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(posted in the series on Local ritual, under Themes in the main menu)
This is among my more superficial introductions to changing ritual life over a wide region, the northeastern province of Liaoning.
I set forth from Ling Qizhen’s 1958 study of “Buddhist music” (shengguan wind ensemble) in Shenyang, moving on to the 1980s’ Anthology accounts of Buddhist and Daoist (largely temple) activity, and Li Runzhong’s fine detailed “salvage” ethnography from Panjin municipality.
Change is constant, not only in the vast social upheavals since the early 20th century but in the adoption of the “southern” style of vocal liturgy and the decline of the shengguan wind ensemble. But here it does appear that the ritual practice of household ritual specialists was much impoverished by the 1950s, and any folk activity today remains elusive.
So as with some of my other reports, this is a mere introduction to tempt people to continue such fieldwork.