For more than five centuries the shamanistic fox cult has attracted large portions of the Chinese population and appealed to a wide range of social classes. Deemed illicit by imperial rulers and clerics and officially banned by republican and communist leaders, the fox cult has managed to survive and flourish in individual homes and community shrines throughout northern China. In this new work, the first to examine the fox cult as a vibrant popular religion, Xiaofei Kang explores the manifold meanings of the fox spirit in Chinese society. Kang describes various cult practices, activities of worship, and the exorcising of fox spirits to reveal how the Chinese people constructed their cultural and social values outside the gaze of offical power and morality.
Xiaofei Kang is an assistant professor of history at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
List of Illustrations Acknowledgments Map: The Chinese Empire in the Early Twentieth Century Introduction 1. Foxes in Early Chinese Tradition 2. Huxian and the Spread of the Fox Cult 3. Foxes and Domestic Worship 4. Foxes and Spirit Mediums 5. Foxes and Local Cults 6. Fox Spirits and Officials Conclusion Notes Glossary Bibliography Index