Cluster Leader: Jinhua Jia, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The field visits of Cluster 2.1 have been focusing on the historical sites of the traditional Chinese state sacrificial system dedicated to spirits of major mountains and waters, including Five Marchmounts 五嶽, Five Strongholds 五鎮, Four Seas 四海, and Four Waterways 四瀆, which formed a part of the most authoritative religious institutions in imperial China. Over two thousand years, the state ritual and belief have gradually integrated with other religious traditions such as Daoism, Buddhism, and local cults. From the Jin dynasty onward, Daoists have been in charge of many of the state temples, taking part in, or fully responsible for, the sacrificial ritual. Local people have produced legends, stories, songs, deities, cults, and rituals related to the age-old mountain and water spirits. Temple fairs have continued and all kinds of popular religious activities such as offerings, worships, fortune telling, and spiritual possession are present in the fairs. These historical sites present a unique perspective to observe the transformation of traditional state sacrificial ritual and its integration with Daoist, Buddhist and popular religious culture.

The field visits to these sites have provided a unique perspective to address questions such as when, where, and who has defined authoritative and authentic religion in China, and how the “authoritative” religion has interacted and integrated with “sub-authoritative” and “non-authoritative” traditions. By investigating these sites, researchers in this cluster will seek to realign the narrative of the history of Chinese religion with traditional Chinese state religion, which has been largely disregarded by contemporary traditions-based definitions of religion in China (e.g., Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism).

Teams of Cluster 2.1 visited the Jidu Temple 濟瀆廟 (Temple of Ji River, one of the four waterways) and Mount Wangwu 王屋山 in 2017, the Dongzhen Temple 東鎮廟 (Temple of Eastern Stronghold), Mount Yi 沂山, and nearby religious sites in 2018, and the Beizhen Temple 北鎮廟 (Temple of Northern Stronghold) Mount Yiwulü, Mount Haitang 海棠山, and nearby religious sites in 2019. The outcomes of the three trips are three videos, about 700 stele inscriptions and images, and an on-going database. Some participants wrote research articles based on the visits and some plan to write books on the historical development of these religious sites.

The cluster plans to continue to investigate other sites related to the state sacrificial system to mountains and waters, to complete the database, and to hold an international conference focusing on this topic in 2021.

View digital data collection from Cluster 2.1 here.

The report from the 2017 field visit can be found here.

Videos of the 2017 field visit are also available.

The report from the 2018 field visit can be found here.

Videos of the 2018 field visit are also available.

Watch the Chinese version on Youku:

2018 field visit team

The report from the 2019 field visit can be found here.

Videos of the 2019 field visit are also available.



Affiliated Researchers Associated Researchers
Bratt, David (University of California Berkeley) – 2017 Bai, Zhaojie (Shanghai Academy of Social Science) – 2018, 2019
Carlton, Kelly (Princeton University) – 2019 Chen, Siyu (Harvard Divinity School) – 2018
Lovedahl, Nate (Yale University) – 2018 Cheng, Jihong (Zhejiang Ocean University) – 2017
Rusk, Bruce (University of British Columbia) – 2017 He, Shuyue (McGill University)- 2018 (Columbia University) – 2019
Teiser, Stephen (Princeton University) – 2019 Huang, Chenxi (Renmin University) – 2017, 2018, 2019
ter Haar, Barend (Oxford University) – 2017, 2019 Kong, Qingmao (Nanjing University of the Arts) – 2017
Wang, Yue (University of Saskatchewan) – 2017 La Torre, Joseph (Harvard Divinity School) – 2018
Wei Yin (Oxford University) – 2018 Li, Jing (City University of Macau) – 2019
Xu, Yuji (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) – 2018 Li, Lin (Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts) – 2018, 2019
Yang, Zhaohua (Columbia University) – 2019 Li, Teng (University of Macau) – 2017
Zhang, Yuanjing (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) – 2018, 2019 Liu, Jie (Zhejiang Ocean University) – 2017
Lu, Guobin (Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts) – 2018, 2019
Rols, Johan (École pratique des hautes études) – 2017
Su, Shenghan (Hong Kong Polytechnic University) – 2018
Tian, Menglu (University of British Columbia) – 2018, 2019
Wang, Shixiao (Southeast University) – 2017, 2018
Wang, Xiaoyang (Southeast University) – 2017, 2018,2019
Wang, Yue (University of Alberta) – 2018, 2019
Wu, Sijia (Southeast University) – 2017,2019
Yuan, Xiaoli (Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts) – 2019
Lin, Peiying (Fu-jen University) – 2018
Cluster 2.1

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Jidu Temple: 34.604381, 117.839655
Mount Wangwu: 35.200000, 112.166700
Dongzhen Temple 東鎮廟: 36.198116, 118.670063
Beizhen Temple 北鎮廟: 41.594870, 121.761840
Mount Yiwulü 醫巫閭山: 41.507630, 121.620100
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Jidu Temple
Jidu Temple, Jiyuan, Henan, China
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Mount Wangwu
Mount Wangwu, Jiyuan, Henan, China
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Dongzhen Temple 東鎮廟
Cluster 2.1 - description

Cluster 2.1 2018 - Dongzhen Temple 東鎮廟 data collection

Watch English audio with English and Chinese subtitles at Youtube: https://youtu.be/XhOOGqVgjxM

Watch Chinese audio with English and Chinese subtitles at Youtube: https://youtu.be/FI_OnCv8QZk
or Youku: https://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNDE2NDg2NzkxMg==.html?spm=a2hzp.8253869.0.0

Dongzhen Temple 東鎮廟, Weifang, China
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Beizhen Temple 北鎮廟
Beizhen City 北鎮市, Liaoning Province 遼寧省, China
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Mount Yiwulü 醫巫閭山
Beizhen City 北鎮市, Liaoning Province 遼寧省, China