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The Power of Invisibility: The Making of a Martial Goddess in Daoism and Chinese Vernacular Fiction

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2020-21 School of Chinese Online Seminar

The Power of Invisibility:

The Making of a Martial Goddess in Daoism and Chinese Vernacular Fiction


Dr. Peng Liu


Rutgers University


Date日期: May 10, 2021 (Monday)

Time時間: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Venue地點: via Zoom

Language演講語言: English英文

https://hku.zoom.us/j/94302780557?pwd=U3pOQXJUSUlqU3JEcFAwcTVLN0kxQT09 [1]

Zoom Meeting ID: 943 0278 0557

Password: 247022


Concealing a hero’s body and helping him defeat enemies, the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens is a powerful goddess in Daoism and Chinese vernacular fiction. Her divine power and military wisdom invite us to investigate her identity and the process of her creation. In this talk, Dr. Liu takes an interdisciplinary approach to these issues, using textual and visual evidence to show how Daoism and the Ming (1368–1644) novel Water Margin perpetuated the Mysterious Woman’s role as a warrior protectress. As Dr. Liu shows, during the Tang and Song periods, a set of Daoist texts strengthened her role as a warrior protectress by giving prominence to her magic of concealing the body and to magic concerning the worship of the Northern Dipper; a Daoist ordination ceremony in the Ming imperial court elevated her status and turned her into a tutelary goddess of the state; against this background, Water Margin popularized esoteric Daoist knowledge pertaining to the Mysterious Woman, making this female divinity’s story accessible to common readers and preventing her from falling into oblivion.



Peng Liu is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at Rutgers University. Dr. Liu received his first doctorate in Buddhism and Medieval Chinese Literature from Fudan University and his second doctorate in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. His current book project investigates how late imperial Chinese fiction popularized Daoist goddess cults that would otherwise have been marginalized or forgotten.


ALL are welcome

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URL to article: http://web.chinese.hku.hk/main/2021/04/26/the-power-of-invisibility-the-making-of-a-martial-goddess-in-daoism-and-chinese-vernacular-fiction/

URLs in this post:

[1] https://hku.zoom.us/j/94302780557?pwd=U3pOQXJUSUlqU3JEcFAwcTVLN0kxQT09: https://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fhku.zoom.us%2Fj%2F94302780557%3Fpwd%3DU3pOQXJUSUlqU3JEcFAwcTVLN0kxQT09&data=04%7C01%7Cpeng.liu%40rutgers.edu%7C7af7719c008b4fea1d2908d8fafbc97c%7Cb92d2b234d35447093ff69aca6632ffe%7C1%7C1%7C637535306623769700%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C2000&sdata=ym4xQH83wAEtkCFH2mzws0%2BeE81l1YTxV84f9LkZAQk%3D&reserved=0

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