Daoism and Local Society in Ming China


American Research in the Humanities in China


Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures


This project explores the interaction between Ming Daoism and local society. Daoist lineages and priests concentrated their activities in local societies, meeting patrons’ needs and serving lay communities. For their part, lay patrons and communities had many reasons to patronize Daoism. Their, in particular the elite’s, support of a religion was crucial for its development as well as for us to understand the mainstream religious culture in early modern China. Locally the lay patron networks played an important cultural role as well by promoting the development of local religions. In order to understand a general pattern of Daoism and local society, I will select and investigate some representative regions to present a holistic picture of Daoism and local society in the Ming.