Handbook on Religion in China
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Handbook on Religion in China

Edited by Stephan Feuchtwang

Informative and eye-opening, the Handbook on Religion in China provides a uniquely broad insight into the contemporary Chinese variations of Buddhism, Islam and Christianity. In turn, China's own religions and transmissions of rites and systems of divination have spread beyond China, a progression that is explored in detail across 19 chapters, written by leading experts in the field.
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Chapter 14: Migration myth and ancestral roads in southwest China

Peter Guangpei Ran


Myths and ritual enactments of those myths of long-distance migration by ancestors, which the dead must retrace, characterize the ritual practices of a large number of western and southwestern Chinese non-Han peoples. Their ritual experts through spirit journeys and pictographic scriptural texts guide them and their attachments to local spirits of springs, trees and rocks. This chapter illustrates these practices and the way they are embedded in everyday life through one example, the Naxi of western Yunnan province. Typically, it tells of the incursions of Han Chinese, forced migration and the destruction of homelands, in the face of which the preservation of these myths and practices make sense and preserve belonging.

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