Fieldwork Notes 1st year (2017-2018)
I visited rural areas of Sichuan in summer 2017, specifically the ruins of the Longnü 龍女 temple and of the Wulingshan 五靈山 temple. At the same time I collected textual materials related to these sites. My research focused on two distinct but interrelated spirit writing communities in Sichuan: The Longnü temple in Ding Yuan, and the Shuquanhui community on Wuyun mountain (Daxian). Both were extremely successful and popular because they provided followers with easy solutions to escape life misfortunes. The Shiquanhui, for example, stipulated that, if you performed ten good deeds (shiquan) you would be saved from all suffering. Spirit writing halls related to these beliefs were quickly established all across Sichuan in the late Qing, to receive communications from gods and to engage in philanthropic activities. Thus, within the modern spirit writing movement, the Longnü temple and the Shiquanhui movement are extremely important, not only because they were very influential within Sichuan, but also because these local traditions quickly spread to neighbouring places like Yunnan and Guizhou, and produced several morality books (shanshu), at the time the most popular form of religious scripture.
Fieldwork Photos 1st year (2017-2018)