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My first experience of the New Year’s rituals in the Lantern Tent,
South Gaoluo 1989.
Under the Gaoluo sub-menu (Other publications > Gaoluo) I’ve just added a page on the early history of the village, like so:
My 2004 book Plucking the winds, an ethnography of Gaoluo and its amateur ritual association, mainly concerns the village’s fortunes under Maoism and since. Since history may seem to have been obliterated by the successive turmoils of the 20th century, I felt glad enough to be able to sketch the story as far back as the Republican era and even the late Qing. And thanks largely to talented village litterateur Shan Fuyi (b.1940), I went on to learn clues to the village’s founding in the Yuan–Ming transition and its fortunes through the Qing dynasty. The new page provides notes on the main lineages, local temples, the “parish” 社, “precious scrolls” 寶卷, and early ritual life.
The story of the Republican era continues with Ritual images: Gaoluo. But first, remarkably, a major trauma in the village in May 1900 is substantially documented in official sources, a story told in my post on the village Catholics.
All this was the background to the ritual associations that I got to know through the 1990s. It’s hard enough to reach definitive conclusions about ritual life today, but in this case at least we can observe, and ask…