Paper Charms, and Prayer Sheets as Adjuncts to Chinese Worship

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
Paper Charms, and Prayer Sheets as Adjuncts to Chinese Worship

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There are few Chinese rites for which some kind of paper charm or prayer sheet is not necessary. Some of these papers are specific to a particular rite but many may be used in a general way to cover most of the misfortunes which man may encounter wherever he lives. Some charms can be used for several or all of these purposes, but an individual may prefer, or by trial and error come to regard as more potent, a particular one of the many varieties available. Charms generally carry religious texts, sometimes in Sanskrit or Pali translated phonetically into Chinese characters, and some have a drawing of the god or saint appealed to. Mystic symbols are used to donate constellations, and archaic writing adds power to a charm. Paper charms are of various kinds, usually with the functions they claim to perform printed on them in bold letters. One of the commonest kinds is the fu2 amulet.

Keywords: Chinese rites; paper charm; prayer sheet; misfortunes; religious texts; Sanskrit; Pali; mystic symbols; amulet

Chapter.  5438 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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