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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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The Order of the Ming Novel

The Order of the Ming Novel

Hierarchies of Spirits and Gods

(p.168) 5 The Order of the Ming Novel
Demonic Warfare

Mark R. E. Meulenbeld

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the cultural sphere to which Canonization of the Gods belongs during the late Ming dynasty. It shows how the Ming vernacular novel offers a “relational framework” for explaining and emulating the hierarchical relationships of local spirits with higher gods. It also considers how local communities throughout Jiangnan defend their territory by appropriating the powers of martial gods from late Ming novels such as Canonization. The picture that emerges is one of a society that organizes itself on the basis of religious narratives of divine protection, with local militias assuming the status of demon soldiers in order to serve their martial gods. This chapter suggests that Canonization codifies the liturgical structure of late imperial Daoism and the martial gods of vernacular ritual as a well-structured army of divine warriors who belong to the authority of the Eastern Peak.

Keywords:   vernacular ritual, gods, vernacular novel, local spirits, martial gods, divine protection, local militias, demon soldiers, divine warriors, Eastern Peak

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