Maps

The Li family has long been the most prestigious Daoist ritual band in Yanggao, and remains so today, but until the 1950s there were over twenty villages in the county with Daoist groups, mostly in the area south of the town around Baideng (Map—you can inspect these in enlarged view, of course). And here I’m only talking about groups of ritual specialists—there were many more individual yinyang who determined the date, decorated coffins, and so on.

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My explorations of Li Manshan’s home village have been facilitated by the map that he carefully drew for me in 2012. It is hard for a European to imagine how exciting this map is. We take for granted all the detailed maps of English villages stretching way back, and perhaps photos dating back many decades, even paintings dating back centuries; whereas I suspect Li Manshan’s map is the only ever depiction of his village. His careful indications of the former temples and Daoists’ houses show how alive they remain in his heart.

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Upper Liangyuan village, drawn by Li Manshan in 2012