The Village of "Two Dragons" and the Village of "Dragon and
Tiger": A Field Study of Fengshui in Two Zhejiang Villages
Fengshui geomancy embodies
oriental perceptions of the natural environment. Fengshui may be considered a
traditional form of folk environmental assessment, the object of which is to
find a "comfortable" environment for human beings, including the
deceased. Theories of fengshui originated in ancient China, later influencing not
only China proper, but also various regions in East Asia. That is, geomantic
beliefs found their way into the Korean Peninsula, later exerting indirect
influence as well on ancient Japanese culture in such forms as the theories of yin-yang and wu-xing. From the early modern period,
concepts of fengshui were introduced into Ryukyu by Ryukyuan students returning
from studying in China. At present, theories of fengshui are popular in East
Asia, as well as in the overseas Chinese communities of Southeast Asia.
Fengshui geomancy asserts that
the movements of nature control human fate. Such cosmic movements are
conceptualised as qi, a mysterious energy arising from the interaction of heaven
and earth. Qi is born at the summit of mountains, descending along mountain ridges
called long-mai ("dragon veins"). Qi accumulates in basins
surrounded by mountains regarded as dragons, and such locations are called xue ("dragon's
lairs"). It is the geomancer's job to locate such xue in order to identify the
mingtang ("bright hall"), the ideal favorable geomantic location for
the accumulation of qi in nature. Furthermore, qi can be blown away by wind, or
washed away by water. A site surrounded by mountains at the back and on both
sides, and where a river flows gently is, therefore, considered an ideal
geomantic location. Practitioners of fengshui have techniques for deciphering
geographical features and water currents in order to find auspicious sites
where the mysterious power of qi exerts a favorable influence on
man, and identifying such a site is believed to bring good fortune. Since fengshui is a conceptual
framework for locating the ideal environment, it has influenced various aspects
of the human habitat, from domicile, the location of residential settlements
and cities, to graves, the dwellings of the dead. Thus, fengshui constitutes a vital
element in the study of these aspects of the human environment.
definition of fengshui has gradually been gaining acceptance in Japan in recent
years, and has begun to become a subject for academic discussions.
Interdisciplinary research by scholars of anthropology, folklore, religion,
oriental history, Ryukyuan history, architecture, and other related areas has
also been conducted.
three types of topics for research into fengshui. First, the metaphysical framework
of fengshui, which lays down its basic principles. Numerous great historical
thinkers have built up a systematic body of knowledge in this area, and the
fruits of their labor are recorded in the geomancy books. The common people do
not really possess such knowledge, and only specialists like geomancers are
well-versed in such principles. Fengshui divinations are made on specific
occasions based on such specialist knowledge, while common folk, faced with
particular situations in their daily life, attempt to apply whatever knowledge
of fengshui they may have acquired to usher in good fortune. That is to say, there
are two levels of geomancy: a body of knowledge of fengshui metaphysical principles
contained in geomancy books, and the practical applications of fengshui by the common people.
The geomancers, who learn the theories of fengshui from the geomancy books
and who respond to the people's needs based on their learning, bridge the gap
between the two.
metaphysical framework of fengshui has been dealt with in other
studies of China, and we will not treat this aspect here. Instead, this
study will focus on how concepts of fengshui are utilised and interpreted on the
Chinese mainland at the folk level. Many cultural anthropological studies of fengshui have been conducted in
Hong Kong or Taiwan, but very few in mainland China, particularly at the
village level. This paper will discuss the popularly accepted concepts of fengshui, particularly with
regard to the location of the village. The material derives from short-term
fieldwork conducted in two villages in Zhejiang Province.
of field research on fengshui in mainland China is different from other Han
Chinese societies in several respects. Having experienced tremendous social and
cultural changes during the Cultural Revolution, Confucianism, Taoism, and
other forms of religious belief were banned in China until recently, and fengshui was no exception. It was
prohibited on the grounds of being a superstitious set of beliefs. Numerous
books on geomancy, compasses (luo-pan), and other equipment used for fengshui divinations were burnt
or destroyed, and needless to say, geomancers were not permitted to practice.
