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The Need for Both the State and Liturgical Daoism to Complete the Imperial Metaphor: A Case Study of the Cult of Mazu 媽祖
|Keywords:||朝封 ; 道封 ; 帝國隱喻 ; 媽祖 ; 天妃|
State canonization ; Daoist canonization ; imperial metaphor ; Mazu 媽祖 ; Tianfei 天妃
|Issue Date:||2021-12-07 09:04:32 (UTC+8)|
In imperial China, state canonization and Daoist canonization bestowed political legitimacy and religious sanctity on a local god. These two bureaucratic canonization processes were mutually complementary, and were the source of local deities' spiritual efficacy and authority. The two processes mutually conveyed charismatic authority, with the state guaranteeing the Daoist clergy's role as the arbiters of orthodox Daoism, and the Heavenly Master Zhang 張天師 recognizing the emperor as the true Son of Heaven. The imperial state and liturgical Daoism thus worked to ensure subjects' belief in and obedience to the imperial state. Furthermore, both competition and cooperation existed between liturgical Daoism and local religion. Liturgical Daoism conferred sanctity on local cults, while local deities ensured the efficacy of Daoism. In this paper, I take the canonization of the local deity Mazu as an example to demonstrate the dual process of the acknowledgement of a new deity. The goddess Mazu was granted several dozen honorary titles by imperial decree, and thus had an intimate relationship with the state. In addition, in the fifteenth century, the goddess received the title of Tianfei 天妃, and was given her own scripture composed by the Daoist clergy. Many anthropologists have already discussed how Chinese folk religion helped to maintain the bureaucratic system in imperial China. Here, I would like to go further by elaborating how Daoism supported imperial ideology. Mazu was granted both political authority and religious legitimacy, which has made her the most popular goddess in the Chinese world. In present day Taiwan, as the final part of the paper shows, the results of Mazu's canonization are still valid.
|Relation:||華人宗教研究, 14, 1-22|
|Appears in Collections:||[華人宗教研究] 期刊論文|
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