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Cultural Exploration, Accommodation and Fusion: On Customs and Beliefs in the Lake Dongting Region in Northern Song

Special Issue
Zhen LI (Party School of CPC Chenzhou Municipal Committee)

In the twelfth-century work "Records of Local Customs in Yueyang", the section on "customs of Jiangxi" is not actually a description of the Jiangxi West Circuit but rather of the local Chu people. Jiangxi here refers to alluvial islands in western Baling county. In the northern Song, the customs and beliefs of the Lake Dongting region were frequently explained by reference to legends of the earlier pacification of the south by the central government. This reflects not only the extension of central government power but also efforts to demonstrate the orthodox status and preserve the continuity of local culture. Within a common cultural landscape, different social groups maintained their own cultural views and behaviors. The formation of social practices and beliefs in a particular area is not the product of simple adoption but rather reflects a historical process involving cultural exploration, accommodation and fusion among local tradition, commercial society, and the state order.

Journal of History and Anthropology