However, since the freedom of religion has been recognised after the
implementation of the economic reforms and the open door policy in China,
various forms of religion have been revived. Amid such changes, how have the
common folk re-adopted fengshui? In other words, the primary purpose of this
research is to observe through field work in Chinese villages how the fengshui concepts have been
integrated into the life of the people, focusing on how such concepts have
changed after weathering the Cultural Revolution.
this paper compares two villages, one Han Chinese village and a She nationality
village in central Zhejiang. Since fengshui is basically a Han cultural trait,
the purpose is to see how a minority nationality has accepted it.
The Village of "Two Dragons"
village studied in this paper is a rural Han Chinese village in the Jinhua
region located in the central hilly region of Zhejiang Province. Jinhua is
nationally famous for Jinhua ham. Field work was conducted in Yao Village,
Dianshan Township to the northwest of Lanxi City, which is in turn located to
the northwest of the center of the Jinhua region. Yao Village has a long
history. It is said that the ancestors of the Yao lineage came from Shaoxing in
northern Zhejiang during the Jianyan era of the Southern Song Dynasty, about
860 years ago. People presently residing in the village are from twenty-second
to twenty-eighth generation descendants of the original inhabitants. It is a
relatively large village consisting of more than 300 households (329
households, according to 1982 statistics). An overwhelming majority of the
villagers belong to the Yao lineage. A few people with other surnames moved to
this village after Liberation.
their knowledge of the ideal fengshui, how do the Yao Village folk
interpret the location of their village? As can be seen from Figure 1, a narrow
row of low hills stretches from north to south to the west of Yao Village. The
villagers call this a dragon. A local temple, Xialong Miao, is located at the
southern end of the hills, and this is said to be the dragon's head. This is
also the starting point of the narrow expanse of hills stretching northward.
The hilly area directly to the west of the village serves as the playground of
the middle school, and sometimes as the drying ground for grain during the
harvest season. This area used to be overgrown with a thick carpet of cogon
grass, and was regarded as the dragon's back. The cogon grass was the dragon's
scales and cutting this down was absolutely out of the question because this
would undermine the fengshui and bring misfortune. However, at present, the cogon
grass has been completely razed, and the area is now simply a wide expanse of
dragon's tail extends to the north, reaching Huangda Mountain. Qi is supposed to flow reversely
from this mountain along the hills to the dragon's head, or Xialong Miao. To
contain this qi, in the past, the villagers planted camphor trees on the
slopes to the east of Xialong Miao facing the village settlement, and on the
slopes from the ridge of the hills regarded as the dragon's back down to the
settlement. These trees were called fengshui trees. In the past, sick village
children were ritually adopted by the fengshui trees, but these camphor trees were
also cut down soon after Liberation and are nowhere to be found today.
river and the road to the east of the village, there is another small hill.
This is the starting point of the ridge of a stretch of low hills running to
the southeast. The villagers regard this small hill as the head of another
dragon. Looking from the village, this dragon's head is a cliff rising about
ten meters high. On top of the hill is the grave of one of the ancestors of the
second and largest branch of the Yao lineage. This site towers high over the
village in the east, and in the past, a spring flowed abundantly under the
cliff. The people referred to this as the dragon's saliva, and thought that the
spring symbolised "safety in all four seasons of the year". A small
bridge had also been built at the site, and this was referred to as the
Yao villagers think of their village as a site surrounded by two dragons, and
call themselves "the Yaos of Dragon Mountain". Such a belief does not
merely come from a vague idea of the location of their village, but is based on
a firm interpretation of fengshui in the image of dragons.
of hills extending from Huangda Mountain to behind the village, and thereby
guarding the village, is the western dragon. The village settlement itself is
built on the slopes ascending to the western dragon, and almost all houses face
the east. The hills behind the village form the back of the dragon, which used
to have "scales" on it. The southern end of the row of hills is
interpreted as the dragon's head, with the Xialong Miao located right here at
this strategic site, and, as mentioned earlier, fengshui trees used to cover the
slopes from the temple to the village to contain the qi. Thus, the Yao Village
people's interpretation of the fengshui of their village in relation to the
western dragon certainly takes into account the qi which flows along the
range of hills.
