrimage center for the goddess Mazu. It is based on 14 months of fieldwork research in Taiwan and five months at two related pilgrimage centers in Fujian, China. I focus on two interrelated and mutually constitutive mediating processes through which locality is produced: First, the rituals of Beigang's local territorial cult and of visiting pilgrims; and second, "culture work," a relatively recent form of explicit cultural production through amateur historical and folklore research and related cultural activities. Ritual and culture work can be analyzed as forms of media which mediate between people and place, and between local and trans-local processes and power. I trace the production of identities anchored in Mazu's temple by examining communal and individual practices and the ways in which their discourses of history, tradition, and piety are framed and deployed. Following an introduction, I describe how ritual mediates local identity in Beigang. The next two chapters map historical transformations in Beigang using a regional systems approach. I examine pilgrimage networks and other hierarchical relationships across Taiwan in order to trace Beigang's transformation into an island-wide pilgrimage center. The following chapters examine the practices and discourses of "culture workers." They are co-opted by the state in the construction of an explicitly cultural national narrative, yet also challenge and critique particular local formations of power through their work. Local agents also deploy cultural and ritual practices and discourses through which they gain prestige and other forms of value. Finally, I discuss inter-communal rivalries as expressed through competition between temples and disputes over archaeological artifacts, to reveal local cultural identity practices as forms of boundary making. Religion and culture work have played an important role in Taiwan's largely successful negotiations with pressures of colonialism, modernity and globalization by providing a coherent framework within which the tensions inherent in change are both highlighted and contained. These cultural practices mediate and inscribe local identity. Yet, because they are symbolic systems, they are forever uncanny, contingent, and open to competing interpretations.


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]


Clart, Philip. "Generals, Pigs, and Immortals: Views and Uses of History in Chinese Morality Books." In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures, edited by Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew Strathern. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. Pp.209-238.


Clart, Philip. "The Concept of 'Popular Religion' in the Study of Chinese Religions: Retrospect and Prospects." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 166-203.


De Pee, Christian. The Writing of Weddings in Middle-Period China: Text and Ritual Practice in the Eighth through Fourteenth Centuries. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007.

Abstract: Approaching writing as a form of cultural practice and understanding text as an historical object, this book not only recovers elements of the ritual practice of Middle-Period weddings, but also reassesses the relationship between texts and the Middle-Period past. Its fourfold narrative of the writing of weddings and its spirited engagement with the texts--ritual manuals, engagement letters, nuptial songs, calendars and almanacs, and legal texts--offer a form and style for a cultural history that accommodates the particularities of the sources of the Chinese imperial past. [Source: publisher's website]


Durand-Dastès, Vincent. “Poisons exotiques et vices domestiques: de vertueux héros aux prises avec les gu dans un roman du XVIIe siècle.” Études chinoises 26(2007): 83-107.


Feuchtwang, Stephan. "On Religious Ritual as Deference and Communicative Excess." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13.1 (2007): 57-72.

Abstract: I shall argue that most religious ritual is a performance that not only invokes but also performs communication. The ethnographic material from which I derive this argument is from China, in particular the temple rituals of local festivals. My argument is that a deep obeisance of welcome and departure that is both like and not like the normal ritual of greeting marks a religious from a non-religious ritual occasion and place. It is a ritual doubling that makes the honoured guest also a host. Religious ritual is a medium, and as a medium it is double in another sense. It is deference and deferral, a repeated transmission of obeisance to authority that has the authority of repetition. As well as doubling, religious ritual is excessively communicative. The medium is a performance not only of invitation and departure but also of communicative response, and it repeats this communication as a test of communicative response over and over again. Religious ritual performs both the opening and closing of communication, both the seeking and the responsive reciprocation of gift offerings with bounteousness. It is shadowed by the possibility of no response, of giving offence, of being abandoned. This possibility is acknowledged by being prevented, while the possibility that the performers are their own responders is disavowed. [Source: journal]


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]


Goossaert, Vincent. "Les animaux interdits de consommation dans la religion chinoise moderne, 16e-21e siècle." Les Cahiers de l’OCHA 12 (2007): Pp. 103-111.


