In the top menu, I compiled this first page of images of the Li family Daoists early in my blogging days. Since then I’ve added many more posts and photos, but this selection makes a good introduction, so I’ve now overhauled them to make a handy way of surveying some of the topics covered there, giving links—in addition to the sub-heads of the Li family category in the sidebar.

Li Manshan doing ritual paperwork, 2003

Li Manshan doing paperwork for Hoisting the Pennant ritual, Lower Liangyuan 2003.

Li Bin’s first funeral shop in town.

Li Bin’s funeral shop in Yanggao town, 2011.

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Li Manshan performs the Invitation ritual, 2009.

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Li Manshan decorates a coffin, Houguantun 2013.

LPS and wife

Li Peisen (1910–85) played a crucial role in the lineage’s Daoist transmission, with his wife.


Li Peisen’s cave-dwelling in Yang Pagoda village, where he spent the entire Maoist period relatively undisturbed. 

Li Qing copying ritual texts. Left, “Bestowing Food” manual, last page:
Recorded by Li Qing, disciple resident in Upper Liangyuan village, the Complete Numinous Treasure Comprehensive Ritual for Bestowing Food manual in 69 pages, completed on the 3rd day of the 5th moon, 1982 CE.
Right, copying ritual document for funeral, 1991.

Ten Kings painting (detail) by Artisan the Sixth, early 1980s.

The Pardon, 1991

The Pardon ritual, 1991 (see my film, from 48.35).

Li Qing in the Datong Arts Work Troupe, 1959. His four years there (1958–62) were a brief interlude in a lifetime of ritual practice.

Li Qing on sheng during an informal session at his house, 1991.

vocal trio 2001

Vocal trio, 2001: Li Manshan, Golden Noble, Li Bin.


Golden Noble at the soul hall, with conch and flag, 2011.

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Mobile phones and motor-bikes have facilitated ritual life, along with subtle changes to ritual practice.

Before the coffin, 2011. The vocal liturgists (Li Manshan, Wang Ding, Golden Noble), and the shengguan group (Li Bin, Wu Mei, Yang Ying).

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The ritual percussion instruments: right to left, drum, bo cymbals, guo small cymbals, conch, yunluo gongs, dangdang gong, nao cymbals.

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Over the day the Daoists make seven processions from scripture hall to soul hall and back to Deliver the Scriptures, as well as public rituals like Hoisting the Pennant, Fetching Water, the Invitation, the burial, and so on.

53 GN and WM amused cropped

Relaxing in the scripture hall between rituals, Golden Noble and Wu Mei amused by my notebook.

Fetching Water, 2011

Fetching Water (see film, from 41.05), Pansi village 2011.

At the grave

At the grave, Yangguantun 2011.

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Li Manshan pastes up exorcistic talismans around the house of the deceased.

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The wind instruments, 2003. The candle wax is for tuning the reeds of the sheng mouth-organ. The dizi flute has since fallen out of use.


The earliest instruments in the Li family collection, from the Hongwu era of the Ming dynasty. Seriously though folks, I found them in the county-town as presents for the youngest son of Li Manshan’s second daughter.