NEW PUBLICATIONS IN 2019
Andrews, Susan. "Gathering Medicines among the Cypress: The Relationship between Healing and Place in the Earliest Records of Mount Wutai." Studies in Chinese Religions 5, no. 1 (2019): 1-13.
Abstract: Early imaginings of Mount Wutai's (the Mountain of Five Plateaus) importance were more diverse than we might expect given the site's longstanding and intimate affiliation with Mañjuśrī (Wenshu). Alongside its importance as the Bodhisattva's territory, early accounts of this place preserved in Huixiang's (seventh-century) Ancient Chronicle of Mount Clear and Cool (Gu Qingliang zhuan) root Mount Wutai's specialness in the presence of curatives and substances promoting longevity there. These stories indicate that Wutai's connection with wellbeing played an important role in its seventh-century textual construction as a Buddhist sacred place. (Source: journal)
Berezkin, Rostislav. "Baojuan (Precious Scrolls) and Festivals in the Temples of Local Gods in Changshu, Jiangsu." Minsu quyi, no. 206 (2019): 115–175.
Broy, Nikolas. "Moral Integration or Social Segregation? Vegetarianism and Vegetarian Religious Communities in Chinese Religious Life." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 37-64. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
Broy, Nikolas. "Maitreya's Garden in the Township: Transnational Religious Spaces of Yiguandao Activists in Urban South Africa." China Perspectives 2019, no. 4: 27-36.
Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the spaces created by practitioners of the Taiwanese-Chinese religious movement Yiguandao 一 貫 道 (“Way of Pervading Unity”) in urban South Africa. Drawing on ethnographic data from fieldwork conducted in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in late 2017 as well as on published Yiguandao materials, this contribution analyses how these spaces are created, maintained, and charged with meaning. It investigates the uses of these spaces as well as how and why various actors engage in them. By proposing a preliminary typology that is based on the location, function, and mobility of these spaces, this contribution argues that Yiguandao religious spaces represent more intense arenas of transcultural interaction than most other – and predominantly economic – Chinese spaces in Africa.
Burton-Rose, Daniel. "Mid-Qing Spirit-Altars, Officialdom, and Patrilinear Power: Peng Qifeng's Prefaces to the Complete Works of Thearch Guan, Patriarch Lü, and Wenchang (1772–1775)." Daojiao xuekan 2019, no. 1: 130–156.
Chan, Selina Ching. "Creepy No More: Inventing the Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Cultural Festival in Hong Kong." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 273-296.
Abstract: Ever since the classification of Hong Kong's Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Festival as a national-grade intangible cultural heritage in 2011, a series of conservation activities have been initiated by some local Chaozhou communities, ngos, and the Hong Kong government. One of these activities is the Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Cultural Festival, and this paper discusses the heritagization of religious festivals by examining the invention of this festival. The Cultural Festival reveals how the elite-cum-businessmen attempt to educate the general public, to promote the festival so as to reverse its decline in popularity, and to celebrate ethnic culture and Chinese culture. To overwrite the old-fashioned stereotypical creepy images associated with the traditional Hungry Ghosts Festival, new programs featuring spectacular and fun elements have been invented. This paper delineates how these newly invented programs highlight and promote moral and cultural meanings and capture the attention of the general public, especially the younger generation, thereby attracting wider participation in the festival. I will discuss how the spectatorial, participatory, and educational aspects of the Cultural Festival are meant to attract domestic visitors as well as international tourists. Nevertheless, the majority of worshippers and local organizers do not have a significant role in the Cultural Festival. (Source: journal)
Chen, Jiaren and Benoît Vermander. "Rituals, Spacetime and Family in a 'Native' Community of North Shanghai." Religions 10, no. 10 (2019).
Abstract: China's dramatic process of urbanization has profound influence on the country's religious communities, practices and psyche. This article focuses on a village of North Shanghai that has been integrated into urban life through demolition and relocation at the turn of the century. It follows the evolution of the ritual practices of its former inhabitants until present day. It underlines the fracture that has occurred in the way jia (home/family) was recognized and lived as a focus of ritual activities, and it documents the subsequent enlargement of the ritual sphere that is taking place. The choice of specific temples as privileged places of pilgrimage and ancestral worship is shown to be the result of a combination of factors, relational, geographical, and financial. The study also highlights the fact that the plasticity and inventiveness of the practices observed still testify to the resilience of the "home" concept, whatever the transformation it undergoes, and it links such resilience to the agency of women. By closely following the dynamic of ritual activities in the everyday life of the community under study, the article aims at providing a pragmatic and evolving approach to what "Chinese religion" is becoming in an urban context.
