Goddess unbound: Chinese popular religion and the varieties of boundary
Weller, Robert P.
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Citation (published version)RP Weller. 2019. "Goddess Unbound: Chinese Popular Religion and the Varieties of Boundary." Journal of Religion, Volume 99, Issue 1, pp. 18 - 36.
Mazu is an important deity who spread widely within and beyond China. The hardening of internal and external boundaries during the Cold War greatly limited the flow of the cult on the mainland, and completely cut the tie to temples in Taiwan and abroad. The end of the Cold War, however, brought many new possibilities, which are best understood by opening up the concept of "boundary." The Cold War had strengthened the idea that borders are meant to be unambiguous and well defended. This vision of the boundary as a brick wall, however, is incomplete. This essay explores two further aspects of boundaries: the oozing of people, goods and deities through pores in the boundaries (more cell wall than brick wall); and the boundaries that are crossed through the rhythms of ritual, fostering moves back and forth across both political and spiritual lines (a "tennis net" wall, crossed by the moving ball).