Hu Jiechen

Fieldwork Notes 1st year (2017-2018)

In the last year, I made several data-collection trips to Beijing, Shanghai, and other cities, to find the material related to Jin Bencun and his spirit-writing altar, since most extant literatures are nowadays housed in the libraries in these cities, rather than Sichuan province.

Here is the list of the different kinds of literatures I have already collected:

  1. The full text of Wendi Quanshu (The Complete Collection of Thearch Lord Wenchang) and its revised versions, as well as its variant version Wenchang Shengdian (The Sacred Canon of Wenchang), which were published by Liu Tishu and Jin Bencun, based on some text produced in Jin’s spirit-writing altars.
  2. An incomplete collection of ritual texts produced in Sichuan and Guizhou area in late Qing, in which the communities who published them regarded themselves as the successor of Jin and his altars. These literatures were found in the rare book store in Chongqing city last year, and never identified or mentioned by any scholars before. Most of the rituals were dedicated to Wenchang cult, which proves the connection with Jin’s network of spirit-writing altars.
  3. Several Dongjing (Scripture of the Great Cavity) produced in Yunnan were found, which showed a strong connection with the texts received by Jin and his disciples in Sichuan in early-mid Qing. It seems these texts are still in use in contemporary Yunan.
  4. Two novel-style moral books revealed by deified Jin through spirit-writing in Yunan late Qing was found, which proved the connection between Jin and the network of spirit-writing in Yunan.

Therefore, there are quite a few evidences on the textual transmission of Jin’s spirit-writing altar. Besides, there are other materials show that Jin was not only a leader and practitioner of spirit-writing altar, he was even deified after his death within some networks of spirit-writing communities.

In the second year of the project, I am planning several field trip to Sichuan and Yunan Province, especially on the Dongjing Hui (Community of Scripture of the Great Cavity), to investigate the history of the dissemination and variation of this tradition derived from the text produced by Jin’ community.


Fieldwork Photos 1st year (2017-2018)

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