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Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and SingaporeGender, Religion, Medicine and Money$
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Marjorie Topley and Jean DeBernardi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9789888028146

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888028146.001.0001

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Chinese Religion and Rural Cohesion in the Nineteenth Century

Chinese Religion and Rural Cohesion in the Nineteenth Century


(p.241) Chapter 10 Chinese Religion and Rural Cohesion in the Nineteenth Century
Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Marjorie Topley

, Jean DeBernardi
Hong Kong University Press

In China in the nineteenth century some of the most important ideas which were religious, or had religious implications, linked the destiny of individuals to their ancestors; to numerous gods and sanctified worthies; and to certain cosmic “ethers” and “elements” and their process. Rural China was by no means homogeneous in the nineteenth century. It was dotted with villages of different size and composition: some, particularly in the south-east, consisted of single lineages or “clans.” Religion entered into the organization of such communities everywhere to some extent. The nineteenth century was a time when villages had to provide a great deal in the way of their own control and often appealed to religious ideas to do so. The chapter deals four kinds of religious association and semi-religious association in rural life and it begins with an analysis of ancestral cults.

Keywords:   rural life, China, clans, religion, religious association, semi-religious association, ancestral cults

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