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Religious culture at the centre of social organisation 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Religious culture at the centre of social organisation 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Religious culture at the centre of social organisation 1

2 our terms please keep in mind: religious culture & social organization our terms (etic) to analyse something else analytical terms do not necessarily represent the entire phenomenon, just a dimension older terminology diffused religion Little Traditions 2

3 their framework kinship in sources as: zu, xing, jia etc. constructed, partly on basis of biological descent residence in sources as: cun, zhen and so forth natural village increasingly unimportant from Song onwards provenance usually migration history kinship-units temporary migration (huiguan ) 3

4 networks network: worship ancestors => group claiming shared descent deities =>group claiming shared residence or provenance professional deity (late) => group sharing profession (including Confucius!) All-under-Heaven => privilege Son-of-Heaven 4

5 family and ancestors 5

6 family kinship unit consisted of those people who claimed common descent from a shared ancestor pure biological unit adoption exogamy based on family name potential exclusion bad elements, daughters, prematurely deceased children status differences family of official could build long term groups reform early Jiajing reign (1521-1567)=> every family could construct larger units 6

7 ancestors lopsided research dominated by southern China and relatively recent period (Fujian and Guangdong since the Ming) earlier periods only covered in secular terms (groups without the ritual core) ancestors at the core direct ancestors worshipped at home more distant ancestors worshipped elsewhere nowadays: return home to worship ancestors and renew bonds 7

8 relevant rituals during the marriage-rituals: crucial moment of transition, point of no ritual return creating a group (family) and incorporating within larger unit NB marriage ritual also contain exorcist rites (ex. crossing of wok) daily small-scale sacrifice at family altar (core family) refreshing sense of family funerary rituals refreshing the larger kin unit and networking NB funerary rituals also contain exorcist rites (ex. feeding sheng–bird) rituals for the dead / => rituals support Buddhist institutions to maintain post-mortem services (burning lamps to rituals on fixed days) collective ancestor worship (continued next slide) 8

9 9, (Malaysia)

10 collective worship larger kinship units through worship Song onwards esp. through funerary ritual and maintaining Buddhist grave cults (elite families) Jiajing (1521-1567) reforms, esp. important in Fujian and Cantonese cultural areas => allowed creation lineages higher order ancestor allows larger groups ancestral hall hall owns land and engages in projects (avoid taxes on persons) common enterprises: opening up land, school arise in regions where pre-Han cultures (esp. Yao-She) put stress on larger kinship units 10

11 commentary not essentially Confucian predecessors already documented for the Shang label (!) as Confucian is result Qing reappropriation of the lineage as Neoconfucian/classicist and the May Fourth movement attacks on kinship Buddhist connections funerary ritual in general Ghost Festival narrative since Tang Feeding Ghosts for Flaming Mouths since early Song debate among Christian (Roman Catholic) missionaries Jesuit vs Dominican+Franciscan debate: Chinese Rites controversy is it religion or commemoration viewpoint of the Non-Action Teachings 11

12 residential groups and deities 12

13 village (classical cult) outdoor worship stones and trees seem to be inhabited ( anecdotes) still in existence, esp. southern China-Vietnam (single cultural zone) tree worship in Jinhua (S. Zhejiang), no doubt elsewhere as well ? living trees ( ) worship by village as a whole spring and autumn sacrifice (before and after the N. Chinese harvest) sharing of meat and alcohol often led by mediums/shamans (still much unclear) reinvention of tradition early Ming Zhu Yuanzhang & Neoconfucian advisors imposition altar worship on basis of classical texts 13

14 14 (TW) (PRC) HK

15 village (premodern cult) anthropomorphic worship God of the Earth partly instead, partly next to the older cults, their relationship and evolution still needs study different types named xx etc. generic statue of generic deity: pink face, grey hair, holds bar of gold roofed over shrine (rich communities may have temples) worship by the village (later also street) on deitys birthdays (no direct link agricultural season anymore) reporting of village deceased=> sense of membership of community 15

16 territorial : charismatic territorial deity controls territory and its community of worshippers communal representation & benefits ascribed formal rites (state, communal, Daoist, Buddhist) charismatic deity helps whoever worships personal requests & benefits explains: erratic nature of benefits voluntary inspired rites (shamans, mediums) 16

17 higher territorial cults higher territorial cults always encompassed lower level territorial units as well Travelling Palace (Temple) of the Eastern Marchmount & City God underworld cult in charge of a Daoist bureaucracy of exorcist deities urban temples acme of tribute paying hierarchy of shrines and temples: enact imperial structure mostly temples for heroes (see further on) territory marked by processions & tribute may leave his territory spreads with the groups that worship him/her 17