Cheng Shaoxuan and Liu Gang. “Newly Unearthed Wooden Figures for Averting Misfortune from Yangzhou.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 87-103.
Abstract: This paper introduces several newly unearthed wooden figures from tombs in Yangzhou that date to the Five Dynasties period, and provides complete transcriptions and preliminary studies of the inscriptions on them. By comparing these figures to similar materials discovered elsewhere, this paper argues that the function of putting these kinds of wooden figurines in tombs was to avoid misfortune. The last portion of the paper briefly examines the origin of this custom and beliefs behind it. (source: journal)
Dean, Kenneth. "Spirit Mediums and Secular–Religious Divides in Singapore." In The Secular in South, East, and Southeast Asia, edited by Kenneth Dean and Peter van der Veer, 51–81. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
Dean, Kenneth, and Zheng Zhenman. "The Rise of a 'Temple-Centric' Society in Putian in the Song and Later Transformations of the Ritual Sphere." Minsu quyi, no. 205 (2019): 103–159.
Ebner von Eschenbach, Silvia Freiin. “Managing Floods and Droughts by Invocating the Water Spirits: Analyzing Prayers for Rain (daoyu 禱雨) and Prayers for a Clear Sky (qiqing 祈晴). With Some Examples from Local Source Materials of the Song 宋 Dynasty (960-1279).” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 169, no. 1 (2019): 205-229.
Goossaert, Vincent. "Late Imperial Chinese Piety Books." Studies in Chinese Religions 5, no. 1 (2019): 38-54.
Abstract: From the late Ming onwards, the intense production of spirit-written texts, and morality books in particular, resulted in the circulation of a huge amount of religious literature. This led to various processes of canonization. This article examines one of the results of such processes, namely the publication of short compendiums of essential religious knowledge, oriented toward individual practice, that have circulated in Chinese society since the late eighteenth century, and that I call piety books. I first define this genre, introduce several examples published during the early nineteenth century, and then discuss the type of piety that these books recommended and articulated, organized around daily spiritual exercises.
Guo, Man & Carsten Herrmann-Pillath. "Lineage, Food, and Ritual in a Chinese Metropolis." Anthropos 114, no. 1 (2019): 195–207.
Abstract: Thirty years ago, the eminent sinologist James Watson published a paper in Anthropos on 'common pot' dining in the New Territories of Hong Kong, a banquet ritual that differs fundamentally from established social norms in Chinese society. We explore the recent career of the 'common pot' in neighbouring Shenzhen, where it has become an important symbol manifesting the strength and public role of local lineages in the rapidly growing mega-city. We present two cases, the Wen lineage and the Huang lineage. In case of the Wen, we show how the practice relates to their role as landholding groups, organized in a 'Shareholding Cooperative Companies' that is owned collectively by the lineage. In the Huang case, identity politics looms large in the context of globalization. In large-scale 'big common pot festivals' of the global Huang surname association, traditional conceptions of kinship merge with modernist conceptions of national identity (Source: journal)
Gvili, Gal. "Gender and Superstition in Modern Chinese Literature." Religions 10, no. 10 (2019).
Abstract: This article offers a new perspective on the study of the discourse on superstition (mixin) in modern China. Drawing upon recent work on the import of the concept "superstition" to the colonial world during the 19th century, the article intervenes in the current study of the circulation of discursive constructs in area studies. This intervention is done in two ways: first, I identify how in the modern era missionaries and Western empires collaborated in linking anti-superstition thought to discourses on women's liberation. Couched in promises of civilizational progress to cultures who free their women from backward superstitions, this historical connection between empire, gender and modern knowledge urges us to reorient our understanding of superstition merely as the ultimate other of "religion" or "science." Second, in order to explore the nuances of the connection between gender and superstition, I turn to an archive that is currently understudied in the research on superstition in China. I propose that we mine modern Chinese literature by using literary methods. I demonstrate this proposal by reading China's first feminist manifesto, The Women's Bell by Jin Tianhe and the short story Medicine by Lu Xun.
