Gaoluo 1989

My 2004 book

  • Plucking the winds: lives of village musicians in old and new China (Leiden: CHIME, with CD)

is a detailed historical ethnography of the ritual association of South Gaoluo village in Hebei—from empire to Republic, Maoist and reform eras. Under this revised sub-menu are some vignettes, on

These overlap to some extent, so it’s worth reading them in conjunction. You can find much more material related to Gaoluo with the help of the Gaoluo tag in the sidebar—including posts on women, and on funeral rituals. While these vignettes make for digestible reading, I do encourage you to read the book from cover to cover!

For an extensive series of field reports on other groups around the region, see under Local ritual. Further related themes are the ritual life of temples in old Beijing, and the Qujiaying association (posts linked here).


Before studying with Li Manshan in north Shanxi, my study of the whole history of Gaoluo was my most in-depth fieldwork, and in some ways it’s the most detailed ethnography I’ve done. For a comparison of my methods at the two sites, see here.