NEW PUBLICATIONS IN 2017
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)
Allan, Sarah. "The Jishi Outburst Flood of 1920 BCE and the Great Flood Legend in Ancient China: Preliminary Reflections." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 23-34.
Abstract: On August 5, 2015, Science published an article by Wu Qinglong and a team of distinguished archaeologists that reported on the discovery of evidence for a massive outburst flood in the upper reaches of the Yellow River c. 1920 BCE. The archaeologists identified this flood with the one brought under control by Yu, who was traditionally regarded as the founder of the Xia dynasty. They further argue that since Erlitou culture originated around 1900 BCE, the coincidence of date serves to confirm the identification of Xia and Erlitou culture. This article argues against the historical interpretation of this evidence for an ancient flood. In the early texts, Yu did not control a flood along the Yellow River; he dug all the riverbeds throughout the world so that the waters could flow into the sea. Moreover, the story of Yu controlling the waters and the foundation of the Xia dynasty were not linked in the earliest accounts. This story originated as part of a cosmogonic myth in which the world was made habitable and conducive to agriculture. Thus, it cannot be identified with any particular flood or used to date the foundation of the Xia. Finally, it argues that a great flood was more likely to have caused social disruption than the development of a new level of state power. However, this flood may have caused people from the Qijia culture, which was centered in the region of the flood and already had primitive bronze-casting technology, to flee to other regions including that dominated by Erlitou culture. This cultural interaction introduced metallurgy which was further developed in the context of Erlitou culture, thus spurring its development as a state-level society. (Source: journal)
Bonk, James. “Loyal Souls Come Home: Manifest Loyalty Shrines and the Decentering of War Commemoration in the Qing Empire (1724-1803).” Late Imperial China 28, no. 2 (2017): 61-107.
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)
Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, eds. The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
Chang Hsun. “A Resurgent Temple and Community Development: Roles of the Temple Manager, Local Elite and Entrepreneurs.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 293-331. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.
Chen, Fan Pen Li. Journey of a Goddess: Chen Jinggu Subdues the Snake Demon. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2017.
Abstract: This book offers the first translation into English of the Chinese novel Haiyouji, as well as excerpts of a marionette play based on the cult lore of the goddess Chen Jinggu (766–790), a historical shaman priestess who became one of Fujian's most important goddesses and the Lüshan Sect's chief deity. The novel, a 1753 reprint of what is possibly a Ming dynasty novel, was both a popular fiction and a religious tract. It offers a lively mythological tale depicting combat between the shaman goddess and a snake demon goddess. Replete with the beliefs and practices of the cult of this warrior goddess, the novel asserts the importance of Shamanism (i.e., local religious beliefs) as one of the four religions of China, along with Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism. To further develop the links between literature and local religion, Fan Pen Li Chen includes translations of two acts from a Fujian marionette play, Biography of the Lady, featuring the goddess.
Chen, Lianshan. "A Discussion on the Concept of 'Sacred Narrative'." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 35-47.
Abstract: Sacred narratives are one of the foundations upon which human societies depend for their existence, since in all societies those narratives help establish the legitimacy of the social order and values. While Western societies have opted to regard tales of the supernatural as their main form of sacred narrative, ancient Chinese societies chose, instead, to regard ancient history as theirs. Even though the narrative contents of myths and ancient history differ, they fulfill the same social function and both are believed to represent “facts” from immemorial antiquity. Therefore, the author uses the concept of the sacred narrative to embrace both myths and ancient history, transcending differences in content between mythological and historical narratives and setting forth an argument based on their common social function. This not only allows mythology studies to be in keeping with historical reality but also contributes to an accurate understanding of the narrative foundations of different social and cultural systems. (Source: journal)
Chen, Yong. „Conceptualizing “Popular Confucianism”: The Cases of Ruzong Shenjiao, Yiguan Dao, and De Jiao.“ Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no.1 (2017): 63-83.