Haar, Barend ter. Religious Culture and Violence in Traditional China. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Abstract: The basis of Chinese religious culture, and with that many aspects of daily life, was the threat and fear of demonic attacks. These were inherently violent and could only be counteracted by violence as well - even if this reactive violence was masked by euphemisms such as execution, expulsion, exorcisms and so on. At the same time, violence was a crucial dimension of the maintenance of norms and values, for instance in sworn agreements or in beliefs about underworld punishment. Violence was also an essential aspect of expressing respect through sacrificial gifts of meat (and in an earlier stage of Chinese culture also human flesh) and through a culture of auto-mutilation and ritual suicide. At the same time, conventional indigenous terms for violence such as bao 暴 were not used for most of these practices since they were not experienced as such, but rather justified as positive uses of physical force.
Haar, Barend J .ter. "The Way of the Nine Palaces (jiugong dao 九宮道): A Lay Buddhist Movement." Studies in Chinese Religions 5, no. 3-4 (2019): 415–432.
Abstract: The Way of the Nine Palaces (jiugong dao 九宮道) was founded in the late nineteenth century by a monk on Mount Wutai. Largely unknown in Western scholarship, it is studied in Chinese scholarship in the context of secret societies. In earlier research I have argued that research on new religious movements in China suffers from negative labelling, which skews our perspective on new developments at the level of lay religious activities. Since this particular movement has been relatively well-studied in Chinese language scholarship, I will use this case to show what insights we can get when we relinquish traditional labels and look at a specific local group or movement in a more empathetic way. In this case we will see that the Way of the Nine Palaces was very much an ordinary lay Buddhist movement in the eyes of northern Chinese believers of the time. Moreover, it is from this regular lay Buddhist perspective that its followers provided crucial financial support to the rebuilding of Mount Wutai in the early twentieth century. Without their support the mountain’s monasteries would not have survived into the present in their relatively well-kept form.
Haar, Barend J. ter. “The Rise of the Northern Chinese Regional Temple Cults: A Case Study of the Worship of King Tang.” Minsu quyi, no. 205 (2019): 161–213.
Haar, Barend J. ter. "The White Lotus Movement and the Use of Chan." Journal of Chan Buddhism 1 (2019): 17–54.
Abstract: In this brief investigation, the author looks at the use of elements of Chan practice in Chinese religious culture in the Yuan period, with a particular focus on the White Lotus movement. The latter movement is often judged to be a Pure Land movement, but this as well as the Chan label are not very useful in understanding actual religious life and writing on the ground. Here the author assumes that the use of a speech- phrase (huatou), the anecdotes known as Public Case (gongan), and belief in a sudden enlightenment are typical of Chan practice. The famous apologist of the White Lotus movement, and Pure Land Buddhism more generally, Pudu 普度 (1255–1330) certainly shared this approach, and it seems that other adherents shared in this view. They all had a view of what Chan should be that did not even diverge very much from each other. They also felt that they were able to pronounce on what were right and wrong interpretations and did not see their own Pure Land practices and Chan practices as mutually exclusive.
Harkness, Ethan. “Seeking an Audience in the Underworld and the Question of the Han Juridical Soul.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 16-31.
Abstract: By considering the Kongjiapo gaodishu (“notice to the underworld”) document of 142 B.C.E. in conjunction with the rishu (“daybook”) manuscript from the same tomb and other examples of gaodishu, this article highlights the function gaodishu served to aid the deceased with meeting important figures in a bureaucratized conception of the underworld. Questions are raised about Han burial practices and contemporaneous social institutions such as chattel slavery. (Source: journal)
Hatfield, D.J. “Remediation and Innovation in Taiwanese Religious Sites: Lukang’s Glass Temple.” Asian Ethnology 78, no. 2 (2019): 263–288.
Abstract: Drawing from the case of Taiwan Hu-sheng Temple, a temple to the God- dess Mazu in Lukang constructed nearly entirely from glass, I argue that multiplicity and remediation have become dominant tropes in Taiwanese ritual life. While both of these tropes rely upon the overall logic of Taiwanese ritual practices, they also foster innovative and entrepreneurial projects to market "local culture" in a variety of new media. Hu-sheng Temple is exceptional: it was constructed to showcase the ingenuity of Taiwanese glass manufacturers, makes connections to environmentalist movements, and represents Taiwanese landscapes as a sacred geography. However, mainstream temples share these features—reflexivity, entrepreneurship, and cosmic projection—in often less obvious forms. Lukang's glass temple provides a lens through which we can better understand the role of remediation in ritual practices, particularly in their entanglements with variously situated attempts to reimagine (and market) Taiwan.
Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten. "Religious Individualisation in China: A Two-Modal Approach." In Religious Individualisation: Historical Dimensions and Comparative Perspectives. Edited by Martin Fuchs et al., 643-668. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
Hu, Anthony. "Encounters between Catholic Missionary Activities and Popular Deities Worshiped in Fujian during the Late Ming and Early Qing Periods: A Study Based on the Kouduo richao. " Orientierungen, Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens 31 (2019): 35–53.
Huang, Weishan. "Globalization as a Tactic – Legal Campaigns of the Falun Gong Diaspora." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 233-255. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
Hung Lichien. “Ritual Healing in Taiwan: The Rite for Concealing the Soul.” Journal of Daoist Studies 12 (2019): 123-140.
Jiang Wen. “To Turn Soybeans into Gold: a Case Study of Mortuary Documents from Ancient China.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 32-51.
Abstract: The Eastern Han period tomb-quelling text of Zhang Shujing 張叔敬, which dates to 173 CE, confirms that living people believed the dead could use soybeans and melon seeds (huangdou guazi 黃豆瓜子) to pay taxes in the underworld. The knowledge of this only came to light with the discovery of the tablet Taiyuan Has a Dead Man (*Taiyuan you sizhe 泰原有死者), which reveals a previously unknown Qin-Han belief that the dead regarded soybeans as gold. I suggest a direct association between the above two beliefs: soybeans and melon seeds were used as substitutes for small natural gold nuggets to pay taxes in the underworld because of their resemblance in shape and color. Furthermore, a huge quantity of painted clay balls shaped like large soybeans (dashu 大菽) are recorded in the Mawangdui 馬王堆 tomb inventories (qiance 遣策), which indirectly supports this interpretation. (Source: journal)
Jin Hui-Han. "The Emperors' New Gifts: Bestowing Sacrificial Necessities and Burial Essentials in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) China." Ming Studies, no. 79 (2019): 2–20.
Abstract: The tradition of granting funerary gifts from the emperor to his prominent ministers can be traced back to the Zhou dynasty. Scholars have agreed that the gifts meant more than assistance in preparing death rituals but were regarded as an honor to the deceased. What has been less discussed in recent scholarship is the role the emperor perceived himself as playing in the death rituals of his ministers through the types of funerary gifts he offered. A dramatic change in the types of funerary gifts bestowed was initiated by the Hongwu Emperor (1368–1398), and this new practice was continued by the subsequent emperors. By looking into the purpose of granting the new gifts and the ways of bestowing them, both of which had changed over the course of the Ming dynasty, we will be able to scrutinize the dynamic relationships between monarchs and officials through the conflicts between emotions and rituals and the adaptability of Confucian prescriptions and practices.
Ju Xi. “The Transformations of Our Lady.” Arts Asiatiques 74 (2019): 45–68.
Abstract: In 1890, the abbot of the Daoist monastery Baiyunguan in Beijing, Gao Rentong, commissioned a painter who remained anonymous to do a set of twenty-one paintings, The Transformations of Our Lady. These paintings show how Bixia yuanjun, an ordinary woman, transformed during her asceticism into a multitude of divided bod- ies before becoming the Primordial Sovereign of the Azure Clouds. Indeed, having become an adept of Daoist inner alchemy, she attained divine status. A specialist in Daoism, Liu Xun put forward the idea that this series owed its origin to the links between Baiyunguan and the imperial court at the end of the Qing (1644–1911), and above all to the Manchu noblewomen. In the article, the author demonstrates that the themes of the Baiyunguan paintings were probably based on the murals of a temple from the early Qing period in Hebei. In addition, she shows that their content, like that of the wall paintings, was taken directly from the Precious Scroll of the Taishan on the origins of the Celestial Immortal and the Holy Mother, a sacred writing (baojuan) that circulated widely in the capital region.
Kipnis, Andrew B. "Funerals and Religious Modernity in China." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 253-272.
