Embodying Guanyin, Embodying yaojing

For those who missed AAS this year, or went to one of the other amazing sounding panels on Saturday morning that were scheduled at the same time as ours, here's a recording of my paper: Paper abstract: In Liu Xiang baojuan, a popular Qing religious performance text, when exemplary protagonist Liu Xiangnü is likened to…Read more Embodying Guanyin, Embodying yaojing

Ten Thousand Treasures of 1895

Printed in 1895, the Newly Expanded Druggist's Ten Thousand Treasures Encyclopedia (新增懸壺萬寶全書) contains far more than medical advice. Even if you can't read a word of Chinese, the charming illustrations alone lead me to recommend that you take a couple minutes to browse through the work anyway. There's a lot more going on in it…Read more Ten Thousand Treasures of 1895

A Novel of China: The Mandarin’s Daughter, 1876

While traveling to DC and back last week, I read The Mandarin's Daughter by Samuel Mossman, 1876, which is another 19th century novel about China that I read so you don't have to. (Previously: Out in China by Mrs. Archibald Little, 1902) Mossman's introduction states that the amount of fiction in his novel, The Mandarin's…Read more A Novel of China: The Mandarin’s Daughter, 1876

Contextualizing heterodox sects in China

Has anyone else been following this story? NY Times: 5 Sect Members Go on Trial in Killing at McDonald’s in China I first heard about this sect, Eastern Lightning or the Church of Almighty God, when I was in Taiwan last year. Since this murder in May earlier this year, they have been getting far…Read more Contextualizing heterodox sects in China


When Che Xilun, preeminent Chinese scholar of baojuan (and incredibly kind man, if our email correspondence is anything to go on), compiled his catalogue of baojuan in China, Zhongguo baojuan zongmu 中國寶卷總目, he did so in part by collating previous catalogues into composite entries for each title. Given that his catalogue includes entries for over…Read more Sleuthing

Remarkable likenesses of Liu Xiangnü

While I don't think this is intentional at on the part of whomever put together this text, I find it hilarious that in describing its heroine, the narration accounts for the ill-conceived frontispiece illustrations that would grace so many editions of this text. "A clever illustrator would have difficulty sketching her, her remarkable likeness could…Read more Remarkable likenesses of Liu Xiangnü

Lord of Thunder, Mother of Lightning

Maybe I've been working with low cost 19th century woodblock editions of books for too long, but the truth is that I love their illustrations, probably much more than virtuoso paintings from the same era. Here, again from the Illustrated Stories of Twenty Four Filial Women , 1872 edition, are the Lord of Thunder (雷公)…Read more Lord of Thunder, Mother of Lightning

Filial modern women buy our towels!

I've included pictures from Yu Zhi's Illustrated Stories of Twenty Four Filial Women here before. Those illustrations come from the 1872 woodblock print edition, available via Google Books*. The University of Chicago library also has two editions of the text, with illustrations purportedly redrawn by none other than Wu Youru, the famous Shanghai lithographic print…Read more Filial modern women buy our towels!

The end of Chinese religion?

After two weeks in Beijing in 2012, I finally realized why I felt the city seemed so lifeless, even as it teemed with millions of people and their very real, full lives. Where were the temples? Where were the markers of a neighborhood like Tudi Gong shrines? Where were the folding tables full of offerings…Read more The end of Chinese religion?

Out in China with Mrs. Archibald Little

Ever since I read Heathen Chinese's post about Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang, I've been waiting for our library to make them available. I loved his American Born Chinese and I anticipate loving these books even more. And now I have them! But I'm saving them as a reward for whenever it is…Read more Out in China with Mrs. Archibald Little