Chinese Religion and Rural Cohesion in the Nineteenth Century

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:
Chinese Religion and Rural Cohesion in the Nineteenth Century

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In China in the nineteenth century some of the most important ideas which were religious, or had religious implications, linked the destiny of individuals to their ancestors; to numerous gods and sanctified worthies; and to certain cosmic “ethers” and “elements” and their process. Rural China was by no means homogeneous in the nineteenth century. It was dotted with villages of different size and composition: some, particularly in the south-east, consisted of single lineages or “clans.” Religion entered into the organization of such communities everywhere to some extent. The nineteenth century was a time when villages had to provide a great deal in the way of their own control and often appealed to religious ideas to do so. The chapter deals four kinds of religious association and semi-religious association in rural life and it begins with an analysis of ancestral cults.

Keywords: rural life; China; clans; religion; religious association; semi-religious association; ancestral cults

Chapter.  13457 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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