The ideal fengshui model envisages that a
village settlement should be located at a site surrounded by two mountain
ranges sharing the same summit, the "ancestral mountain", and
stretching to the left and to the right. These two mountain ranges are the
"dragon on the left" and the "tiger on the right", and the
enclosed area between them is the ming-tang.
In the case
of Yao Village, the western and eastern hills belong to different mountain
ranges. They are not equivalents of the "dragon on the left" and
"tiger on the right." Qi directly affecting the village
comes more strongly from the western dragon, but substantial importance is also
attached to the eastern dragon's head. For one thing, the grave of one of Yao
Village's prominent ancestors is located there. To the descendants of Yao
Village, the fengshui of that site is ideal for the grave. By locating the
ancestral grave there, the peace and safety of the villagers is maintained.
For a long
time, this spring water (the "dragon's saliva") was used for drinking
and washing. Apparently water flowed abundantly from the eastern dragon's head
the whole year round, and the spring never dried up even during droughts.
Furthermore, the significance of this spring water far exceeded its practical
uses, for it converged into the river flowing in front of the village. The flow
of the water course was also an important element in interpretations of fengshui.
body of water of great importance for Yao Village is the river running in front
of the village settlement, that is from left to right when seen from the
village. Water from this river is used for washing clothes and vegetables, and
irrigating the paddy fields, and it plays an important role in the daily life
of the villagers.
standpoint of the ideal fengshui, it is a significant fact that a
river runs in front of Yao Village. Professional geomancers would be able to
make various fengshui divinations based on the direction of flow, and the shape
of the twists and turns of the river. But because no geomancer resided in the
village, the villagers were not able to provide any information. In Yao
village, the people do not talk about the fengshui of shui-mai ("water
veins") as enthusiastically as that of the long mai.
Rituals relating to the dragon and fengshui
mentioned above, the Yao villagers refer to the landscape around the village as
dragons. Such a perception is not limited to their view of the location of the
village. During such ritual occasions as prayers for rain or the Dragon Lantern
Festival, Yao Village concretely displays its character as the village of the
A ritual to
pray for rain has not been held for more than forty years; it was performed in
1944 when there was a particularly serious drought, and also during the land
reform period around 1950. The ritual is recalled as having been performed in
the following fashion. A suitable man was selected from those born in the year
with the same gan-zhi (heavenly stems and celestial branches) as the year of the
ritual. Covering his head with a blue cloth and wearing a black waist band, and
accompanied by the village menfolk, he travelled to the Shuilingdian Temple in
Jingpan Mountain about thirty li (fifteen kilometers) north of Yao Village with
a vase called the "dragon vase" to fetch water. Shuilingdian is a miao for worshipping the
dragon. This sacred dragon was called shui-long (water dragon) or fengshui-long. The procession to the miao was accompanied by the
sound of trumpets and gongs. A dragon was believed to reside in a spring near
the Shuilingdian. The man stirred the water with a stick to make shrimp-like
insects and small fish come up to the surface. He then put these little
creatures in the dragon vase and brought them back to the village. These
insects and fish were believed to be dragons. The dragon vase was then placed
on a makeshift altar set up in front of the Xialong Miao, the village temple.
At the same time, the figures of the deities in the miao were also brought out to
dry in the sun.
is the god of water. It is quite common for the dragon to be worshipped during
a ritual to pray for rain. In the case of Yao Village, surrogates of the dragon
were invited from the spring near Shuilingdian to Xialong Miao to pray for
rain. Since Xialong Miao is known to be the spot containing the qi from the mountain range,
the ritual prayer for rain was intended to invite the dragon's water to this
site, and cause rain to fall.
