Straits Times Press Books :: Reference :: Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual

Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual

Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual

Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual


Tang-ki worship is a 'living dinosaur'. The Minnan ritual-theatre features dramatic acts of self-mortification, and this blood-letting tells of primeval roots. The origin of tang-ki spirit medium worship lie in ancient pre-Chinese animism of more than 5,000 years ago, but the practice is alive and still evolving.

Tang-ki worship is a significant cultural performance of the Hokkien people, the largest community of the Chinese diaspora who live mainly in Taiwan and Southeast Asia, yet the worship has attracted scant scholarly attention, largely because it is perceived by the educated as a superstitious practice of illiterates.

There are no sacred texts, nor canons, nor dogmas in tang-ki worship. Margaret Chan's investigation into tang-ki worship is seminal and reveals aspects of tang-ki worship that hiterto have never been recorded. These include the drama and the history of tang-ki worship; the costumes, make-up and props used in performance; the religious significance of tang-ki rituals; the notion of tang-ki training; and the performance scripts used by tang-kis. The social dynamics of tang-ki worship as communal theatre is also discussed and a provocative hypothesis as to the religious nature of traditional Chinese theatre forms is argued. It is held that the very act of theatre, the taking on of an image by an actor, is a transmogrifying ritual where a mortal transforms into a god.

With never-before published photographs of tang-ki spirit medium worship, Margaret Chan's Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual is a definitive work on tang-ki spirit medium worship that will fascinate the scholar as well as the general reader with an interest in Chinese religion.

Author Margaret Chan
ISBN 978.981.248.115.3
Size 227mm x 152mm
Extent 208pp
Hardcover / Softcover Softcover
Illustrated or Black & White Black & White text only
Language English
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