HARVARD EAST ASIAN MONOGRAPHS
Cover: Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China, from Harvard University PressCover: Spectacle and Sacrifice in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 315

Spectacle and Sacrifice

The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$49.95 • £39.95 • €45.00

ISBN 9780674033047

Publication Date: 03/15/2010

Text

450 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

15 halftones, 2 maps

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs

World, subsidiary rights restricted

This book is about the ritual world of a group of rural settlements in Shanxi province in pre-1949 North China. Temple festivals, with their giant processions, elaborate rituals, and operas, were the most important influence on the symbolic universe of ordinary villagers and demonstrate their remarkable capacity for religious and artistic creation. The great festivals described in this book were their supreme collective achievements and were carried out virtually without assistance from local officials or educated elites, clerical or lay.

Chinese culture was a performance culture, and ritual was the highest form of performance. Village ritual life everywhere in pre-revolutionary China was complex, conservative, and extraordinarily diverse. Festivals and their associated rituals and operas provided the emotional and intellectual materials out of which ordinary people constructed their ideas about the world of men and the realm of the gods. It is, David Johnson argues, impossible to form an adequate idea of traditional Chinese society without a thorough understanding of village ritual. Newly discovered liturgical manuscripts allow him to reconstruct North Chinese temple festivals in unprecedented detail and prove that they are sharply different from the Daoist- and Buddhist-based communal rituals of South China.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, by Beth Lew-Williams, from Harvard University Press

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Part II

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’re showcasing titles that document the Asian American experience. Our second excerpt comes from Beth Lew-Williams’s prizewinning book The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, which historian Richard White describes as “a powerful argument about racial violence that could not be more timely.” Monday night, Gong was asleep in his tent when the vigilantes returned