Lantern Festival is held each year on the 6th day of the first lunar month. On
the morning of the festival, wooden carvings of the dragon's head and tail are
placed on the yu-tai ("Rain Stage") located in the center of the
village, together with various offerings. Toward evening, each household brings
in the long-jie, or wooden sections of the dragon's body they keep at
home. These sections are linked with the head and tail to become a dragon
measuring a few hundred meters in length. The villagers, carrying this dragon,
march around inside and outside the village, and the course they take is
closely related to the western dragon. The dragon lantern, starting from the yu-tai, first goes up to the
open ground in front of the middle school, which is known as the dragon's
scales, then heads north along the dragon's back. The procession then goes
down from the northern side of the village along the river to the eastern side
of the village, and proceeds southward to the Xialong Miao. From there, the
villagers again ascend the dragon's back, and head north again; they go around
the village several times, following the same route. After that, the procession
visits the Hugong Miao in neighbouring Dianxia Village to the north, then
returns to Yao Village, there circling around in the open ground on the
dragon's back. When this comes to an end, the villagers collect their section
of the dragon's body, and to the sound of the gong they all rush back home. At
present, the dragon's head is kept at the village cultural center, but in the
past, it was returned to the Xialong Miao for safekeeping.
Lantern Festival serves as a form of entertainment during the spring festival
(lunar new year). The act of worshipping the dragon also constitutes a ritual
to pray for household prosperity. The dragon lantern procession goes from the
Xialong Miao, which is the western dragon's head, to the dragon's back, and
generally follows the path of the western dragon. By taking such a route, the qi of the dragon's vein is
revitalised, and during the finale of the procession, the villagers go round
and round on the dragon's back, thus collecting the dragon's qi. At the end, by bringing
home their section of the dragon's body, the villagers obtain the qi it embodies.
the dragon's back is an important spot in this process. Before Liberation, a
festival called Qingjie-Jiao was held here after the harvest, and this was also
the site for another ritual called Zhen-Long. Zhen-Long was a ritual held before
Liberation in years when there was a particularly large number of deaths or
when epidemics prevailed. Taoist priests were called to climb up to the
dragon's vein to shake the dragon by the sound of trumpets and gongs. This was
done to revitalise the dragon's qi and drive away evil qi. Both the ritual to pray
for rain and the Dragon Lantern Festival are certainly attempts to make good
use of the western dragon's qi.
The Village of the "Dragon and Tiger"
fieldwork site, Shangen Village, is part of Lishui City, which lies further
south down the Wuyi River from Jinhua City. Lishui City is located in the
highlands of southern Zhejiang Province, and the Jinhua region, the urban
center, is surrounded by high mountains. Settlements of the She minority
nationality spread out at the foot of the mountains. Shangen Village is a She
nationality village lying eight kilometers south from the center of Lishui at
the foot of Daliang Mountain which rises to an altitude of 868 meters at the
nationality are a minority group who live in the mountainous areas of southeast
China (see also Segawa, this
volume). They coexist with the Han Chinese by trading local products, such as
timber, tea and tea-oil with them. Traditionally, they were a migrant group
engaged in slash-and-burn farming. The ancestors of the people of Shangen
Village can be traced back to Guangdong Province. They came north to Lishui
passing through Fujian Province and the present Jingning She Nationality
Autonomous County and Yunhe County in Zhejiang.
of the location of Shangen Village
to folklore in the area, the ancestors of Shangen Village came here about 200
years ago. At first, they lived in thatched huts located even deeper in the
mountains. It is said that during those days, fengshui had nothing to do with
house-building. The land further down the mountain belonged to the Han in
Zhouan Village. The She people practiced slash-and-burn agriculture in the
wasteland. Eventually, they managed to buy land and establish the village on
its present site.
Shangen Village, as an administrative unit, is made up of five natural
villages. Each of the settlements lies in a ravine flanked by mountain ridges
both on the left and on the right (see Figure 2). Looking from the village
settlements, pointed ridges stretching from mountains
behind the village flank the village from both sides. The villagers call these
"dragon on the left" and "tiger on the right".