Abstract: This article examines the importance and difficulty of conceptualizing “popular Confucianism” and proposes defining it as a continuum with its religious and secular manifestations poised at each end. It then provides three case studies: Ruzong Shenjiao, Yiguan Dao, and De Jiao—sectarian religions with a strong disposition to Confucian values and rites. It argues that an extended and analytical definition can better direct the scholarly and public attention to the social pertinence and daily utility of Confucianism, i.e., in what ways it is still lived by various Chinese communities and how it furnishes cultural identity and value orientation to them. (Source: journal)
Chia, Caroline. “'Negotiation' Between a Religious Art Form and the Secular State: Chinese Puppet Theater in Singapore and the Case Study of Sin Hoe Ping.” Asian Ethnology 76, no.1 (2017): 117-144.
Abstract: Traditional art forms often face rapid decline if they are not able to keep pace with a changing society. This article will examine puppet theater as performed by Chinese descent groups in temples and public spaces in Singapore as a case study of the adaptation of particular ethnic traditions at a time of an intense process of modernization. The island state of Singapore comprises various ethnic groups from different religious backgrounds living together in an advanced economy. On the one hand, the government ensures that the ethno-religious framework is protected through policies and laws. On the other, it seeks to maintain social cohesion by not favoring any religious group and by downplaying religious and ethnic divides. As discussed here, notions of “Chineseness” need to be accommodated within state policies based on the “harmonization” of racial and religious differences. The traditional art form investigated here, Chinese puppet theater, is characteristically linked to ethnicity and religion. How, then, does this ritual art form “negotiate” with a state that emphasizes secularism and seeks to elide multiracial and multi-religious differences? This study proposes a distinction between the “state-regulated realm” and the “state-tolerated realm” to suggest how Chinese puppet theater has engaged in negotiation with the Singaporean state to enable it to survive and even flourish. The focus will be on the Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe, which has demonstrated considerable flexibility in adapting to secularized Singapore. (Source: journal)
Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. “Who is Tua Pek Kong? The Cult of Grand Uncle in Malaysia and Singapore.” Archiv orientální 85, no. 3 (2017): 439-460.
Abstract: The arrival and settlement of Chinese migrants contributed to the spread of Chinese religious beliefs and practices from China to Southeast Asia. However, the arrival of Chinese beliefs and practices was more complex than being just a single-direction dissemination process. Chinese migrants not only transferred popular deities and native-place gods from China to Southeast Asia, but also invented their own gods in the migrant society. This article builds on Robert Hymes’s concept of the “personal model of divinity” to examine the multifaceted nature of the Tua Pek Kong cult in Malaysia and Singapore. It argues that in the absence of an imperial bureaucracy in Southeast Asia, the “personal model” aptly explains the proliferation of Tua Pek Kong’s cult among the Overseas Chinese communities. Tua Pek Kong was far from being a standardized god in a bureaucratic pantheon of Chinese deities; the deity was considered as a “personal being”, offering protection to those who relied on him. This article presents the multifaceted cult of Tua Pek Kong in three forms: a symbol of sworn brotherhood, a Sino-Malay deity, and a Sinicized god. (Source: journal)
Clart, Philip. “Han Xiangzi 韩湘子 in Popular Literature of the Qing Period: A Preliminary Investigation of the Hanxian baozhuan 韩仙宝传.” In Duoyuan yiti de Huaren zongjiao yu wenhua: Su Qinghua boshi huajia jinian lunwenji 多元一体的华人宗教与文化——苏庆华博士花甲纪念论文集/ Diversity in Unity: Studies of Chinese Religion & Culture: A Festschrift in Honour of Dr. Soo Khin Wah on His Sixtieth Birthday, edited by Yan Jiajian 嚴家建, 367-411. Sg. Buloh, Selangor: The Malaya Press 马来亚文化事业有限公司, 2017.
