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Performing GriefBridal Laments in Rural China$
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Anne E. McLaren

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832322

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832322.001.0001

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Shaking Heaven

Shaking Heaven

Laments and Ritual Power

(p.104) Chapter 6 Shaking Heaven
Performing Grief

Anne E. McLaren

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses several types of evidence for the ritual power of bridal Chinese laments. The first body of evidence comes from popular notions about wedding pollution and the numerous exorcistic practices that are interwoven throughout popular wedding practices. The second set of evidence comes from legends about the origin of bridal laments drawn from many regions of China. These typically depict the origin of lamentation as an act of female agency carried out by woman when threatened at the time of marriage. In this interpretation, lamenting becomes a form of verbal sorcery performed by brides to ward off disaster. Finally, the chapter turns to the other type of lament where women were agents of ritual power, funeral laments.

Keywords:   Chinese bridal laments, ritual power, wedding pollution, exorcistic practice, wedding practices, funeral laments

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