The use of
the terms "dragon on the left" and "tiger on the right"
certainly shows that Shangen villagers have some knowledge of fengshui. Yet the village folk
assert that even without asking a geomancer, any She villager would know from
experience that village settlements are built on sites like this. Since their
ancestors moved from one place to another in the highlands, their experience in
chosing the geographical environment for building village settlements and
houses has become part of the She nationality's folk knowledge.
At least in
the late Qing Dynasty, however, there was a geomancer in the village and fengshui interpretations and
divinations were made based on the shape of the mountains, the topography and
the flow of water around the village. For instance, Wumutou Village is flanked
on the left and right by dragon veins branching off from Dafengling Mountain,
forming what is said to be the shape of a phoenix. The ideal fengshui would have been that the
"tiger on the right" should be longer, but in the case of Wumutou,
the "dragon on the left" is longer and looks more imposing. Thus, in
this village, "nobody becomes a bureaucrat, and nobody gets rich"
(cf. Nie, this volume: 93-4).
Nevertheless, the layers of mountains right in front of the village are by no
means bad in terms of fengshui, and it is believed that the village will be blessed
with many sons. Indeed, 60 % of the village population are male. On the other
hand, the natural village of Shangen, which has the benefit of being embraced
by dragon veins, is a village with many oratorical talents according to the
principles of fengshui. Political leaders of the five natural villages have always
come from Shangen.
interpretations of fengshui, particularly those regarding male population and
the holders of political power, may have merely resulted from the geomancers'
applying theories of fengshui flexibly to suit their own purposes; they might have
just reversed cause and effect. However, the villagers have taken their words
as gospel truth.
Fengshui relating to houses and graves
framework of houses in Shangen Village is built of wood, with wooden posts and
beams. The walls are made of mud, constructed by filling the wooden frames with
pounded earth. The structure of the houses is quite similar to those of the
Han. In this village, the geomancer is consulted on every single detail when
building a house, from determining the direction the house faces, to the
rituals of purifying the construction site, ground-breaking, and
framework-raising. In this respect, Shangen Village resembles Yao Village, but
there are a number of disparities in the procedures of the rituals.
sites are also selected with utmost care. The services of geomancers are
engaged to make a decision based on the landscape and the ba-zi (eight characters
indicating the year, month, day and hour of birth) of the deceased. During the
burial, details like the time of burial and the direction the coffin should
face are also determined by the geomancers. The methods used are quite the same
as those of the Han Chinese. This, in a sense, is not surprising. The
existence of practitioners of fengshui, and reliance on them to judge the fengshui of houses and graves
means that Shangen Village also depends on the body of knowledge of fengshui principles, which are,
in any case, common to all geomancers. Thus, the results of fengshui divinations on the
location of villages, houses, and graves by geomancers, whether they belong to
the Han or She nationality, are all identical.
Village, the fengshui of the village's location is interpreted in terms of two
dragons, and this has become part of the village's heritage. The mountain
ridges referred to as dragons, Xialong Miao located at the dragon's head, the
open ground on the dragon's back - strategic points of fengshui - are also places
where rituals are performed to pray for rain, or during the Dragon Lantern
Festival. Fengshui is not simply a separate entity which determines the merits
or demerits of the geographical environment, or a body of knowledge influencing
the fate of the villagers. It has become an organic part of their folklore.
This characterises the fengshui principles which have become an integral part of the
heritage of Yao Village.
during the Cultural Revolution, folklore relating to fengshui was criticised as evil
old customs, and geomancers were banned from engaging in fengshui-related activities. This
had serious repercussions. Xiaolong Miao was as good as closed, and the cogon
grass thriving on the dragon's back, together with the fengshui trees were cut down.
the fengshui of houses, while it is a fact that geomancers used to be deeply
involved in determining the direction houses faced, or chosing an auspicious
day for construction rituals, the villagers now claim that "we do not have
geomancers in this village," because geomancers have stopped practicing
their trade since the Cultural Revolution.
visited the house of an old cadre in the village, we learned that the entrance
from the street to the yard had been moved from the front to the left side of
the house. When asked about the reason, the old man claimed that the old
entrance was inconvenient. Yet, the old entrance led to a main street, while
the new entrance now opens to a small alley. Evidently, the new entrance would
be more inconvenient for daily use, but the old cadre insisted that the change
was not made on account of fengshui, and that nobody believed in fengshui any more.
