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Gods, Ghosts, and Gangsters: Ritual Violence, Martial Arts, and Masculinity on the Margins of Chinese Society

Avron Boretz


Demon warrior puppets, sword-wielding Taoist priests, spirit mediums lacerating their bodies with spikes and blades—these are among the most dramatic images in Chinese religion. Usually linked to the propitiation of plague gods and the worship of popular military deities, such ritual practices have an obvious but previously unexamined kinship with the traditional Chinese martial arts. The long and durable history of martial arts iconography and ritual in Chinese religion suggests something far deeper than mere historical coincidence. This book argues that martial arts gestures and movements ar ... More

Keywords: Chinese religion, deities, ritual, martial arts, violence, jianghu, Chinese patriliny, Chinese patriarchy, Chinese society

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2010 Print ISBN-13: 9780824833770
Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016 DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833770.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Avron Boretz, author
University of Texas at Austin