Women's Ritual in China: Jiezhu (receiving Buddhist Prayer Beads) Performed by Menopausal Women in Ninghua, Western Fujian
Based on historical, textual, and field studies, this work examines the paradoxical nature of jiezhu, which simultaneously upholds and challenges tradition through religious and social empowerment. Jiezhu delivers the woman into a new phase of being by first providing private meanings to her. Ritual acts can bridge memory and imagination. The ritual program allows the woman to go back and forth between the past, the present and the future. Jiezhu dramatically juxtaposes girlhood and mature womanhood, reenacts her wedding and rehearses her future funeral. Death and rebirth symbols abound. In jiezhu, the woman 'witnesses' her own funerary rites to ensure abundant personal possessions are burned for her to receive in the underworld after her death. The woman acquires spiritual strength to ease her menopausal stress and to allay the fears of the approach of death. Jiezhu and Amituofo recitation make up a twin tool to ensure a more fortunate rebirth. Second, jiezhu gives social meanings. The woman is given a new identity. She is now eligible for Amituofo recitation and becomes a member of the nianfo community. As social inferiority can be compensated for by a show of lavishness, jiezhu as an expensive event creates symbolic capital. Jiezhu has become a symbol of prestige and resources that in part enhances the status of the women. The women are also able to express their power within the limits of their traditional politics. The woman's contributions as a wife and a mother are valued and celebrated in the jiezhu ceremony. The youthful, bright and colorful gift items given by the married daughter display a defiant tone against the association of jiezhu with old age. Jiezhu celebrates an oft-neglected life crisis of women. To conclude, jiezhu on the one hand 'traditionalizes', and on the other hand, as a strategic mode of action, challenges traditions through religious and social empowerment. Jiezhu preserves the established order but it also facilitates transforma
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
The Evolution of Jiezhu
7 other sections not shown
altar Amitabha Buddha Amituofo recitation annual Nianfo Arnold van Gennep Baota Buddhist friends caise yinshuachang youxian Catherine Bell chanting China Chinese chu ban Customs in Ninghua daifo mama Daoist daoshi deities Dingguang dynasty Economy and Customs Foguang Fujian Fuzhou gifts Guanyin Hakka Society Series Hakka Studies Association Hong Kong husband Ibid initiate International Hakka Studies interview James Foard Jiangxi jiao yu Jiezhu costume Jiezhu ritual Jiezhu woman jing John Lagerwey Lineages Liu Shanqun Luo Xianglin Luozu mala menopausal Ming nianfo nianfo mama Ninghua County Ninghua si guan Ninghua xian caise Ninghua xian zhi penitential litany Pure Land Buddhism Pure Land Tradition putuan Qing Qing Dynasty religious ren min chu ritual specialist Shan-tao Shibi Shibi yu Kejia Sutra temple Traditional Hakka Society Wang Yifu wei yuan widow women women's ritual worship xian caise yinshuachang xiang Yanjie yinshuachang youxian gongxi yuan Zhang Enting zhen Zhongguo zhutian