Tag Archives: traditions

Divination (Bǔshì 卜筮)

John G. BLAIR and Jerusha McCORMACK A fortuneteller in a nineteenth-century photograph. Harvard Yenching Library Archives. COURTESY OF JOAN LEBOLD COHEN. Since prehistoric times Chinese have tried to predict the future by interpreting oracle bones, signs in the sky, and … Continue reading

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Religion, Folk (Mínjiān zōngjiào 民間宗教)

Terence C. RUSSELL Wood engraving of a Thunder God. Throughout the premodern era the masses of the Chinese people, most of whom lived in small rural villages, remained faithful to their local gods. But they also perceived that the world … Continue reading

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Religious Practice, Contemporary (Dāngdài zōngjiào huódòng 当代宗教活动)

Jinghao ZHOU Chinese people clamoring to touch the stone lion at the 1,700-year-old Guangxiaosi Buddhist temple. There are reportedly more than 100 million religious believers in modern China, and most profess faith in one of these three traditions—Confucianism, Daosim, and … Continue reading

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Religious Practice, Historical (Shǐshàng zōngjiào huódòng 史上宗教活动)

Jinghao ZHOU Historical illustration of worship of Heaven and Earth at New Year. Ancestral religion during imperial China involved worshipping ancestors as well as four types of gods: heavenly gods, earthly gods, human spirits, and material gods. Correspondingly, it sanctioned … Continue reading

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Political Participation (Zhèngzhì cānyù 政治参与)

Thomas HEBERER Passersby view a list of candidates for a municipal election in the northwest district of Beijing. China’s traditional political culture allowed the majority of the population only a small role in local and national politics. PHOTO BY JOAN … Continue reading

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Tai Chi (Tàijíquán 太极拳)

Michael G. DAVIS A group of men practice tai chi on the Bund in Shanghai, circa 1970. An admiring crowd has gathered to watch. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN. Tai chi is a martial art practiced worldwide whose gentle structured … Continue reading

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Goldfish (Jīnyú 金鱼)

Haiwang YUAN A crowd views the goldfish at San Frank Park in Hangzhou. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN. Goldfish, or jinyu 金鱼, are ornamental aquarium and pond fish originally cultured in China that later were spread to East Asia and … Continue reading

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Ami Harvest Festival (Āměizú fēngniánjì 阿美族丰年祭)

Bent NIELSEN Boys coming by in turn to sing and dance in front of the elders, 1989. PHOTO BY UBE YAMAGUCHI. As one of Taiwan’s aboriginal tribes, the Ami continue to live together in villages and practice their ancient customs … Continue reading

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Hungry Ghost Festival (Zhōngyuánjié 中元节)

YEOH Seng-Guan Supplicants come to a temple in southern China to burn joss (incense) sticks to please their ancestors. They also bring food and drink to feed the hungry spirits. PHOTO BY JOAN LEBOLD COHEN. Celebrants believe that during the … Continue reading

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Qingming Festival (Qīngmíngjié 清明节)

Haiwang YUAN In the handscroll Peace Reigns over the River, by Zhang Zeduan and believed by art historians to depict the celebration of the Qing-Ming Festival in modern-day Kaifeng, street hawkers offer food, drink, and fans to passersby. Officially reinstated … Continue reading

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