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 stalks of plants. The newest form of divination practiced in China is feng shui. Divination (practices that seek to predict […]
Post Tagged with: "traditions"
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 was inhabited and affected by great numbers of unseen forces and beings. The objective of folk religion was to enlist […]
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 Buddhism. As of 2007 China had about 13,000 Buddhist temples and 200,000 Buddhist monks and nuns. PHOTO BY ROBERT EATON. […]
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 four types of worship: of heaven, of land (Earth), of ancestors, and of grain. The Chinese people believed that their […]
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 and rituals. The most significant of their traditional celebrations, commonly known as the Harvest Festival, is still held annually throughout […]
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 annual Hungry Ghost Festival the gates of hell are thrown open, and ghosts are once again free to roam and […]
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 as an official holiday in 2007, the Qingming (clear and bright 清明) Festival is a day of both sorrow and joy. […]