The Alienation of Spiritual Existence: Temple Festivals and Temple Fairs in Old Beijing
Association of Cambridge Studies
MetadataShow full item record
Yue, Y. (2016). The Alienation of Spiritual Existence: Temple Festivals and Temple Fairs in Old Beijing. 11 (1), 1. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.4519
The wall-confined Old Beijing was a rural city in an agricultural civilization. Its ruralism is reflected by the sacredness of revering earth and also by isomorphic space aesthetics of houses, streets and the city. All kinds of temples, such as Gong, Guan, Miao, An, Ci, Tan, and Si 宫观庙庵祠坛寺, were distributed in Old Beijing according to their own ranks and attributes. In addition, the Three Mountains and Five Summits (Sanshan Wuding, 三山五顶) which enshrined the Lady of Taishan (Bixia Yuanjun, 碧霞元君) were regarded to be surrounding and protecting the capital city. There were even numerous small temples in ordinary streets and lanes, such as the Nine Dragons and Two Tigers (Jiulong Erhu, 九龙二虎) in Xizhimennei Street. The once prevalent cult of Four Sacred Animals (Sidamen, 四大门) has enabled the space of many households in Old Beijing to bear more or less the properties of a temple. Accordingly, temple festivals in Old Beijing were spiritual existence connected with the leisure and graceful life of the Bannermen and intensively revealed their daily life and individual values. The Western civilization has been set as the model in China by most of native elites in different periods since 1840. There has inevitably been a process of secularizing and stigmatizing the worship-centred temple festivals in Old Beijing. Temple festivals have generally deteriorated to displays of manpower and lust for material goods. With the intangible cultural heritage movement since the 21st century, temple fairs have returned to temple festivals to a limited extend.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.4519
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/260288