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

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


Antony, Robert J. "Ethnic and Religious Violence in South China: The Hakka-Tiandihui Uprising of 1802." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 532-562.


Antony, Robert J., & Joseph Tse-Hei Lee. "Chinese Secret Societies and Popular Religions Revisited: An Introduction." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 503-509.


Baptandier, Brigitte. “Writing as a Threshold between the Worlds: Glyphomancy in China.” Daoism: Religion, History and Society, no. 8 (2016): 251-284.


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.


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)


Chau, Adam Yuet. “The Commodification of Religion in Chinese Societies.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 949-976. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Chen, Gilbert. "A Confucian Iconography of Cao E (Maiden Cao): Narrative Illustrations of a Female Deity in Late Imperial China." Nan Nü 18, no. 1 (2016): 84-114.

Abstract: This article examines the narrative illustrations of a female deity called Cao E (Maiden Cao), a work produced in eastern Zhejiang during the post-Taiping era. It focuses on the artistic composition and the cultural implications of this iconography. Using both textual sources and pictorial materials, this study investigates how this pictorial hagiography served as a forum through which a state-sanctioned local cult was visualized and perceived by a heterogeneous audience including itinerant officials, local elites, and illiterate commoners. The mixed audience had different understandings and expectations of Maiden Cao and her visual representation, among which gender-related issues were contested. The present study reveals a dynamic picture of how a seemingly orthodox work sponsored by local officials and elites could be sabotaged because of local people’s expectations of Maiden Cao, and her gender identity in particular. (Source: journal)


Chen Shih-pei. “Remapping Locust Temples of Historical China and the Use of gis.” Review of Religion and Chinese Society 3, no. 2 (2016): 149-163.

Abstract: Building temples in order to obtain relief from natural plagues was a common religious practice in premodern societies. In historical China, citizens built locust temples in hope of avoiding locust infestations. There were no centrally collected records in historical China of such plagues or other natural disasters. In order to discern patterns in the distribution of locust plagues over time and geographical space throughout historical China, this paper replicates the work of Chinese geographer Chen Cheng-siang, who used local gazetteers as major sources for collecting such data. The results of this paper include a modern GIS map of locust temples based on digital editions of local gazetteers, a GIS dataset, and a procedural method for constructing GIS maps on other topics mentioned in local gazetteers. (Source: journal)


Clart, Philip. “New Technologies and the Production of Religious Texts in China, 19th to 21st Century.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 560-578. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


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

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


Dean, Kenneth. “Conditions of Mastery: The Syncretic Religious Field of Singapore and the Rose of Hokkien Master Tan Kok Hian 陳國顯.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 25 (2016): 219-244.


DuBois, Thomas David. “Local Religion and Festivals.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 371-400. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Fan, Lizhu, and Na Chen. “The Revival and Development of Popular Religion in China, 1980-Present.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 923-948. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Faure, David, & He Xi. "The Secret Society's Secret: The Invoked Reality of the Tiandihui." Frontiers of History in China 11, no.4 (2016): 510-531.


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

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

He, Jianming. “Compilation of Local Chronicles and New Directions in Research of Chinese Religious History.” Studies in Chinese Religions 2, no. 1 (2016): 1-17.

Abstract: This paper primarily investigates new trends in research on Chinese religious history based on local chronicles that are now being explored. It looks at three aspects from local chronicles including the numerous accounts of temples; various writings and illustrations (inscriptions, poems, etc.); and the relationships between the three teachings (Confucianism, Buddhism and Daoism) in the lives of common people and regional environments, analyzing and pointing out that research on Chinese religious history is shifting towards a focus on multidimensional historical research centered on temples; a departure from an earlier focus on linear history which was centered on individuals and thought. Research is trending towards a multidimensional dynamic history, from an earlier research model based on a one-track static history. It is also trending towards an explanatory model of social history focused on the actual needs of common people and their lifestyles, which is a change from past explanatory models of intellectual and political history which were focused on ideology and politics while related to great issues such as the relationships between the three teachings, and religion and politics. This paper in the end explains that local chronicles, which contain extremely rich and valuable historical information on Buddhism and Daoism in the regional societies of China throughout the ages, reveal historical data on Chinese religions which is truer and more vivid and concrete than the Buddhist and Daoist canons as well as various types of ‘official histories.’ (Source: journal)


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


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.


Hsieh Shu-Wei. “Possession and Ritual: Daoist and Popular Healing in Taiwan.” Journal of Daoist Studies 9 (2016): 73-100.