Abstract: Modernity in China has involved the establishment of religion as a separate sphere of life, rapid urbanization, and the rise of the profession of funerary work. This paper examines the intersection of these three trends. On the one hand, the professionalization of funerary work takes place outside of religious institutions. It involves the commercialization of funerary work, the separation of the spaces for funerary ritual from the spaces of everyday life, and the need for professionals in a context where death itself is separated from the dynamics of living. On the other hand, because life itself is sacred and death vividly poses questions of the meaning of life, funerary ritual takes on a sacred tone and religious elements enter the proceedings no matter how nonreligious the professionals and the bereaved claim to be. The dynamics of religious modernity, or "the religious question in China," involves the simultaneous compartmentalization of religion and the breaking of the boundaries between the religious and the nonreligious. These dynamics are at the heart of contemporary, urban Chinese funerals. (Source: journal)
Lagerwey, John. "The Continent of the Gods." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 188-208.
Abstract: It first occurred to me some thirty years ago that Shenzhou 神州, translated "continent of the gods," was a perfect way of talking about "China in the Daoist mirror." It made it possible to think of China as a series of concentric spaces, going from the self to the cosmos, all structured in the same away around nodal points occupied by gods. Because it revealed a dense organization at every level, this space-based approach led me as well to call into question the classic distinction between "diffused" and "organized" religion. Subsequent work, both historical and in the field, gradually enabled me to see this as a long evolutionary history which begins with elite attacks on spirit-medium religion in the Warring States and culminates with the emergence of popular religion in the Song. This religion includes popular versions of the Three Teachings, but it is built around the local, anthropomorphic gods whose primary task was the protection of bounded territory and whose natural servants were the ever-maligned spirit-mediums. (Source: journal)
Lin Yu-Sheng 林育生. “The Practices and Networks of Female Yiguan Dao Members in Buddhist Thailand.” Nova Religio 22, no. 3 (2019): 84–107.
Abstract: Yiguan Dao’s similarity to Buddhism is often considered the reason for its expansion in Thailand and its attraction of not only ethnic Chinese members, but also Thai members. However, the teachings, practices, and networks of female Yiguan Dao members in Thailand are exemplary of Yiguan Dao’s discontinuities with established Buddhism in Thailand. In Thai Theravāda Buddhism, women’s full ordination as bhikkhunīs is not recognized by the authorities and much of the public, and women are considered subordinate to men in the religious dimension. Although certain ideas and practices regarding the reform of women’s status in Thai Buddhism have made advances, most reforms continue to face difficulties under the restrictions of the Thai Buddhist establishment. Although some sexist elements exist in its teachings, Yiguan Dao, a new religious movement in modern Thailand existing outside the framework of Buddhism, offers its female members a competitive alternative to women’s religious equality and geographic mobility in the pluralistic Thai religious marketplace.
Moretti, Costantino. “Scenes of Hell and Damnation in Dunhuang Murals.” Arts Asiatiques 74 (2019): 5–30.
Abstract: The descriptions of the various hells in Buddhist eschatological and cosmological literature constitute one of the most fascinating speculations on the characteristics of otherworldly realms elaborated by this religious system, which provides extravagant details on sinners’ atonement processes. While a number of important works have focused on the illustrated manuscripts of the Sūtra on the Ten Kings, which portrays the ten judges of Chinese “purgatory,” the visual narrative describing the theme of hell damnation, as seen in Dunhuang murals, has received less attention. Preliminary research has shown that these illustrations can be divided into at least three different categories: hell representations found in scenes illustrating various sūtras; damnation scenes in cosmological charts; and mural paintings of Dizang/Kṣitigarbha showing bureaucratised representations of the underworld featuring the Ten Kings “system.” This paper sets out the major characteristics of the visual vocabulary of hell representations in Mogao murals that fall into the first two categories.
Olles, Volker. “Die Halle der Reinen und der Pavillon der Acht Trigramme. Teil IV einer Reihe kommentierter Übersetzungen von fünf Inschriften aus der Liumen-Tradition in der daoistischen Anthologie Chongkan Daozang jiyao.” Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 169, no. 2 (2019): 437-453.
Ouyang Nan. "Localizing a Bodhisattva in Late Imperial China: Kṣitigarbha, Mt. Jiuhua, and Their Connections in Precious Scrolls." Journal of Chinese Religions 47, no. 2 (2019): 195-219.
Ownby, David. "The 'Redemption' of Redemptive Societies." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 209-228.
