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The Temple System and Village Organization in Gaoping since Tang-Song: The Cult of the Two Immortals

Special Issue
Danni Luo (Zhonghua Book Company)
Year: 
2010
Volume: 
8
Number: 
1
Page: 
107-159
Full text (PDF): 
Abstract: 

The cult of the Two Immortals is a distinctive religious form in southeastern Shanxi. Many temples to the cult survive to the present in Huguan, Linchuan, Gaoping, Jincheng and Changzhi counties. According to historical records, the four largest temples to the cult in Gaoping county were those located at Mt. Cuiping, at Xilimen village, in the county seat, and one temple located between Xilimen and Zhangzhuang villages but which is no longer extant. A study of the stone inscriptions commemorating successive reconstructions of these temples indicates considerable differences between the historical background preceding their initial foundation and subsequent development. Moreover there are also differences between the development of the temple networks and the modes of integration of village society. This article explores how the gods of a popular cult to two women of the Yue surname in the pre-Jin and Yuan period became transformed into the orthodox cult of the Two Immortals, Chongshu and Chonghui, and inscribed in the register of state sacrifices. Historical analysis reveals that the stories of the two immortals are a form of historical narrative. Its formation and historical development process is one whereby in different historical phases, different people have added different elements, and this process has been closely linked to the development of local society.

Journal of History and Anthropology