Colla, Elisabetta. “Preliminary Survey on the Identity of Mazu: Cross-Gender Polymorphism and Female-Centric Order.” In The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons, edited by Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, 129-145. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
Gálik, Marián. "On the Problem of Sacred Space: Solomon´s Temple in Jerusalem and Temple-Palace in Fengchu (China) around 1000 B.C. (A Comparative Study)." Asian and African Studies 26, no.2 (2017): 319-349.
Abstract: The aim of this essay is to present a study about the problem of sacred space in comparing Solomon´s Temple in Jerusalem and the temple-palace in Fengchu (China) around 1000 B.C. and later, together with the situation in the Near Eastern countries, Sumer, Assyria, Canaan(Levant), their writings and concrete buildings. Sacred continua both in sacred space and partly also sacred time in Mesopotamia, Canaan, Judah, Israel,and China are studied here on the basis of available material between approximately 1000 B.C. up to about 450 B.C. The choice of the studied material was selected in order to see the differences between the understanding of the sacred space in the countries of Near East and in China in times when there were no relations between them. This essay points to the differences in the Chinese situation which was very different from that of Hebrew tradition. If in the first up to about the first half of the 1st cent. B.C. sacred space and also sacred time was with the exception at the end of the Shang Dynasty in high esteem, and then a more secular approach was acknowledged, among the Hebrews the theocracy of God became to be absolute. (Source: journal)
Goossaert, Vincent. “Yu Yue (1821-1906) Explores the Other World: Religious Culture of the Chinese Elites on the Eve of the Revolutions.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 59-107. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.
Goossaert, Vincent. Bureaucratie et salut: Devenir un dieu en Chine. Genève: Labor et Fides, 2017.
Abstract: La « divinisation de soi » constitue en Chine une option originale dans l’éventail des possibles destins posthumes de l’individu. Dans ce livre, Vincent Goossaert réévalue le modèle d’un au-delà chinois peuplé d’ancêtres, et remet en lumière une alternative tout aussi crédible, si ce n’est plus enviable : celle pour l’homme de devenir un dieu. Ce faisant, le livre retrace les grandes étapes de l’histoire des conceptions et pratiques religieuses de la divinisation, de l’Antiquité à nos jours. Loin de la vision répandue d’un imaginaire funéraire essentiellement tourné vers le culte des ancêtres, la Chine se présente ici comme un terrain d’expérimentation des destins individuels au-delà de la mort. (Source: publisher's website)
Goossaert, Vincent. “The Textual Canonization of Guandi.” In Rooted in Hope / In der Hoffnung verwurzelt: China - Religion - Christianity / China - Religion - Christentum. Festschrift in Honor of Roman Malek S.V.D. on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday / Festschrift für Roman Malek S.V.D. zu seinem 65. Geburtstag, edited by B. Hoster, D. Kuhlmann, Z. Wesołowski S.V.D., 509-526. London: Routledge, 2017.
#ter Haar, Barend J. Guan Yu: The Religious Afterlife of a Failed Hero. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Hu Baozhu. “Illicit Religious Activities under the Southern Song Dynasty: A Study on Chen Chun’s Shang Zhao sicheng lun yinsi.” In The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons, edited by Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, 69-88. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
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. 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)
Kang, Xiaofei. “Women’s Liberation and Anti-Superstition in Wartime Communist Propaganda, 1943-1950.” NAN NÜ 19, no. 1 (2017): 64–96.
Abstract: This article seeks to bridge the hitherto disconnected studies of the “woman question” and “religious question” in the twentieth-century Chinese revolution. It focuses on the issues of women’s liberation and anti-superstition in Communist propaganda through Xiao Erhei jiehun (Young Blackie gets married), a popular novel by the Communist writer Zhao Shuli (1906-70) published in 1943, and examines its impact in comparative context in wartime Communist base areas. Drawing on the religious culture of the author’s native southern Shanxi, this revolutionary classic promoted freedom of marriage through attacking “feudal superstition.” The article compares wartime religious and revolutionary culture in Zhao’s rural Shanxi with the CCP’s cultural and political agendas in its headquarters of Yan’an. Despite its immense success, the novel’s original messages of women’s liberation and anti-superstition gradually became marginal in the early PRC years – both discourses gave way to the party-state’s higher ideological goal of class struggle, and were subsumed into the metanarrative celebrating the absolute leadership of the Communist Party and Mao Zedong. (Source: journal)
Kleeman, Terry. “Daoism and Popular Religion in Imperial China.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History (http://asianhistory.oxfordre.com), 2017, DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190277727.013.207.