Abstract: This paper focuses on the everyday realities of religious healing cultures in the particular ethnographic context of Taiwan. In order to understand therapeutic aspects of religion in both the traditional and contemporary contexts as well as its local and global manifestations, I explore religious healing in the traditionally observant city of Tainan, which offers three compelling cases studies. From there, I explore the theoretical understanding of spirit, body, and illness in traditional Chinese society. The analysis focuses on healing through ritual and spirit possession, providing vivid accounts of the role spirit possession and ritual performance play in healing individuals and communities in Chinese society. It also increases our understanding of healing and spirit possession in southern Taiwan. Core issues involve the agency of ritual and medium of deities and spirits in accounting for and dealing with a range of psychological and physical trauma. (Source: journal)


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

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


Idema, Wilt L., “Narrative daoqing, the Legend of Han Xiangzi, and the Good Life in the Han Xiangzi jiudu Wengong daoqing quanben.” Daoism: Religion, History and Society, no. 8 (2016): 93-150.


Imbach, Jessica. “Variations on gui and Trouble with Ghosts in Modern Chinese Fiction.” Asiatische Studien/Études asiatiques 70, no. 3 (2016): 865-880.


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. “Women and the Religious Question in Modern China.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 491-559. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


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


Koh, Keng We. "The Deity Proposes, the State Disposes: The Vicissitudes of a Chinese Temple in Post-1965 Singapore." In Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965-2015, edited by Jason Lim & Terence Lee, 126-142. London; New York: Routledge, 2016.


Kory, Stephan N. "Presence in Variety: De-Trivializing Female Diviners in Medieval China." Nan Nü 18. no.1 (2016): 3-48.

Abstract: This article argues that the relative absence and trivialization of female diviners apparent in medieval Chinese texts does not accurately reflect the presence of these figures in medieval Chinese society. It further contends that this dearth in representation is the direct result of a more comprehensive and sustained annihilation or marginalization of women in third- through ninth-century Chinese texts. Narrative accounts and the institutional perspectives on divination informing them are critically analyzed and compared to help de-trivialize the roles that female diviners played in medieval China. Comparative theories of divination will be considered to help expand the scope of our inquiry beyond activities explicitly identified as such, and the geographical, social, and practical variety one finds in medieval depictions of female diviners will be used as evidence of a much wider and more pervasive social presence than one finds today in received medieval records. (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)


Matthews, William. “The Homological Cosmos: Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics in Yi Jing Prediction.” PhD Thesis, University College London, 2016.


Meulenbeld, Mark. "Death and Demonization of a Bodhisattva: Guanyin's Reformulation within Chinese Religion." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 84, no. 3 (2016): 690-726.

Abstract: The Chinese goddess known as Guanyin may commonly be referred to with the Buddhist epithet of “bodhisattva,” yet her many hagiographies contain only the most stereotypical references to anything that could be defined unambiguously as “Buddhist.” Instead, the narrative of Guanyin that gains greatest popularity between the twelfth through the nineteenth centuries is one that describes the bodhisattva's last incarnation, as the unmarried Princess Miaoshan, within the parameters of indigenous Chinese religion—or, rather, its demonology. I argue that all of the many versions of Miaoshan's legend represent her deification into Guanyin as a process necessary for solving her spirit's demonical status that has arisen from the recurring violence done to her body by herself and her father. Moreover, I show how Miaoshan's narrative of a violated body is deeply rooted in practices of trance-possession that ultimately explain her efficacy. (Source: journal)


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

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


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)


Ownby, David. “Redemptive Societies in the Twentieth Century.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 685-727. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)

Ownby, David. “New Perspectives on the ‘Dao’ of ‘Huidaomen’: Redemptive Societies and Religion in Modern and Contemporary China.” Frontiers of History in China 11, no. 4 (2016): 563-578.

Abstract: This essay uses research in Chinese religion, and specifically Chinese “redemptive societies,” to challenge and enrich the received history of “sects and secret societies” in modern and contemporary Chinese history, and suggests that a future “history of cultivation movements” might be a helpful means to steer between competing narratives of state-building and personal religious experience. The discussion is illustrated with a brief biography of Li Yujie (1901–94), founder of the redemptive society Tiandijiao who devoted his life to cultivation and religion, but also to independent journalism and the Guomindang. (Source: journal)


Oxfeld, Ellen. “Moral Discourse, Moral Practice, and the Rural Family in Modern China.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 401-432. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


Ptak, Roderich, Cai Jiehua. “Reconsidering the Role of Mazu under the Early Hongwu Reign.” Ming Qing yanjiu 20 (2016): 3-20.