Haar, Barend ter. "The Teachings of the Dragon Flower as a Continuation of Song-Yuan Lay Buddhism." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 31-83.


Hu, Ping; Mosher, Stacy, tr. "The Falun Gong Phenomenon." In Challenging China: Struggle and Hope in an Era of Change, edited by Sharon Hom & Stacy Mosher. New York; London: New Press, 2007. Pp.226-251.


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.


Katz, Paul R. "Orthopraxy and Heteropraxy beyond the State: Standardizing Ritual in Chinese Society." Modern China 33(2007)1: 72-90.


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.


Lang, Graeme; Chan, Selina Ching. "Divination in Chinese Temples." Chinese Cross Currents 4.3 (2007): 56-77.


Madsen, Richard. Democracy’s Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Development in Taiwan. Berkeley: University of California, Press, 2007.

Abstract: This book explores the remarkable religious renaissance that has reformed, revitalized, and renewed the practices of Buddhism and Daoism in Taiwan. Democracy's Dharma connects these noteworthy developments to Taiwan's transition to democracy and the burgeoning needs of its new middle classes. Richard Madsen offers fresh thinking on Asian religions and shows that the public religious revival was not only encouraged by the early phases of the democratic transition but has helped to make that transition successful and sustainable. Madsen makes his argument through vivid case studies of four groups--Tzu Chi (the Buddhist Compassion Relief Association), Buddha's Light Mountain, Dharma Drum Mountain, and the Enacting Heaven Temple--and his analysis demonstrates that the Taiwan religious renaissance embraces a democratic modernity. [Source: publisher's website.]


Melton, J. Gordon. “The Affirmation of Charismatic Authority: The Case of the True Buddha School.” The Australian Religious Studies Review 20, no. 3 (2007): 286-302.

Abstract: The True Buddha School (TBS) is one of a set of new expressions of Buddhism that have arisen in Taiwan in the decades since World War II. It is a version of Esoteric Buddhism, following a path much closer to Tibetan Buddhism, rather than either the Ch'an or Pure Land Buddhisms that have dominated Chinese Buddhist groups for the past few centuries. It is headed by Lu Sheng-yen (b.1945) who began his religious career as an independent Daoist spiritual counsellor in Taichung, the large city in the centre of this island nation. In this paper I will introduce the True Buddha School and discuss this movement in relation to theories of charismatic leadership. (Source: journal)


Miller, Tracy. The Divine Nature of Power: Chinese Ritual Architecture at the Sacred Site of Jinci. Cambridge, MA: published by the Harvard University Asia Center for the Harvard-Yenching Institute; distributed by Harvard University Press, 2007.

Abstract: Built around three sacred springs, the Jin Shrines complex (Jinci), near Taiyuan in Shanxi province, contains a wealth of ancient art and architecture dating back to the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). The complex's 1,500-year-long textual record allows us to compare physical and written evidence to understand how the built environment was manipulated to communicate ideas about divinity, identity, and status. Jinci's significance varied over time according to both its patrons' needs and changes in the political and physical landscape. The impact of these changes can be read in the physical development of the site.

Using an interdisciplinary approach drawing on the research of archaeologists, anthropologists, and religious, social, and art historians, this book seeks to recover the motivations behind the creation of religious art, including temple buildings, sculpture, and wall paintings. Through an examination of building style and site organization, the author illuminates the multiplicity of meanings projected by buildings within a sacred landscape and the ability of competing patronage groups to modify those meanings with text and context, thereby affecting the identity of the deities housed within them. This study of the art and architecture of Jinci is thus about divine creations and their power to create divinity. [Source: publisher's website.]


Moskowitz, Marc L. "Magic Tricks, Midnight Grave Outings, and Transforming Trees: Performance and Agency in Taiwanese Religion." In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures, edited by Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew Strathern. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. Pp.63-81.


Murray, Julia K. Mirror of Morality: Chinese Narrative Illustration and Confucian Ideology. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007.

