Daoist Priests of the Li Family: Ritual Life in Village China
Along with Jones’ moving film “Li Manshan: Portrait of a Folk Daoist” —watch here: https://vimeo.com/155660741—this engaging and original book describes a hereditary family of household Daoist priests in rural north China. It traces the vicissitudes of their lives—and ritual practices—over the turbulent last century through the experiences of two main characters: Li Manshan (b.1946), and his distinguished father Li Qing (1926–99). The story anchors changing ritual practice in the ethnography of ritual specialists and their patrons as they negotiate new challenges, giving a unique flavor of rural life in China today. A vivid portrait of a rapidly changing society, the work will fascinate anthropologists, scholars of Daoism and folk religion, world-music aficionados, and all those interested in Chinese society.