Folk and temple ritual in Ningxia

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NX Daoist

Continuing my series on local ritual in north China, the province of Ningxia, between Shaanbei and Gansu, looks to have lively traditions of Daoist and Buddhist ritual, both temple-based and household.

Of course Ningxia is better known for its Hui Muslim population—and the recent clampdowns. But Han Chinese make up around two thirds of the inhabitants, and their Buddhist and Daoist ritual activity is widespread, with a long history. One scholar has estimated that there are over thirty thousand household Daoists active there!

With no personal experience of fieldwork there, my little introduction is based on limited secondary sources, merely suggesting the kind of spadework one should do before venturing into the field. I set forth from the instrumental volume of the Anthology of folk music of the Chinese peoples, itself resulting from fieldwork in the late 1980s to early 90s. As usual, while I dispute the very concept of “religious music”, I’m grateful for all the clues there.

Still using the Anthology, I also add a note on “Buddhist precious scrolls” and “Daoist morality tales” performed by devotional sectarian groups in Gansu.

 

3 thoughts on “Folk and temple ritual in Ningxia

  1. Dear Steve, I have been following your blog with great interest for a few months. I find your posts instructive and entertaining. I myself have been researching the Taoist deities for 40years+ and working on a longtime project to produce a compendium of Chinese Deities. I notice lately that you have been focusing on the area of my own particular interest. I would so love to see the scrolls and murals you post more clearly in a larger format. If you like I could help identify some of these Deities for you. I do not read Mandarin, and have lived in Singapore /Malaysia for the last 50 years. The northern style of Taoism is naturally different from the southern mainly Fujian diaspora I’m living amongst. So it would be of great interest to view a closer look at those Deities on the scrolls and paintings that you post here. I write occasionally to Hannibal. And admire greatly his mural preservation efforts. Best Ronni (Pinsler)

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    • Good! Actually, deities are more Hannibal’s scene, and that of most sinologists; I go more for ritual performance and ethnography. There are innumerable Chinese compilations of deities too. As you say, it’s all very different from the south…

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  2. Great, Steve! You’re back publishing on these topics–you are indefatigable!

    On Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 11:46 AM, Stephen Jones: a blog wrote:

    > StephenJones.blog posted: “*For main page, click here!* Continuing my > series on local ritual in north China, the province of Ningxia, between > Shaanbei and Gansu, looks to have lively traditions of Daoist and Buddhist > ritual, both temple-based and household. Of course Ningxia is ” >

    Liked by 1 person

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