Abstract: Mirror of Morality takes an interdisciplinary look at an important form of pictorial art produced during two millennia of Chinese imperial rule. Ideas about individual morality and state ideology were based on the ancient teachings of Confucius with modifications by later interpreters and government institutions. Throughout the imperial period, members of the elite made, sponsored, and inscribed or used illustrations of themes taken from history, literature, and recent events to promote desired conduct among various social groups. This dimension of Chinese art history has never before been broadly covered or investigated in historical context.

The first half of the study examines the nature of narrative illustration in China and traces the evolution of its functions, conventions, and rhetorical strategies from the second century BCE through the eleventh century. Under the stimulus of Buddhism, sophisticated techniques developed for representing stories in visual form. While tracing changes in the social functions and cultural positions of narrative illustration, the second half of the book argues that narrative illustration continued to play a vital role in elite visual culture. [Source: publisher's website.]


Ownby, David. "Qigong, Falun Gong, and the Body Politic in Contemporary China." In China's Transformations: the Stories Beyond the Headlines, edited by Lionel M. Jensen & Timothy B. Weston. Lanham, Md.; Toronto: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Pp. 90-111.


Palmer, David A. Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Abstract: Qigong&emdash;a regimen of body, breath, and mental training exercisesmdash;was one of the most widespread cultural and religious movements of late-twentieth-century urban China. The practice was promoted by senior Communist Party leaders as a uniquely Chinese healing tradition and as a harbinger of a new scientific revolution, yet the movement's mass popularity and the almost religious devotion of its followers led to its ruthless suppression.

In this absorbing and revealing book, David A. Palmer relies on a combination of historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to describe the spread of the qigong craze and its reflection of key trends that have shaped China since 1949, including the search for a national identity and an emphasis on the absolute authority of science. Qigong offered the promise of an all-powerful technology of the body rooted in the mysteries of Chinese culture. However, after 1995 the scientific underpinnings of qigong came under attack, its leaders were denounced as charlatans, and its networks of followers, notably Falungong, were suppressed as "evil cults."

According to Palmer, the success of the movement proves that a hugely important religious dimension not only survived under the CCP but was actively fostered, if not created, by high-ranking party members. Tracing the complex relationships among the masters, officials, scientists, practitioners, and ideologues involved in qigong, Palmer opens a fascinating window on the transformation of Chinese tradition as it evolved along with the Chinese state. As he brilliantly demonstrates, the rise and collapse of the qigong movement is key to understanding the politics and culture of post-Mao society. [Source: publisher's website.]


Paton, Michael. “Fengshui: A Continuation of the ‘Art of Swindlers’?” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 34 (2007) 3: 427-445.


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


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


Roper, Geoffrey. "The History and Design of the Lin Fa Kung Temple, Tai Hang." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 47 (2007): 81-90.


Scott, Janet Lee. For Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors: The Chinese Tradition of Paper Offerings. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2007.

Abstract: Offerings of various kinds - food, incense, paper money, and figures - have been central to Chinese culture for millennia, and as a public, visual display of spiritual belief, they are still evident today in China and in Chinatowns around the world. Using Hong Kong as a case study, Janet Scott looks at paper offerings from every conceivable angle - how they are made, sold, and used. Her comprehensive investigation touches on virtually every aspect of Chinese popular religion as it explores the many forms of these intricate objects, their manufacture, their significance, and their importance in rituals to honor gods, care for ancestors, and contend with ghosts.

Throughout For Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors, paper offerings are presented as a vibrant and living tradition expressing worshippers' respect and gratitude for the gods, as well as love and concern for departed family members. Ranging from fake paper money to paper furniture, servant dolls, cigarettes, and toiletries - all multihued and artfully constructed - paper offerings are intended to provide for the needs of those in the spirit world.

Readers are introduced to the variety of paper offerings and their uses in worship, in assisting worshippers with personal difficulties, and in rituals directed to gods, ghosts, and ancestors. We learn of the manufacture and sale of paper goods, life in paper shops, the training of those who make paper offerings, and the symbolic and artistic dimensions of the objects. Finally, the book considers the survival of this traditional craft, the importance of flexibility and innovation, and the role of compassion and filial piety in the use of paper offerings. [Source: publisher's website.]


