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Peach Spring: A Ritual and Cultural History

Posted By admin On 11:53 AM In Past Events 2020-21 | Comments Disabled

2020-21 School of Chinese Online Seminar

Peach Spring: A Ritual and Cultural History


Dr. Mark Meulenbeld


Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Date日期: May 12, 2021 (Wednesday)

Time時間: 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Venue地點: via Zoom

Language演講語言: English英文

https://hku.zoom.us/j/98215705216?pwd=T2oxQkJKREJhbkdLVGpWd1h0MkE3dz09 [1]

Zoom Meeting ID: 982 1570 5216

Password: 752767


Though long seen uniquely from the perspective of the Chinese literary canon, Tao Qian’s 陶潛 (365?-427) famous “Record of the Peach Blossom Spring” (“Taohuayuan ji” 桃花源記) may find an even more fruitful disciplinary home in religious studies. The story refers itself to a grotto at Wuling 武陵 (nowadays northern Hunan province, PRC), a site that has been associated with Daoist “transcendents” (shenxian 神仙) at least since the middle of the sixth century. An older Daoist monastery on that same site, the Peach Spring Abbey (Taoyuan guan 桃源觀) or Peach Blossom Abbey (Taohua guan 桃花觀), became officially recognized in 748 and received imperial support not long after. This article studies the long history of Peach Spring as a sacred site, or, as Tao Qian referred to it in his poem, a “divine realm” (shenjie 神界). It also discusses the living ritual tradition in Hunan that revolves around the female transcendents (“Immortal Mothers,” xianniang 仙娘) in the grotto, and the significance of all this for understanding the ways in which culture circulated before modernity.

陶潛(365? – 427)著名作品《桃花源記》長久以來多被視為一篇文學的經典;但今日若我們想要充分挖掘其價值,由宗教研究的方向取徑應更有發展潛力。陶潛的故事開篇即直指位於武陵(現湖南省北部)的一個洞室絕境,該地至少從六世紀中葉已經和道教的神仙信仰有所關聯。位於該地的古道觀桃源觀,又稱桃花觀,也於748年得到官方認可,並在不久之後就得到了宮廷的護持。本演講就作為道教聖地桃源(陶潛在《桃花源詩》中稱之為「神界」)的悠長歷史展開細緻的研究。其次,則考察圍繞在洞中所有女性神仙(「仙娘」)的活躍儀式傳統,以進一步了解古代文化傳播的基本流通渠道。


Mark Meulenbeld (MA, Leiden; PhD, Princeton) has held positions as instructor at Bryn Mawr College (2006 – 07), and as Assistant & Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2007 – 17). Currently he teaches Chinese Religion at the HK Polytechnic University (2017 – ). He focuses on Daoism and its interaction with local cults (“folk religion”), especially from the perspective of ritual, divinity, narrative, and community. He studies “locality” (relating it to the “mainstream”), and combines text and practice through intensive fieldwork. His work focuses mostly on the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644) and the modern period, often combining both.

梅林寶 (Mark Meulenbeld), 荷蘭萊頓大學漢學研究院碩士,美國普林斯頓大學東亞系博士。曾任教于布林莫爾學院 (2006 – 07)、威斯康辛大學麥迪遜分校助理教授、副教授 (2007 – 17),現任香港理工大學中國文化學系副教授 (2017 – )。教學領域以中國宗教為主。研究集中在從儀式、神學、傳說、以及社會的面向解析道教與地方香火的互動關係。他的廣泛研究興趣在於地方傳統與文化主流的互動,並通過長期田野調查結合對文本與實踐的檢視。部分研究著眼於明代、當代現象,常常主張歷史現象與當代實踐之間的承續關係。

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URL to article: http://web.chinese.hku.hk/main/2021/04/26/peach-spring-a-ritual-and-cultural-history/

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[1] https://hku.zoom.us/j/98215705216?pwd=T2oxQkJKREJhbkdLVGpWd1h0MkE3dz09: https://hku.zoom.us/j/98215705216?pwd=T2oxQkJKREJhbkdLVGpWd1h0MkE3dz09

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