Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Vernacular "fiction" and celestial script : a daoist manual for the use of water margin
Authors: Meulenbeld, M 
Keywords: Shuihu zhuan
Celestial script
Literary interpretation
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI)
Source: Religions, Sept. 2019, v. 10, no. 9, 518, p. 1-28 How to cite?
Journal: Religions 
Abstract: This article maps out a sphere of ritual practice that recognizably serves as a framework for the famous Ming dynasty (1368-1644) vernacular narrative Water Margin ((sic)& x6ef8;& x50b3; Shuihu zhuan). By establishing a set of primary referents that are ritual in nature, I question the habit of applying the modern category of "literary fiction" in a universalizing, secular way, marginalizing or metaphorizing Daoist elements. I argue that literary analysis can only be fruitful if it is done within the parameters of ritual. Although I tie the story's ritual framework to specific Daoist procedures for imprisoning demonic spirits throughout the article, my initial focus is on a genre of revelatory writing known as "celestial script" ((sic)& x66f8; tianshu). This type of script is given much attention at important moments in the story and it is simultaneously known from Daoist ritual texts. I show a firm link between Water Margin and the uses of "celestial script" by presenting a nineteenth century Daoist ordination manual that contains "celestial script" for each of Water Margin's 108 heroic protagonists.
EISSN: 2077-1444
DOI: 10.3390/rel10090518
Rights: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
The following publication Meulenbeld, M. Vernacular “Fiction” and Celestial Script: A Daoist Manual for the Use of Water Margin. Religions 2019, 10, 518, 1-28 is available at
Appears in Collections:Journal/Magazine Article

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Meulenbeld_Fiction_Celestial_Daoist.pdf9.11 MBAdobe PDFView/Open
View full-text via PolyU eLinks SFX Query
Show full item record
PIRA download icon_1.1View/Download Contents

Page view(s)

Citations as of May 6, 2020


Citations as of May 6, 2020

Google ScholarTM



Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.