Lei Yang. “Les inscriptions sonores: les textes sacrés sur les cloches dans les temples de Pékin, 1368-1911.” Études chinoises 36, no. 2 (2017): 147-163.
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.
Liu, Yuqing. "A New Model in the Study of Chinese Mythology." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 1-22.
Abstract: Chinese mythology [shenhua] does not exist independently as a cultural medium like mythology does in the West but, rather, comprises ideological and narrative forms that emerge according to historical and cultural trends. Not only have myths withstood humanity’s conquest of nature, but they have drawn and continue to draw on the mysteries of scientific development for new content. It is possible to identify three highpoints of creativity in the history of Chinese mythology, each corresponding to shifts in the function and nuance of myths. The first highpoint occurred very early on in China’s ancient history, in the period of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors [wudi sanwang], when myths were a way to articulate history—that is, history as myth. The second highpoint occurred in the period from the Qin through Jin dynasties, when mythology mainly expounded on philosophy and theory—that is, philosophy as myth. The third highpoint occurred during the Yuan and Ming dynasties, when the narrative content of mythology turned toward the religious—that is, religion as myth. (Source: journal)
Loureiro, Rui Manuel. “Brief Notes on References to Mazu in Sixteenth Century Iberian Sources.” In The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons, edited by Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, 147-159. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
Lu Miaw-fen. "The Cult of Confucius as Family Ritual in Late Imperial China." Chinese Historical Review 24, no. 1 (2017): 21-40.
Abstract: The cult of Confucius as practiced in Confucian temples had all the characteristics of a state religion, largely removed from the everyday lives of elite Confucians. In con- trast, during late Imperial China, many Confucians cultivated private household ritual practices centered on the cult of Confucius and important sages and worthies. This private ritual practice differed significantly from the official cult of Confucius. First, it was far less rigid and more fluid. Second, because it was a private practice, there was greater autonomy in ritual practice. Thirdly, these ideas reflected a new understanding of Confucian identity in relation to both one’s own bloodline and the genealogy of the Way. This articles addresses these issues in the context of descriptive examples of this ritual practice, along with an account of its significance with respect to ideas related to this private ritual practice, including ritual theory debates on incorporating images in the ritual, and the relationship between ritual and moral cultivation. To better understand this practice, this article will further provide some discussion of the intellectual context of the Ming-Qing transition. (Source: journal)
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.
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. “Ontology with Chinese Characteristics: Homology as a Mode of Identification.” HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7, no. 1 (2017): 265-285.
Ownby, David. "Li Yujie and the Rebranding of the White Lotus Movement." Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review E-Journal 24 (2017): 13-35.