As can be
seen from the above, the present political situation in China is still not
conducive to actively expressing one's belief in fengshui. Moreover, in Yao
Village, for instance, functions relating to fengshui have been eliminated
from the temple, while fengshui trees and geomancers no longer exist. Officially,
belief in fengshui is no longer a part of the village's religious life, and on
the surface, geomancers do not make fengshui divinations any more.
the individual level, customs directly or indirectly connected with fengshui can still be found, or
have been revived in the people's daily life. For example, mirrors, or ba-gua (eight trigrams), or the
sign of tai-qi adorn many a doorway in Yao Village to drive away the evil
spirits, and many houses have a zhao-qiang (a wall blocking the view from
outside) right in front of the main gate. Even though the people refuse to say
so, it is easy enough to observe that folk customs relating to fengshui of the house are alive
and thriving, or have been revived, and there are evident efforts to shut out
evil spirits and usher in good fortune based on fengshui beliefs. Despite various
pressures to suppress them in the past, customs having to do with fengshui remain deeply rooted at
the individual level. This tendency is particularly pronounced with regard to
houses and graves, which are closely related to the lives of individuals.
other hand, Shangen Village is a village of the She nationality. The She's
adoption of systematic fengshui knowledge probably does not have a long history.
This can be deduced from the testimony of Shangen Village elders that when the
She first migrated here and were living in thatched huts, they did not have the
custom of looking at fengshui. Moreover, systematic fengshui knowledge was probably
introduced into Shangen Village by geomancers who had access to such knowledge.
This, conceivably, occurred through contacts with the Han Chinese nearby.
Village, there is a man who claims to be a geomancer. He was born in 1911. At
the age of sixteen, he entered apprenticeship with a geomancer in Shangen
Village on the advice of his father. He received instruction for twelve years,
but from the third year, he had become able to make fengshui divinations on his own.
He has had six apprentices, two of them She from Shangen Village, and the other
four Han from other villages. Villages further down the foot of the mountain
from Shangen are all inhabited by Hans. The Shangen villagers have daily
contacts with the Hans. They are, therefore, able to speak both the She
language and the Lishui dialect. The Shangen geomancer was able to teach his
Han pupils in the Lishui dialect, and he had also been asked by nearby Han
Chinese to do fengshui divinations. He was a geomancer trusted not only by Shangen
Village, but also by the nearby Han Chinese. However, during the Cultural
Revolution, "a whole mountain heap" of his books of geomancy were
burned, and as a result, he has hardly practiced geomancy since then.
Village, through its contacts with the nearby Han Chinese, has selectively
adopted various elements of Han culture. This can be seen, for instance, in the
transformation from thatched huts to the present houses identical with those of
the Han people. There has also been constant interaction between She and Han
customs and practices through their daily contacts. However, indigenous She
religious beliefs and customs are also maintained. In such a cultural
environment, it is believed that fengshui was introduced into the village and
popularised directly by the geomancers. For this reason, as described in the
previous section, geomancers are deeply involved in every detail of the fengshui of houses, from the
selection of a construction site, to the choice of dates for construction
rituals, to the performance of such rituals. Moreover, while not as well-versed
as the geomancers, there are a number of old people in the village who possess
enough specialised knowledge of fengshui to select an auspicious day for
certain rituals or to determine the direction a house should face. Even at
present, they are asked to determine the dates for constructing a new house, or
fireplace, or grave, or for burials and the celebration of weddings and
important birthdays. It seems that Shangen Village does not take as
negative an attitude towards fengshui as Yao Village. However, while
pictures of the door god are pasted on the door, Shangen villagers have not
been observed to hang mirrors outside the door or to have other formulas for
averting malign influences. Unlike in Yao Village, concepts of fengshui in Shangen Village have
not been integrated with other folk beliefs. Knowledge of fengshui has been introduced, and
eventually, has taken root through the geomancers. This has influenced only She
folklore concerning the location of the village, and of the houses and graves
within the entire body of She folklore in Shangen Village.
