Professeur Cao Xinyu (Qing History Institute, Renmin University of China)
Searching for the Other Half of the Seal : Sectarian Scriptures and Religious Networks in North China
Lundi 10 février 2014, 15:00 à 17:00, salle 117, le France (190 avenue de France, 75013 Paris, métro Quai de la gare)
Résumé de la conférence :
Like a puzzle with too many missing pieces, the history of sectarianism in late imperial China remains frustrating to many students in the field. The most recent publications are still providing contradictory origins for the tradition collectively known as White Lotus : from a syncretism of Manichaeism and Buddhist Maitreya belief, to nothing but merely a negative label, or stories fabricated by the ruling elites as an excuse to brutally crush down any undesired social groups. This report introduces a localized approach within a longue durée of over 400 years. I will examine the legends and beliefs of an important North China White Lotus sect called Huangtiandao 黃天道 (Yellow Heaven Way), in the light of newly discovered sectarian texts, centred around a rural community.
The sources discussed consist of : (1) wood print scriptures of the sixteenth century, (2) silk books of the eighteenth century and (3) rare manuscripts containing copies of “seditious sorcery books” of the fifteenth century that were long considered missing texts of earlier White Lotus movements. These rare scriptures not only help us to reconstruct history of the family and lineage of the patriarch of the sect over many generations, but also provide better ground to understand the relevant conventional sources : oral histories, rural operas, temple gazetteers and confessions found in Imperial memorials, making possible a closer investigation of the religious networks and local politics of commoners in historical transitions.