Abstract: "Redemptive societies" is a term often used to refer to the organized expression of salvationist religious activity in Republican period China. These groups were a major part of Chinese social and cultural life in the decades preceding the Communist revolution, and are related, in ways that remain unclear, to the "White Lotus" sectarian traditions under the dynasties, and to the qigong boom of the 1980s and 1990s. This article assesses the state of the field of studies on redemptive societies, and offers suggestions for its future development. (Source: journal)
Palmer, David A. "Folk, Popular, or Minjian Religion?" Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 155-159.
Palmer, David A. "Cosmology, Gender, Structure, and Rhythm Marcel Granet and Chinese Religion in the History of Social Theory." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 160-187
Abstract: This article interrogates the near-complete absence of China as a source of materials and inspiration for constructing theoretical concepts and models in mainstream sociology and anthropology. I outline the story of the largely forgotten mutual engagements, influences, and missed connections between the work of the French sociologist and sinologist Marcel Granet (1884–1940), whose work revolved around Chinese religion, and key figures in the history of sociological and anthropological theory, exemplified by Durkheim, Mauss, and Lévi-Strauss. My purpose is to restore Granet—and, through Granet, China—in the genealogy of classical anthropological and social theory. This involves showing how Granet's work was informed by the theoretical debates that animated his mentors and colleagues in the French sociological school, and how he, in turn, directly or indirectly influenced subsequent theoretical developments. It also involves raising questions about the implications of connections that were missed, or only briefly evoked, by theoreticians in subsequent generations. These questions open bridges for advancing a mutually productive dialogue between the study of Chinese cosmology, religion, and society, and theory construction in sociology and anthropology. (Source: journal)
Pan Junliang. "Rethinking Mediumship in Contemporary Wenzhou." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 229-252.
Abstract: The study of spirit mediums has drawn the attention of international scholars from the 1960s onward, and the topic continues to thrive. Yet little work has been done on spirit mediums in mainland China, which have mainly been glimpsed through studies of mediumship in Taiwan. This article draws on ethnographic research to explore the diverse traditions of spirit mediums in Wenzhou. While spirit mediums are viewed with ambivalence, they play a significant role within broader Chinese folk religions. It is crucial to understand spirit mediums through the appropriate cultural context in order to understand their diverse practices and roles in local society. I discuss why Wenzhou's mediumship should be regarded as a form of shamanism in spite of differences between its discourse and practices and those of Minnan mediumship, as well as those of Siberian or Korean shamanism. (Source: journal)
Pan, Junliang. "Actors, Spaces, and Norms in Chinese Transnational Religious Networks: A Case Study of Wenzhou Migrants in France." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 209-231. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
Paterska-Kubacka, Agnieszka. "Chińskie mity i wierzenia związane z księżycem (yuè 月, yuèliang 月亮)." Roczniki Humanistyczne 67, no. 9 (2019): 101–118.
Abstract: This article is an attempt to gather in one place the most popular myths, symbols and characters associated with the Moon. It has been divided into two parts. The first part refers to legends and presents residents of the Silver Globe (Chang'e, bunny/rabbit, toad/frog, Wu Gang) and objects located there (cinnamon tree, Moon Palace). The second part is an attempt to scientifically verify these beliefs and myths. It refers to such issues as frog deity and Moon deity in the context of femininity, fertility and immortality. Next, it deals with the relationship between Moon and number "seven." The last two sections briefly discuss the traditional Chinese holidays, connected with the Moon (Mid Autumn Festival and Double Seventh Festival) and the Chinese Lunar Exploration Project, which could be a modern proof of the Chinese people's attachment to traditions and popular beliefs (names of space vehicles).
Peng, Mu. Religion and Religious Practices in Rural China. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2019.
Abstract: This book explores how, unlike in the West, the daily religious life of most Chinese people spreads without institutional propagation. Based upon more than a decade of field research in rural China, the book demonstrates the decisive role of rites of passage and yearly festival rituals held in every household in shaping people's religious dispositions. It focuses on the family, the unit most central to Chinese culture and society, and reveals the repertoire embodied in daily life in a world envisioned as comprising both the "yin" world of ancestors, spirits, and ghosts, and the "yang" world of the living. It discusses especially the concept of bai, which refers to both concrete bodily movements that express respect and awe, such as bowing, kneeling, or holding up ritual offerings, and to people's religious inclinations and dispositions, which indicate that they are aware of a spiritual realm that is separate from yet close to the world of the living. Overall, the book shows that the daily practices of religion are not a separate sphere, but rather belief and ritual integrated into a way of dwelling in a world envisaged as consisting of both the "yin" and the "yang" worlds that regularly communicate with each other.