Abstract: Li Yujie (1900–1994) was a walking contradiction: a student leader of the Shanghai May Fourth movement and a Guomindang member and technocrat in the Nanjing government, but also a cadre in Xiao Changming’s redemptive society—the Heavenly Virtues Teachings—and eventually the founder of two redemptive societies in his own right (the Heaven and Man Teachings and the Heavenly Emperor Teachings). Through a biographical study of Li Yujie, this article examines the complex appeal of redemptive societies to parts of the educated elite during China’s Republican period. The author focuses particularly on the period between 1937 and 1945, when Li retired to the sacred mountain of Huashan. There, with the help of Huang Zhenxia, a self-taught intellectual also employed by the Guomindang, Li sought to modernize the “White Lotus” teachings that he had received from his master by incorporating scientific insights received via spirit writing. Li believed that he was creating a new religion more adapted to the twentieth century. Both the texts produced on Huashan and the military and political elite that were attracted to these texts allow us to raise new questions about secularism and religion, traditional beliefs and science in the context of Republican-period China, thereby suggesting that the conflict between the modernizing state and traditional religious culture was not always as stark as we have believed it to be. (Source: journal)
Ptak, Roderich. “Qianliyan und Shunfeng’er in Xiaoshuo und anderen Texten der Yuan- und Ming-Zeit.” In Rooted in Hope / In der Hoffnung verwurzelt: China - Religion - Christianity / China - Religion - Christentum. Festschrift in Honor of Roman Malek S.V.D. on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday / Festschrift für Roman Malek S.V.D. zu seinem 65. Geburtstag, edited by B. Hoster, D. Kuhlmann, Z. Wesolowski S.V.D., 571-596. London: Routledge, 2017.
Ptak, Roderich, and Jiehua Cai. "Reconsidering the Role of Mazu under the Early Hongwu Reign." Ming Qing Yanjiu 20, no. 1 (2017): 3–20.
Abstract: The worship of Mazu, the Chinese Goddess of Sailors, began in Fujian, under the early Song. Migrants from that province gradually spread this cult to other coastal regions and among the overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. The present article investigates one particular episode in the history of the Mazu cult. Its stage is Guangzhou and the period dealt with is the beginning of the Hongwu reign. In 1368, Liao Yongzhong’s troops moved to that city, putting it under control of Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Ming emperor. Local chronicles pertaining to Guangdong and certain other sources briefly refer to this event. They report that Liao promoted the worship of Mazu in that region and they indicate that Mazu received an official title in 1368, by imperial order. The Tianfei xiansheng lu, one of the key texts for the Mazu cult, provides different details: It associates the title granted by the imperial court with the year 1372, and not with the context of Central Guangdong. Furthermore, the attributes which form part of the title vary from one text to the next. The paper discusses these and other points, arguing there could be two different narrative traditions surrounding Mazu’s role in 1368/72: the Guangdong version and the “conventional” view, similar to the one found in Tianfei xiansheng lu. Although there is no definite solution for this dilemma, the article tries to expose the general background into which one may embed these observations. (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. “Mazu and the Mid-Ming ‘Wokou’ Crisis: A Theoretical Approach.” In The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons, edited by Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, 111-127. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
Ptak, Roderich. "Zheng He und Mazu: Geschichte, Wahrnehmung und Kult." Saeculum 67, no. 2 (2017): 225-257.
Abstract: Chinese media frequently refer to Zheng He's spectacular voyages. Among other things, the historic Zheng He is held in high esteem because he supported Buddhist and Confucian ideas, while at the same time he came from a Muslim family and even contributed to spreading the belief in Mazu. Today, Zheng He is seen as a symbol of mutual respect, tolerance and peaceful cooperation. Mazu (or Tianfei) is the Chinese goddess of seafarers. According to tradition her cult comes from Fujian. As in the case of Zheng He, the central government took advantage of that cult for various reasons. Thus, the worship of Mazu repeatedly came to enjoy official recognition and support. The article investigates the background and development of both components, i.e., the veneration of Mazu and Zheng He. It explains why this highly complex theme is relevant for our own times. The discussion draws in Taiwan and the overseas Chinese and, above all, the so-called "OBOR project" (one belt, one region), through which China wishes to re-enact and wrap up in a new package the old idea of the "Maritime Silk Route".
Su, Xiaowei. "Researching the Image of the Yellow Emperor in China’s Early Textual Sources and Archaeological Materials." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 48-71.
