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Demonic WarfareDaoism, Territorial Networks, and the History of a Ming Novel$
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Mark R. E. Meulenbeld

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838447

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838447.001.0001

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King Wu’s Sacred History

King Wu’s Sacred History

The Conquest of Inimical Gods

(p.60) 2 King Wu’s Sacred History
Demonic Warfare

Mark R. E. Meulenbeld

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the cultural history of Canonization of the Gods, beginning with its authorship, publication history, and narrative content. It then resituates the category of vernacular literature within an environment where it relates to the rituals and communities that produced it. It considers how the various antecedent versions of Canonization's skeletal plot from archaic history (“King Wu's Conquest of [King] Zhòu”) are directly related to a particular ritual for the consecration of inimical gods as territorial guardians. These gods and their armies of demon soldiers are installed by local ritualists to defend the space inhabited by local communities, a space most commonly conceived as the Five Quarters. The chapter also discusses a Yuan dynasty (1279–1368) version entitled Plain Tale of King Wu's Conquest of King Zhòu, along with several of the (newly added) main protagonists in the story that it argues are Daoist martial divinities.

Keywords:   ritual, gods, vernacular literature, King Wu, consecration, inimical gods, demon soldiers, Five Quarters, King Zhòu, martial divinities

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