Hebei: new discoveries

In the recent, ongoing, fieldwork project continuing our work on the Hebei ritual associations, led by the energetic Qi Yi 齐易, most exciting for me so far is new material on Hubenyi 虎贲驿 village.


In Plucking the Winds (pp.90–92) I told how the beautiful surviving copy of the Houtu scroll of Gaoluo village was copied by Ma Xiantu, a cultured teacher and sectarian from Hubenyi village just further northeast. Then teaching in Beijing, he first borrowed the old copy of the scroll from South Gaoluo “to supplement the deficiency of my village’s Hongyang Holy Association”. His brother-in-law, South Gaoluo villager Shan Hongfu, was also staying in Beijing, and watched Ma Xiantu copying the scroll; he then bought more paper and asked Ma to make another copy for South Gaoluo. So Ma Xiantu copied it every day after school. He started copying the scroll in the 6th moon of 1942, and completed it in the 1st moon of 1943, finally adding the punctuation in red while he visited South Gaoluo to hand it over formally to the Association for the New Year’s rituals.

The 2015 fieldwork at Hubenyi, though not mentioning Ma Xiantu or the Houtu scroll, revealed further Hongyang scriptures, including an old copy of the Hunyuanjiao Hongyang zhonghua baojing 混元教弘陽中華寶經. Qi Yi and Song Yingtao 荣英涛 have collected basic data, so with bated breath I await a study from scholars of folk sectarian religion, for whom this whole area is such a rich field… And who will supplement our work on the Foshihui 佛事會 ritual associations around Yixian county?

For Hunyuan and Hongyang sects in the region, see my In Search of the folk Daoists of north China, Part Three.

6 thoughts on “Hebei: new discoveries

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