As Freedman wrote: "Fengshui is not like most of the
rest of Chinese religion; there is no reliance on the will of a deity; there
are no gods to serve or placate." He also observed that "faith in
geomancy may well survive a change in religion." For sure, theories of
fengshui do not conflict with the gods of other religions. Thus, it could be
accepted by non-Han nationalities with indigenous religious belief systems with
relative ease. In this respect, the fengshui ideology has the inherent ability
to spread across ethnic boundaries. Therefore, in the case of Shangen Village,
while She folklore is preserved to a considerable extent, fengshui is used only when making
divinations about the village, houses and graves. Fengshui coexists harmoniously
with She culture.
has discussed fengshui interpretations of the village's location and fengshui relating to houses in
Yao Village, a Han Chinese village, and Shangen Village, a village inhabited by
the She nationality. In Yao Village, fengshui concepts concerning the village's
location and houses do not stand on their own. Fengshui here is characterised by
close links with other folk customs among the villagers. Research on fengshui in Chinese communities
has so far focused on issues of the principles of fengshui, or direct and indirect
links between fengshui and the location of villages, houses and graves. However,
since concepts of fengshui exist alongside other folklore, it is, therefore, in
the future, also necessary to look into the role of fengshui in the entire body of
local folklore in the Han Chinese communities in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan,
where fengshui has a long history as an integral part of folk culture.
study for this paper was conducted under the auspices of the Japan-China Field
Research Group on the Folklore of Farming headed by Professor Fukuda Ajio of the National Museum of
Ethnology (now at Niigata University), and was funded by the Ministry of
Education's Scientific Research Fund. Fieldwork was carried out in the two
villages on three occasions during March, l990, and March and October, 1991.
The paper was translated from Japanese into English with the assistance of Ms. Go Kun Chiu.
1. The "National
Conference of Fengshui Researchers" has been organised by Watanabe Yoshio of the Tokyo
Metropolitan University, with research funding from the Japanese Ministry of
Education's Scientific Research Fund, This research group held a total of eight
symposia from 1989 to 1992.
2. De Groot (1897), Feuchtwang (1972), Skinner
(1982), Eitel (1984).
3. Studies on Hong Kong
have been published by Freedman
(1966) and Segawa (1990, 1992).
Studies on Taiwan include Ahern
(1973), Guo and Horigome (1980).
4. Wooden boards that
make up the dragon's body are called long-jie. When a son is born, a new board is
made for use in the Dragon Lantern Festival. On the other hand, when a family
wants to have a son, it is said that holding the dragon's head during the
festival will make this wish come true. This festival is held in various places
in this area. Among the fourteen villages in Dianshan Township, five villages
hold this festival. In Yao Village, only the male population participate in the
festival, but there are also villages where women take part.
5. Before Liberation, a
ritual called Qingjie-Jiao was held on this open ground once in every three years
after the autumn harvest. The Taoist priest picked an auspicious day. The si-gong (petty Taoist priests)
from the neighboring village came to perform the acrobatic act of climbing on
top of nine tables piled on top of each other, called fan jiulou, and Taoist priests held
the ritual called gui ju ("ghost play").
6. For details, see Oguma (1993).
7. For details, see Oguma (1992).
8. This geomancer must
have been really grieved by the burning of his books; he repeated the story
twice. When I bought him some books on geomancy from Lishui the day after the
interview, he browsed through them nostalgically, with a memorable expression.
9. Zeng (1992: 98-99).
10. In Shangen Village, a
major celebration, called zuo-shou is held for every 10th birthday
from the 50th birthday onwards.
11. Freedman (1966: 124).
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