Angelika C. Messner, "Approaching the Sacred in Chinese past Contexts", in: Ute Luig (Ed.), Approaching the Sacred. Pilgrimage in historical and intercultural perspective, Berlin: Edition Topoi, 2018, 37–58


Recent scholarship on sacred sites and pilgrimage convincingly demonstrates that the conceptual separation of belief and knowledge as well as the dichotomization of the ‘secular’ and the ‘sacred’ both in the case of the Chinese historical and present-day contexts are most inappropriate as a methodological framework. With a strong focus on practice and embodiment and by breaking away from a single discipline approach, my paper is concerned with the question why and how people narrated their own encounters with the Sacred. In the center of my discussion are the mountains as the paragons of Chinese history. They display multiple identities as part of imperial ritual, of mysticism, nature and history, of life, fertility and death and as part of Confucian, Buddhist and Daoist sites of worship and for performing self-cultivation which were used by literati to project something of themselves into the future.

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