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Title: The Dark Emperor’s law : a Daoist temple and its codification of rituals in Hunan
Authors: Meulenbeld, M 
Keywords: Hunan
Dark Emperor
Yuxu Gong
Ritual codification
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Routledge
Source: Studies in Chinese religions, v. 4, no. 1, p. 66-111 How to cite?
Journal: Studies in Chinese religions 
Abstract: This article investigates different types of rituals that constitute the Daoist repertoire of Yangyuan Village in Hunan (PRC). I first show that the ‘indigenous’ Meishan rituals represent an older – possibly non–Han – stratum of the Yangyuan repertoire. Revolving around mountains, grottoes and other landmarks of the local sacred geography, it nonetheless bears the traces of inter-regional exchange between Hunan, Jiangxi, and Fujian – an exchange that can be situated in a historical context. Secondly, I show that the local liturgies of Yangyuan are permeated with references to the codifying authority of the regional Daoist institution called Yuxu Gong, and that its rituals were synthesized under the judicial aegis of this temple’s main divinity, the Dark Emperor. It is this exorcist god to whom the divine offices of the law enforcers of Tianxin report. Finally, I make a case for reconsidering the role commonly attributed to Ming dynasty ‘vernacular fiction.’ Instead of serving solely as a source of narrative entertainment, it provided knowledge about ritual traditions and the authoritative institutions associated with them, such as the Yuxu Gong.
ISSN: 2372-9988
EISSN: 2372-9996
DOI: 10.1080/23729988.2018.1429143
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