The ever-vibrant religious life of southeast China has been the subject of considerable research. Among the voluminous monographs on Buddhist and Daoist ritual of the Hakka people in east Guangdong (see also here, under “Keep calm and carry on”), women feature but rarely; but they play a major role in folk religious life—as mediums, sectarians, organizers, and worshippers (among many posts, mainly for north China, see e.g. here, and the trilogy starting here).
I now learn of a fine 92-minute film
- Under goddesses’ shelter (姑婆, Yang Yufei, 2016).
Like our very own Li Manshan, and Adeline Herrou’s Maître Feng, it’s a portrait film, about the daily life of the 80-year-old nun (“vegetarian woman”) Liu Yunxiang and the temple-based observances of her Hakka community in Meizhou, adherents of the Xiantian jiao 先天教 sect. You can watch it via this site, by clicking on “Website”—here’s the link:
I’ve noted the tensions between historical and ethnographic approaches to fieldwork. No mere paean to timeless oriental spirituality, the film has rich detail on changing social life.
Tastefully used on the soundtrack is the qin piece Remembering an old friend.