Shamanism in China: bibliography by Barend ter Haar

(last updated 6.5.2014)
Comments:
a. The first problem that one encounters in studying shamanism is one of definition and terminology, since this largely determines the inclusion or exclusion of literature and topics. I prefer to take a broad approach, that includes the self-flagellating tang-ki of Southern China, possession cults (in which a being descends into a person, speaking through his or her mouth or by means of a writing apparatus) and spirit travel cults.
b. Generally speaking, modern scholarship is strong on early historical accounts (Han and before) and continues (especially Chinese language research) to gather a substantial amount of information on minorities (not systematically included here) and Taiwanese shamanism (both tang-ki and spirit writing). In the intervening period from the Song until modern times shamanism  supposedly lost in influence and has therefore not been seriously been studied, despite a considerable amount of material and despite the fact that it still continues to exist in China proper today (albeit it considerably reduced and repressed).
c. I leave out brief discussions in handboks and survey histories.
d. Also consult the "Bibliography of Western Language Publications on Chinese Popular Religion (1995-present)"(maintained by Philip Clart (clart[at]uni-leipzig.de) and Soo Khin Wah) with extensive treatment of this and other aspects of Chinese religious culture.

 1. General works

1.1. Bibliographies

1.2. General theoretical studies

1.3. General studies on shamanism in China

Several Chinese works on shamanism have appeared that, upon closer examination, only deal with the phenomenon during the classical period and/or among non-Han cultures, but never with premodern or contemporary Han Chinese shamanism in its various forms.
The Zhongguo minjian wenhua (Xuelin chubanshe, Shanghai, 1990-present) series contains numerous articles on shamanism, life and historical, usually quite interesting.

2. Fieldwork studies

2.1. Fujianese cultural regions (tang-ki)


(not exhaustive, e.g. Jordan [1972] 68 note 11)

2.2. Guangdong cultural regions

2.3. Northern China

(in northern China, here shamanism is often connected to animal cults, esp. the fox cult, but not necessarily so)

2.4. Non-Han cultures


(huge amount of material, consult studies on minorities in general, here only some obvious titles)

Manchu shamanism

Others

 3. Spirit writing (fieldwork and history)

 4. History

4.1. Until the Song

4.2. Song and after

For research on contemporary Qigong movements, included the issue of altered consciousness, see:  "Towards a bibliography of works and passages on religious life in mainland China in the twentieth century (Republican China [before 1949] and the PRC)". Curiously most post-Song research covers the Song period and little has been done on the subsequent periods.

For fieldwork on roughly contemporary posession medium and shamanic traditions (mainly in the south), see above.

5. Daoism and its shamanic roots

For research on contemporary Qigong movements, included the issue of altered consciousness, see:  Towards a bibliography of works and passages on religious life in mainland China in the twentieth century (Republican China [before 1949] and the PRC)"
.