18 18 1930

19 higher territorial cults (continued) hero/heroine cults evolve from successful cults for hungry ghosts (e.g. ) to whom divine assistance is ascribed (e.g., ) receive socially & politically acceptable histories (ex. / and official titles by the state in recognition of the support groups conceptualized as feudal relationship: emperor, king, duke, etc. who rule over territory (not bureaucratic) forms of assistance collective/communal help (examples) weather-related infectious diseases protection community against bandits etc. not at expense of individual members group not very communicative moonblocks & prayers, maybe dreams, rarely possession 19

20 20 (Taiwan) (Macao) ( )

21 membership territorial cult membership is conditional: residential in the territory right to work land or shared provenance must be expressed through contributions & presence/participation no exceptions (treat Christian case) not everybody (treat migrants/kejia ) beware for: vocabulary of belief/membership 21

22 charismatic cults treated in more detail in lecture five on shamans and mediums, here brief discussion to complete my analytical picture not based on territorial units, but on personal attraction & bond Max Webers concept of charismacharisma in the eyes of the beholder, not an absolute quality: belief by followers that someone possesses extraordinary qualities outside institutionalized structures, not bound (NB there may be cultural conventions about what counts as charismatic) charismatic deity helps individuals personal support is always at expense of others (law of limited good) deity him/herself also typically outside the system (naughty, unruly, disobedient) liminal figures boluo fox liminal creatures live between here and there => can mediate between worlds (good), can come to attack us (bad) origins: incomplete transition (hungry ghosts/demons ) non-humans changing form (animals, trees/plants, stones) humans attaining life beyond life (immortals) typically very direct communication through mediums 22

23 23 boluo fox

24 regional differences 24 little systematic study lack of local sources for the north until mid-Ming good local sources for Yangzi region from Song onwards good local sources for parts of Fujian from Song onwards, otherwise mid-Ming onwards rest of southern China mid-Ming onwards or even later distortion by recording mostly officially recognized cults impression based on Ming local gazetteers far more local variety in the south (reflects diverse origins south) figures classical mythology (Tang, Shun, Yao etc.) worshipped in regions original exploits (mostly north) supra-regional cults mostly southern origin (<= trade)

25 a historical hypothesis 25 previous remarks largely typological, some historical comments: EXTREMELY tentative overall historical change originally: nature worship + demons + charismatic deities late Tang onwards nature worship replaced/superseded by anthropomorphic deities charismatic deities start becoming territorial deities spread supra-local deities with trade, military expeditions, some migration no extreme standardisation pantheon Watson 1985 based on misunderstanding local gazetteers countercases: Taiwan, Yin county etc.

26 professional groups 26

27 Guilds and Kaufmannschaften Guilds (hang ) worship of mythical inventor (curiously largely late imperial period, although guilds themselves already attested in Song period) their centre usually located in temples (Eastern Marchmount two famous examples, in Changxing during the Southern Song and Beijing during the late imperial period) Kaufmannschaften esp. late Ming onwards-early Republican period replaced by Chambers of Commerce (early 20 th century) focus on regional deity network building, common festivals, burial sites maybe engagement in charitable activities surprisingly little defense common interest 27

28 28 incenseburner

29 Confucians Classicist school & Temple for Confucius focus for officials & literati who worshipped Confucius => origin Western (Jesuit) term Confucians those who worship Confucius and other classicist heroes as their patriarchs or ancestors through sacrifice creation of lineages of teachers and pupils 29

30 30 Temple of Confucius (Tainan), note invented rituals

31 sacrificial practice 31

32 basis of all ritual burning incense sacrifice alcoholic drinks: tea meat: fruit raw: cooked pay respect (hands, bowing, kowtow) making representations contact with extra-humans possession soul travel encounters (often unaware at first) dreams (surprisingly one way) prognostication moonblocks 32

33 33

34 society and politics 34

35 government supervision 35 until Tang most local cults similar Earth deities (stones, trees etc.) state did not care for the local world highest elites organized separately through Buddhist and Daoist institutions=> these had to be controlled from late Tang or Five Dynasties onwards economic growth in some regions led to broader elite in those regions new types of territorial cults supervising/controlling/recognizing territorial cults means of making the loyal community & their leaders loyal to the imperial centre

36 research questions why was destroying local cults so important in the 1950s what does destruction ancestor worship mean for kinship groups? how do villages maintain unity in absence of worship (or did, in the Maoist period) regional differences and their significance 36


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