Abstract: In China’s early textual sources and archaeological materials, the Yellow Emperor ?? appears in the following three contexts: in genealogical records, among predynastic rulers, and in sacrificial rituals. The earliest appearance of the Yellow Emperor is probably in genealogical records; then, after being an ancestral ruler, he becomes the earliest emperor and a legendary ruler. This demonstrates his shift from an ancestral context to a monarchic context and illustrates the gradual yet colossal shift in ancient Chinese political thought from a system of enfeoffment built on blood relations to a system of prefectures and counties based on regional ties. The image of the Yellow Emperor in the context of sacrifice is closely linked to the yin-yang and five elements theories beginning in the later stage of the Warring States period; as society developed, this image also became associated with a certain Daoist path, thereby acquiring a religious value. (Source: journal)
Su, Yongqian. "An Exploration of the Queen Mother of the West from the Perspective of Comparative Mythology." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 72-90.
Abstract: Constant interactions among cultures make it possible to conduct cross-cultural studies on the myth of the Queen Mother of the West. Since the original manuscript of the Classic of Mountains and Seas [Shanhaijing] served as the expository writing of the now lost Map of Mountains and Seas [Shanhaitu], there is reason to believe that it contains information on early depictions of the goddess. By revealing the symbolism at work in those descriptions and by consulting a wide range of ethnographic data, it becomes possible to reconstruct her primeval form. The Queen Mother of the West, once regarded as the Chinese version of the prehistoric Great Mother, was seen as the goddess embodying both death and regeneration. However, after the rise of the patriarchal system, the original Queen Mother of the West slowly fell into obscurity and was ultimately relegated to the subordinate status of a spouse for the Jade Emperor [yuhuang]. (Source: journal)
Ting Jen-chieh. “The Construction of Fundamentalism in I-Kuan Tao.” In Religion in Taiwan and China : Locality and Transmission, edited by Hsun Chang & Benjamin Penny, 135-166. Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Ethnology, 2017.
Vance, Brigid E. "Deciphering Dreams: How Glyphomancy Worked in Late Ming Dream Encyclopedic Divination." Chinese Historical Review 24, no. 1 (2017): 5-20.
Abstract: Both the 1562 dream encyclopedia Mengzhan yizhi (Guidelines for Dream Divination) and the 1636 dream encyclopedia Menglin xuanjie (An Explication of the Profundities in the Forest of Dreams) consisted of individual examples of accurately divined dream interpretations whose cumulative weight proved that the divination techniques worked consistently and should be used. The content of the dream encyclopedias revealed the specific nature of the techniques. In the dream encyclopedias, individuals’ dreamed problems were solved using glyphomancy (the dissection of Chinese characters), demonstrating the importance of written Chinese characters in dream divination. I show that gly- phomancy not only revealed divinatory answers, but in some instances, accurately predicted the timing of life’s events. (Source: journal)
Wang Xiaoyang, Bao Yan. “Ways to Immortality: In Popular and Daoist Tales.” Journal of Daoist Studies 10 (2017): 149-156.
Weller, Robert P., and Keping Wu. "On the Boundaries Between Good and Evil: Constructing Multiple Moralities in China." Journal of Asian Studies 76, no. 1 (2017): 47-67.
Abstract: This essay discusses three contrasting versions of the relationship between good and evil in contemporary China: a spirit medium who maneuvers between them, a charismatic Christian group that forges an identity by defending the border between them, and an official state and religious discourse of banal goodness and universal love that seeks to annihilate evil. Each defines good and evil differently, but more importantly, each imagines the nature of the boundary itself differently—as permeable and negotiable, clear and defensible, or simply intolerable. These varied conceptions help to shape alternate views of empathy, pluralism, and the problem of how to live with otherness. (Source: journal)
Witt, Barbara. “The Hagiography of Tianfei in the Soushen daquan and the Zengbu soushen ji.” In The Mazu Cult: Historical Studies and Cross-Cultural Comparisons, edited by Cai Jiehua & Marc Nürnberger, 89-110. Lisbon: Centro Cientifico e Cultural de Macau/Centro de História da Universidade de Lisboa, 2017.
Wu, Junqing. Mandarins and Heretics: The Construction of “Heresy” in Chinese State Discourse. Leiden: Brill, 2017.
