Buku The woman’s companion to mythology by Larrington Carolyne

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The woman’s companion to mythology by Larrington Carolyne

Author:Larrington, Carolyne

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: Women, Gods, Dieux, Femmes, Mythologie, Déesses, Femmes

Publisher: London : Pandora

Published: 1997-06-06T16:00:00+00:00

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The woman’s companion to mythology by Larrington Carolyne

as for instance the goddess of smallpox, to whom appeals could be made at times of infection. Every guild and profession had its own god, much like patron saints in the Christian West; the scholars who had to make their way from boyhood, taking examination after examination, had their own god, Zhongkui, who in his spare time also went about exorcising devils.

In the end, all these deities existed in a highly eclectic popular religion, and gods from many traditions as well as local cults jostled and vied with each other amicably in human society. Men and women could pick and choose their faith, depending on their preference or ritual needs. It was usual for a ritual procession, such as at a funeral to contain both Buddhist and Taoist priests — to hedge your bets in the next world (when Christianity was introduced in the last century, many Chinese wanted to adopt Christianity in addition to the rituals which they already maintained — a proposal to which the missionaries could not assent). All this existed within the framework of state Confucianism which ‘rendered unto Caesar all things that are CaesarV, and left the private conscience to the individual.

It is not surprising, in this medley of gods and spirits, that there should exist a strong belief in ‘spirit races’ who were neither human or divine. These had supernatural powers, but could not always overcome men, let alone the gods. Folklore and legends dealt extensively with the spirits of animals or inanimate objects who through great age or other means, had powers which might not necessarily be evil. These spirits often had truck with human beings, and though such associations might not be always be harmful to the human, they were usually eschewed. Into this category would fall most of the stories about fox spirits, or ‘fox fairies’; the spirit of foxes who usually, though not always, took the form of nubile women and who had relationships with men. Some of the relationships were vampiristic, but some were quite benign. Many of the fox spirit stories bear the marks of male sexual fantasies.

 

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The woman’s companion to mythology by Larrington Carolyne

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The woman’s companion to mythology by Larrington Carolyne

Author:Larrington, Carolyne , Date: June 7, 2019

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Author:Larrington, Carolyne

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: Women, Gods, Dieux, Femmes, Mythologie, Déesses, Femmes

Publisher: London : Pandora

Published: 1997-06-06T16:00:00+00:00
as for instance the goddess of smallpox, to whom appeals could be made at times of infection. Every guild and profession had its own god, much like patron saints in the Christian West; the scholars who had to make their way from boyhood, taking examination after examination, had their own god, Zhongkui, who in his spare time also went about exorcising devils.

In the end, all these deities existed in a highly eclectic popular religion, and gods from many traditions as well as local cults jostled and vied with each other amicably in human society. Men and women could pick and choose their faith, depending on their preference or ritual needs. It was usual for a ritual procession, such as at a funeral to contain both Buddhist and Taoist priests — to hedge your bets in the next world (when Christianity was introduced in the last century, many Chinese wanted to adopt Christianity in addition to the rituals which they already maintained — a proposal to which the missionaries could not assent). All this existed within the framework of state Confucianism which ‘rendered unto Caesar all things that are CaesarV, and left the private conscience to the individual.

It is not surprising, in this medley of gods and spirits, that there should exist a strong belief in ‘spirit races’ who were neither human or divine. These had supernatural powers, but could not always overcome men, let alone the gods. Folklore and legends dealt extensively with the spirits of animals or inanimate objects who through great age or other means, had powers which might not necessarily be evil. These spirits often had truck with human beings, and though such associations might not be always be harmful to the human, they were usually eschewed. Into this category would fall most of the stories about fox spirits, or ‘fox fairies’; the spirit of foxes who usually, though not always, took the form of nubile women and who had relationships with men. Some of the relationships were vampiristic, but some were quite benign. Many of the fox spirit stories bear the marks of male sexual fantasies.

Myths, legends and folk-tales reflect the society that produced them. The position of women was subservient to men, and their social status was in theory nonexistent. But the stories show us that women did assert themselves, frequently by manipulating their menfolk. However much they were put down with laws and brutal customs — such as the post-fourteenth century practice of foot binding — they did not always give way to men. The most important arena for women’s activity was the home, and as mother, especially the mother of a son, she ruled the house, economically as well as emotionally. She may not have been able to assert herself outside the home, hence the wishful thinking of tales of women like Mulan and Zhu Yingtai {see Section III, p. 241), who dressed up as men to fulfil themselves, but neither could the men intrude into their domain in the rear apartments of the house.

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