Ptak, Roderich. “Fujianese Migrants and the Mazu Cult in Xiangshan, circa 1200–1550: Some Observations and Questions.” Orientierungen, Zeitschrift zur Kultur Asiens 31 (2019): 9–34.
Abstract: Fujianese migrants carried the Mazu cult to various locations along the China coast. This process already began in Song times. One area which repeatedly absorbed migrants from Fujian was the county of Xiangshan 香山, then a separate island, now forming part of the Guangdong mainland, especially of Zhuhai 珠海. The arrival of Fujianese merchants and settlers in Xiangshan gradually turned that county into an area with a strong seaward orientation. This involved the peninsula of Macau, where the Portuguese started to build houses from the mid 1550s onward. Merchants from Ryukyu and Southeast Asia, many of which were of Fujianese descent, also visited Xiangshan. The article summarizes the links between sea trade, possible economic changes, local demographic trends and the early presence of the Mazu cult on the island. It suggests that this cult became an important element in a kind of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural matrix that pre-dates the rise of Macau.
Shahar, Meir. "Newly-Discovered Manuscripts of a Northern-Chinese Horse King Temple Association." T'oung Pao 105, no. 1-2 (2019): 183–228.
Abstract: Written documents from rural north China are rare. This essay examines the newly-discovered records of a Shanxi village association, which was dedicated to the cult of the Horse King. The manuscripts detail the activities, revenues, and expenditures of the Horse King temple association over a hundred-year period (from 1852 until 1956). The essay examines them from social, cultural, and religious perspectives. The manuscripts reveal the internal workings and communal values of a late imperial village association. They unravel the social and economic structure of the village and the centrality of theater in rural culture. Furthermore, the manuscripts bring to the fore a forgotten cult and its ecological background: the Horse King was among the most widely worshiped deities of late imperial China, his flourishing cult reflecting the significance of his protégés – horses, donkeys, and mules – in the agrarian economy.
Tan, Chris K.K., Xin Wang, and Shasha Chen. "Corpse Brides: Yinhun and the Macabre Agency of Cadavers in Contemporary Chinese Ghost Marriages." Asian Studies Review 43, no. 1 (2019): 148-163.
Abstract: Recently, Chinese newspapers have captured the attention of their readers with stories of criminals pillaging graves and murdering people to obtain corpses to sell for use in "ghost marriages" (yinhun, 阴婚). One sensationalistic report even claims that "150,000 yuan (US$22,000) won't even get you bones". When the state casts yinhun as a "culturally backward" superstition incongruent with national visions of modernity, how are we to understand the resurgence of this practice? By tracing the history of ghost marriages, we argue that yinhun corpses are simultaneously dead and alive. Adapting Gell's theory of the agency of art, we maintain that yinhun corpses may be traded as lifeless commodities, but they also possess powerful living agency that critically undergirds the social efficacy of the ghost-marriage ritual. Indeed, these cadavers perform a sort of macabre affective labour that soothes the anxieties of the living. As such, this article deepens our understanding of what we mean by "commodity".
Tian Tian. “From ‘Clothing Strips’ to Clothing Lists: Tomb Inventories and Western Han Funerary Ritual.” Bamboo and Silk 2, no.1 (2019): 32-86.
Abstract: “Clothing strips” refers to those sections of tomb inventories written on bamboo and wooden slips from the early and middle Western Han that record clothing items. The distinctive characteristics of the writing, check markings, and placement in the tomb of these clothing strips reflect funerary burial conventions of that period. “Clothing lists” from the latter part of the Western Han period are directly related to these clothing strips. Differences in format between these two types of documents are the result of changes in funerary ritual during the Western Han period. (source: journal)
Wang, Xiaoxuan. “‘Folk Belief,’ Cultural Turn of Secular Governance and Shifting Religious Landscape in Contemporary China.” In The Secular in South, East, and Southeast Asia, edited by Kenneth Dean and Peter van der Veer, 137–164. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.