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Mediumistic Practices in China and Vietnam

ФИО студента: Viktoriya Kashina

Руководитель: Ekaterina Starikova

Кампус/факультет: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Программа: Asian and African Studies (Bachelor)

Оценка: 8

Год защиты: 2018

Mediumistic practices are one of the phenomena of cultural realities that have been incorporated into the life of society of the Far East and South-East regions for more than 20 centuries. Mediumship, a new reading of archaic shamanism, whose principles it has preserved, absorbed some aspects of religious teachings that were adjoining to it with the course of history and the stages of the development of society. Nevertheless, it remained within the framework of people’s religion, responding to some special needs of the population. The geographical factor of the location of modern states and the historical resettlement areas of the ethnic groups of Han and Viet contributed to mixture and partial homogenization of cults and rituals. Yet the distinctive characteristics of each of the ethnic groups are still persisted. The Vietnamese tradition of mediumship is linked to religious cults (ex., Cult of Mother Goddesses). in addition, it is largely feminized. Myth-making and ancient texts that reflect the sinological analogues had a crucial influence on formation of the Vietnamese pantheon of spirits. Kaodaism emerged later as a special branch which combined the mediumistic practices within the framework of the popular religion with “the three doctrines” and had it’s own particular rituals. This work gives more detailed review on the rituals illustrating many of the above-mentioned aspects. The emphasis in Vietnamese culture was made on the oracular functions of the medium, which in fact meant positioning it as a tool for communication between the worlds. As for Chinese tradition, it is more strict and limited by written fixed-nature, along with the impact of important geomantic role of cosmology whose authority in the then society was equally high. The Chinese mediumship also exposed healing opportunities, thus once again highlighting the degree of its dealing with more practical issues rather than Viet.

Full text (added May 19, 2018)

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