Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual; Tang-Ki: Chinese Spirit Medium Worship
by Chan, Margaret
About This Book
Tang-ki worship or spirit mediumship has its roots in pre-Chinese animism of more than 5000 years ago, but its practice is alive and evolving within the Hokkien communities of Taiwan and Southeast Asia. This engaging study is one of the very few about tangki-worship in Singapore. This phenomenon has received scant scholarly attention largely because it is seen by the educated as a mere superstitious practice.
There are no sacred texts, nor canons, nor dogmas in tang-ki worship. The author reveals aspects of this practice that have never been recorded before. These include the drama and history of tang-ki worship; the costumes, make-up and props used; the religious significance of the rituals; the notion of tang-ki training; and the performance scripts used by the mediums. The author also discusses the social dynamics of tang-ki worship as a communal theatre and provides a provocative hypothesis on the religious nature of traditional Chinese theatre forms. It is held that the very act of taking on an image by an actor in theatre is a transmogrifying ritual where a mortal transforms into a god.
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