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


Shinno, Reiko. “Medical Schools and the Temples of the Three Progenitors in Yuan China: A Case of Cross-Cultural Interactions.” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 67.1(2007): 89-133.


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


Stevens, Keith. "Yang Laoda, the Spirit of the Yangzi, and Related Gods of the Yangzi and its Tributaries." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 47 (2007): 165-188.


Sutton, Donald S. "Ritual, Cultural Standardization, and Orthopraxy in China: Reconsidering James L. Watson's Ideas." Modern China 33(2007)1: 3-21. (Note: Introduction to a special issue of this journal.)


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


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


Szonyi, Michael. "The Virgin and the Chinese State: The Cult of Wang Yulan and the Politics of Local Identity on Jinmen (Quemoy)." In Asian Ritual Systems: Syncretisms and Ruptures, edited by Pamela J. Stewart & Andrew Strathern. Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 2007. Pp.183-208.


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

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


Tertitski, Konstantin. "Zailijiao in Russia: A Chinese Syncretic Religion in Diaspora." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 414-443.


Watson, James L. "Orthopraxy Revisited." Modern China 33(2007)1: 154-158. (Note: Response to articles in special issue of this journal.)


Yang Erzeng; Philip Clart (translator). The Story of Han Xiangzi: The Alchemical Adventures of a Daoist Immortal. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2007.

Abstract: In this seventeenth-century Chinese novel, Han Xiangzi, best known as one of the Eight Immortals, seeks and achieves immortality and then devotes himself to converting his materialistic, politically ambitious Confucian uncle-Han Yu, a real historical figure-to Daoism. Written in lively vernacular prose interspersed with poems and songs, the novel takes its readers across China, to the heavens, and into the underworld. Readers listen to debates among Confucians, Daoists, and Buddhists and witness trials of faith and the performance of magical feats. In the mode of the famous religious novel Journey to the West (also known in English as Monkey), The Story of Han Xiangzi uses colorful characters, twists of plot, witty dialogue, and action suitable for a superhero comic book to convey its religious message-that worldly life is ephemeral and that true contentment can be found only through Daoist cultivation.

This is the first translation into any Western language of Han Xiangzi quanzhuan (literally, The Complete Story of Han Xiangzi). On one level, the novel is a delightful adventure; on another, it is serious theology. Although The Story of Han Xiangzi's irreverent attitude toward the Confucian establishment prevented its acceptance by literary critics in imperial China, it has remained popular among Chinese readers for four centuries. [Source: Publisher's website]


Yao, Xinzhong. “Religious Belief and Practice in Urban China 1995-2005.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 22.2 (2007): 169-185.

Abstract: Drawing on relevant data from surveys conducted in 1995 and 2005, this article explores the perceptible changes in religious beliefs and practices among the Han Chinese in urban areas during this ten-year period. Through analysing the survey data, the article attempts to examine these changes - the increasing awareness of religious others and the more revealing interaction between change and continuity - in the context of greater changes of society, economy, and politics. It concludes that, while commercialism and rationalism continue to dominate the ideological sky of urban China, spiritual beliefs and practices in various forms have also gained a strong footing in contemporary society and demonstrate a complex religiosity. [Source: journal]


Yao Xinzhong & Paul Badham. Religious Experience in Contemporary China. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007.

Abstract: This book is unique in that it provides data resulting from a four year study of religious experiencing in China today which could radically transform the understanding of the role of religion in contemporary China. The suppression of religion by communist authorities in the latter part of the 20th century is well known but, far less well-known, is the underlying resurgence of religious life within the most populous nation on earth. The research is focused on the Han Chinese who form over 90 percent of the population of mainland China and is undertaken on ten sites across the country resulting in data from 3,000 detailed questionnaires. The importance of this project is that it is ground-breaking research in an almost wholly new context. No previous research on this scale has taken place before and indeed until recently no such research would have been permitted in a state which since the Communist Revolution of 1949 has been deeply suspicious of any manifestation of religious feeling, and in which a wholly atheistic educational system has prevailed. [Source: publisher's website]


Zeitlin, Judith T. The Phantom Heroine: Ghosts and Gender in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Literature. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007.