Abstract: In Mandarins and Heretics, Wu Junqing explores the denunciation and persecution of lay religious groups in late imperial (14th to 20th century) China. These groups varied greatly in their organisation and teaching, yet in official state records they are routinely portrayed as belonging to the same esoteric tradition, stigmatised under generic labels such as “White Lotus” and “evil teaching”, and accused of black magic, sedition and messianic agitation. Wu Junqing convincingly demonstrates that this “heresy construct” was not a reflection of historical reality but a product of the Chinese historiographical tradition, with its uncritical reliance on official sources. The imperial heresy construct remains influential in modern China, where it contributes to shaping policy towards unlicensed religious groups. (Source: publisher's website)
Wu, Junqing. "The Fang La Rebellion and the Song Anti-Heresy Discourse." Journal of Chinese Religions 45, no.1 (2017): 19-37.
Abstract: Students of Chinese history are familiar with the fact that during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) lay religious groups outside of clerical control were denounced under a number of labels including “evil teaching” (xiejiao) and “White Lotus teaching” (bailianjiao). Regardless of their actual origins and teachings, these groups were assimilated to one and the same esoteric tradition and assumed, often on little evidence, to practice black magic, propagate messianic teachings, and to be a potential focus of rebellion. They were punished under certain laws created specifically for this purpose. I term this set of perceptions and practices the “heresy construct” to designate the fact that it was an expression of official mentality rather than a reflection of socio-religious realities. Less well-known is the fact that the heresy construct had already assumed its immature but still recognizable shape in the Song (960–1279). The Fang La rebellion of 1121–1122 marks one of its earliest appearances in the historical records. This article focuses on narratives of the Fang La event. The Fang La rebellion was portrayed as a prototypical “heretic rebellion” in later historiography. But this was not the case in the eyes of contemporaries. I reconstruct the transmission of narratives about the Fang La rebellion to show that its heretical status and magical overtones were a later accretion, due largely to literati embroidery. The same is true of many other reputedly “heretical” rebellions in Chinese history. The literati writing was later incorporated in the “grand narrative” of state history, steering official attitudes in the direction of greater intolerance towards heretics. (Source: journal)
Zhang, Hanmo. "From Myth to History: Historicizing a Sage for the Sake of Persuasion in the Yellow Emperor Narratives." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 91-116.
Abstract: Among the many depictions of the Yellow Emperor that survive in a number of early Chinese texts, the historicized image of this purported ancient sage king has been accepted by many Chinese scholars as that of a historical figure and has greatly inspired their reconstruction of China’s remote past. In examining some of the extant Huangdi narratives, especially passages preserved in the Discourses of the States [Guoyu], Records of the Grand Historian [Shiji], and Remaining Zhou Documents [Yi Zhoushu], this paper reveals a trend of historicizing an originally mythical Yellow Emperor presented in early Chinese writings. It also explores the historiographical reasoning behind such historicization and provides an alternative approach emphasizing the role of persuasion in the Huangdi narratives. (Source: journal)
Zhang, Zhenjun. "Two Modes of Goddess Depictions in Early Medieval Chinese Literature." Journal of Chinese Humanities 3, no. 1 (2017): 117-134.
Abstract: Early medieval Chinese literature depicts two modes of goddesses, derived from the two masterpieces attributed to Song Yu, “Rhapsody on the Goddess” and “Rhapsody on Gaotang.” Since Cao Zhi’s “Rhapsody on the Goddess” overshadowed other works among rhapsodies and poems, it appeared as if the influence of “Rhapsody on Gaotang” had stopped. This study reveals the two lineages of goddess depictions in medieval Chinese literature, showing that the “Goddess of Love” has never disappeared. (Source: journal)
Zhong Liang. “Les ancêtres dans les manuscrits divinatoires et sacrificiels de la tombe nº 2 de Baoshan.” Études chinoises 36, no. 1 (2017): 21-49.