Qian, Linliang. „Everyday Religiosity in the State Sphere: Folk Beliefs and Practices in a Chinese State-run Orphanage.“ China Information 30, no.1 (2016): 81-98.

Abstract: The religious sector in contemporary China is often portrayed as resisting or negotiating with an interventionist state in order to survive or protect its autonomy. This article, however, shows how it enters the state sphere and imbues the presumed state agents. By exploring folk beliefs and practices in a state-run orphanage (such as philanthropists’ activities, which they related to accumulation of karmic merits, childcare workers’ discourses, conduct associated with predestined relationships and baby ghosts, and institution officials’ preoccupation with palmistry, fortune telling and karmic retribution), and the impact of folk belief and practices on the working of the state apparatus, this study aims to enrich current scholarship by looking at state–religion interactions beyond the religious sphere and also reversing the image of Chinese religions as merely passive or reactive actors. (Source: journal)


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

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


Seiwert, Hubert. “The Dynamics of Religions and Cultural Evolution: Worshipping Fuxi in Contemporary China.” In Dynamics of Religion: Past and Present, ed. Christoph Bochinger and Jörg Rüpke, 9–29. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.

Abstract: The paper discusses the theme of the congress ‘Dynamics of Religions’ in the theoretical context of cultural evolution. In contrast to the prevailing progression model of cultural evolution, it proposes a diversification model that allows for considering the dynamics of religions on the micro-level. In this view, a central element of cultural evolution is the dialectical relationship between cultural production and cultural environment, which is the outcome of cultural production and at the same time enables and restricts further production. The approach is exemplified by the religious dynamics in contemporary China focusing on the worship of Fuxi in popular and state rituals. The example also serves to illustrate divergent views of what counts as religion. (Source: book)


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

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


Sun Xiaosu. “Liu Qingti’s Canine Rebirth and Her Ritual Career as the Heavenly Dog: Recasting Mulian’s Mother in Baojuan (Precious Scrolls) Recitation.” CHINOPERL 35.1 (2016): 28-55.

Abstract: In the Tang dynasty Dunhuang transformation text (bianwen) about Mulian rescuing his mother from the underworld, Madame Liu Qingti, mother of the filial monk Mulian, is allowed to ascend to the Trayastrimsa Heaven once her sins have been purged. A similar happy ending is found in the most widespread versions of the legend. However, in many baojuan (precious scrolls) from the late imperial period and the modern era, Qingti is depicted as an inveterate sinner who continues to misbehave when reborn as a dog. For example, in the baojuan about Mulian used nowadays in Changshu, southern Jiangsu province, in a ritual to expel evil spirits and ensure a successful pregnancy, Qingti appears as the Heavenly Dog—a malign, infant-eating star spirit capable of causing miscarriage or neonatal death. This paper combines fieldwork on a ritual to expel the Heavenly Dog in Changshu and textual analysis to explore the ways in which Liu Qingti has been recast in baojuan literature. I consider, in particular, the motif of Qingti's unenlightened soul, and its relation to her ritual career as the Heavenly Dog in baojuan recitation. Special attention is paid to the different ritual contexts of such rituals. (Source: journal)


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


Terekhov, Anthony. “The Reception of the Myth of Miraculous Birth in Han China.” Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung 39 (2016): 213-226.


Wang Chien-ch’uan. “Spirit-Writing Groups in Modern China (1840-1937): Textual Production, Public Teachings, and Charity.” In Modern Chinese Religion II, 1850-2015, edited by Vincent Goossaert, Jan Kiely, and John Lagerwey, 651-684. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2016. (Handbook of Oriental Studies, section 4: China, vol.32)


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)


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

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


Wu Junqing. "Words and Concepts in Chinese Religious Denunciation: A Study of the Genealogy of xiejiao." Chinese Historical Review 23, no.1 (2016): 1-22 .

Abstract: This paper is devoted to the genealogy of the term “evil teaching” (xiejiao), a Qing label for heretical lay religious groups who were stereotyped as practising black magic, spreading messianic messages and as inherently rebellious. Our modern understanding of the term xiejiao is based on its late imperial use, but in fact its meaning changed greatly over time, in ways that reflect the changing state perception of lay religion. This evolution has been overlooked by many late imperial and modern scholars. As a result they project their contemporary perception of lay religion onto the earlier periods. Here I would like to correct this anachronism, uncovering a more complex and varying history. (Source: journal)


Yü Chün-fang & Yao Chongxin. “Guanyin and Dizang: The Creation of a Chinese Buddhist Pantheon.” Asiatische Studien/Études asiatiques 70, no. 3 (2016): 757-796.


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)


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)