Abstract: The “phantom heroine”—in particular the fantasy of her resurrection through sex with a living man—is one of the most striking features of traditional Chinese literature. Even today the hypersexual female ghost continues to be a source of fascination in East Asian media, much like the sexually predatory vampire in American and European movies, TV, and novels. But while vampires can be of either gender, erotic Chinese ghosts are almost exclusively female. The significance of this gender asymmetry in Chinese literary history is the subject of Judith Zeitlin’s elegantly written and meticulously researched new book.

Zeitlin’s study centers on the seventeenth century, one of the most interesting and creative periods of Chinese literature and politically one of the most traumatic, witnessing the overthrow of the Ming, the Manchu conquest, and the subsequent founding of the Qing. Drawing on fiction, drama, poetry, medical cases, and visual culture, the author departs from more traditional literary studies, which tend to focus on a single genre or author. Ranging widely across disciplines, she integrates detailed analyses of great literary works with insights drawn from the history of medicine, art history, comparative literature, anthropology, religion, and performance studies.

The Phantom Heroine probes the complex literary and cultural roots of the Chinese ghost tradition. Zeitlin is the first to address its most remarkable feature: the phenomenon of verse attributed to phantom writers—that is, authors actually reputed to be spirits of the deceased. She also makes the case for the importance of lyric poetry in developing a ghostly aesthetics and image code. Most strikingly, Zeitlin shows that the representation of female ghosts, far from being a marginal preoccupation, expresses cultural concerns of central importance. [Source: Publisher's website]


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


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]


Zhiru. The Making of a Savior Bodhisattva: Dizang in Medieval China. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2007.

Abstract: In modern Chinese Buddhism, Dizang is especially popular as the sovereign of the underworld. Often represented as a monk wearing a royal crown, Dizang helps the deceased faithful navigate the complex underworld bureaucracy, avert the punitive terrors of hell, and arrive at the happy realm of rebirth. The author is concerned with the formative period of this important Buddhist deity, before his underworldly aspect eclipses his connections to other religious expressions and at a time when the art, mythology, practices, and texts of his cult were still replete with possibilities. She begins by problematizing the reigning model of Dizang, one that proposes an evolution of gradual sinicization and increasing vulgarization of a relatively unknown Indian bodhisattva, Ksitigarbha, into a Chinese deity of the underworld. Such a model, the author argues, obscures the many-faceted personality and iconography of Dizang. Rejecting it, she deploys a broad array of materials (art, epigraphy, ritual texts, scripture, and narrative literature) to recomplexify Dizang and restore (as much as possible from the fragmented historical sources) what this figure meant to Chinese Buddhists from the sixth to tenth centuries.

Rather than privilege any one genre of evidence, the author treats both material artifacts and literary works, canonical and noncanonical sources. Adopting an archaeological approach, she excavates motifs from and finds resonances across disparate genres to paint a vibrant, detailed picture of the medieval Dizang cult. Through her analysis, the cult, far from being an isolated phenomenon, is revealed as integrally woven into the entire fabric of Chinese Buddhism, functioning as a kaleidoscopic lens encompassing a multivalent religio-cultural assimilation that resists the usual bifurcation of doctrine and practice or “elite” and “popular” religion.

The Making of a Savior Bodhisattva presents a fascinating wealth of material on the personality, iconography, and lore associated with the medieval Dizang. It elucidates the complex cultural, religious, and social forces shaping the florescence of this savior cult in Tang China while simultaneously addressing several broader theoretical issues that have preoccupied the field. Zhiru not only questions the use of sinicization as a lens through which to view Chinese Buddhist history, she also brings both canonical and noncanonical literature into dialogue with a body of archaeological remains that has been ignored in the study of East Asian Buddhism. [Source: Publisher's website]