Minsu quyi


Minsu quyi
(Min-su ch’ü-i)
[Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore]
Minsu quyi was founded in November 1980, its original goal being to publish essays and field reports introducing Taiwanese folk culture. Wang Ch’iu-kuei became editor-in-chief in 1989, and has worked to transform the journal into a scholarly publication now internationally known for publishing research about Chinese ritual and ritual theatre. Since 1991, the journal’s scope has expanded to include mainland China and examine a broad range of cultural phenomena, particularly religion and ritual. Professor Wang also edited a number of important special issues containing detailed ethnographic reports of rituals and theatrical performances, especially Nuo dramas and Mulian dramas. Minsu quyi also took the lead in organizing a series of international conferences, as well as publishing conference papers.
During the 1990s, Minsu quyi took its place at the forefront of researching what Kenneth Dean has termed the ‘renaissance’ of Chinese local culture, most notably by publishing the 81-volume Minsu quyi congshu (Monograph Series of Studies in Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore), which consists of ethnographic reports about actual performances of ritual dramas in rural China, as well as rare editions of scripts. Most of the data covers provinces in south China, particularly Anhui, Fujian, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan and Zhejiang. The importance of the Monograph Series is clearly attested to by the growing attention it has begun to command throughout the scholarly community worldwide.
Beginning in 2000, Minsu quyi took new steps to increase its status as an academic publication. Professor C.K.Wang turned the management of the journal over to a new team of editors, including Professors Wang An-ch’i, Wang Sung-shan, Wang Ying-fen and myself. Minsu quyi began to be published as a quarterly in 2002, and all submissions are now subject to a rigorous peer review process involving at least two referees. Moreover, the cover design and format have been modified, and the final issue of each calendar year contains an author index.
The results of these changes may be seen in the two most recent issues of the journal (137 and 138), a special double issue about the ways in which religious beliefs, rituals and dramatic performances both reflected yet also shaped the development of local society. Topics covered in these two issues include: the history of local cults to nature spirits among the ancient Ba people of southwest China; the cult of a Zen Buddhist master (Dingguang gufo) as practised among the inhabitants of ten Hakka and She minority villages in southwestern Fujian; the cult and festival of the Queen Mother of the West in Gansu province; cults to the ghosts of Taiwanese girls who did not conform to traditional gender norms due to their dying before getting married; the cult of silkworm deities in northern Zhejiang during the late imperial era; the role dramatic performances play in the perpetuation of cult worship of the Cattle King in southwestern Shanxi; the cult of a fox spirit and its spirit-medium at a popular Buddhist temple located in northern Shaanxi; the interaction between the state, lineages and religious networks in Fujian; the links between local elites and popular temples in northern Taiwan during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911); and the religious aspects of one of the most important rebellions that occurred in Taiwan during the Qing dynasty, the Dai Chaochun Incident (1862–8).
At present, Minsu quyi continues to receive a constant flow of submissions, including historical studies and field reports written in Chinese and English on regional theatre, music, folklore, religion and ritual.
PAUL R.KATZ

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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