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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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Demonic Warfare During the Yuan

Demonic Warfare During the Yuan

Thunder Ritual, Unruly Spirits, and Local Militias

(p.98) 3 Demonic Warfare During the Yuan
Demonic Warfare

Mark R. E. Meulenbeld

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines demonic warfare during the Yuan dynasty by focusing on Daoist exorcistic, martial rituals and how they relate to the formation of communal networks. It shows that martial methods such as Thunder Ritual involve martial divinities in order to produce a clearly circumscribed hierarchy of divinities rather than attempt to annihilate demonic spirits. Focusing on south and southeast China during the Yuan dynasty, the chapter explores how Thunder Rituals produce a threefold effect: the unruly spirits of various localities are widely incorporated as demon soldiers into the liturgical structure of Daoism; this structure runs from the lowest level of the local Earth God up via the City God to the Eastern Peak and then up to the Jade Emperor and the Dark Emperor; terrestrial spirits from various localities are subsequently made to form an army that includes the local militias of villages, cities, or even of whole regions. The chapter argues that territorial cults in late imperial China since thirteenth-century Jiangnan consciously harness the powers of larger social and religious networks.

Keywords:   demonic warfare, Yuan dynasty, martial ritual, communal networks, martial divinities, unruly spirit, demon soldiers, local militias, territorial cults, imperial China

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