Space for Worship in East Asia

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2024) | Viewed by 21154

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Architecture, College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115-5000, USA
Interests: Chinese architecture; Buddhist architecture in East Asia; guqin music and literati arts
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Landscape Planning and Design, School of Art Design and Media, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
Interests: Chinese architectural history; Buddhist architecture in East Asia; Chinese classical garden; architectural heritage protection
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

This Issue focuses on the spaces for worship in East Asia. Among various human activities, worshiping is the one that has brought the greatest transformations to their living environments, being it for their deceased ancestors through folk beliefs or holy divinities in institutionalized religions. In traditional East Asian settlements, the center of a village was often a clan shrine, and to honor Gods and Buddhas, mountains were carved and cities reshaped. Religious histories of East Asia are rich and complicated, intertwined with local cultures, engaged with global events, and creating worshiping spaces that have become a significant part of the world heritage in the built environments.

In this Special Issue, we welcome new scholarships on East Asian worshiping space in all areas and from any religious backgrounds, Buddhism, Confucian, Daoism, Shintoism, Islam, Christianity, and various folk and shamanistic practices. Architecture is a comprehensive expression of, and the most visible contributors to, the identity of a place, religious, cultural, and regional. A mosque in Xi’an shares more formal and structural common features with a local Buddhist temple than with a mosque in Xinjiang. Buddhist temples in Japan may contain thatch-roofed Shinto shrines while those in China feature halls for worshipping the Martial God Guandi. Such a reality makes it more revealing for a focus of subject on space for worship than architecture of a specific religion.

In addition to studies on such conventional fields as Buddhist, Daoist, or Shinto architecture, we encourage new research with a comparative methodology or on worshiping spaces beyond the well-established religious compartments. Space for worship here is broadly defined, including not only architecture and the formal, structural, functional, and ritual aspects associated with it, but also painting, sculpture, landscape, and urban environment. Worshiping space also does not have to be physical. It can be social, psychological, conceptual, and even literary. With this Special Issue, we aim to understand and put under scrutiny the space for worship in East Asia from different angles and through interdisciplinary perspectives.

Dr. Shuishan Yu
Dr. Aibin Yan
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • space for worship
  • East Asia
  • ritual space
  • Buddhist architecture
  • Daoist architecture
  • Shinto shrine
  • Confucian temple
  • mosque
  • shrines
  • Christian church
  • monastic practice
  • sacred mountains
  • sacred landscape
  • pilgrimage site

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 6374 KiB  
Article
Chan, Garden, and Poetry: The Tidal Sounds in the Changshou Monastery Garden of Canton in the Qing Dynasty
by Rui Li and Jiang Feng
Religions 2024, 15(6), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15060664 - 28 May 2024
Viewed by 123
Abstract
The Caodong School (曹洞宗) advocates the integration of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism (三教會通) and interprets Chan through the I Ching (以易釋禪). During the transition from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty, there was extensive interaction and mobility between the Ming loyalists (遺民) and [...] Read more.
The Caodong School (曹洞宗) advocates the integration of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism (三教會通) and interprets Chan through the I Ching (以易釋禪). During the transition from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty, there was extensive interaction and mobility between the Ming loyalists (遺民) and Chan monks. This accelerated the secularization of monks and promoted the construction of temple gardens, which were expressed and preserved through literary Chan poetry. This study explores the relationship between Buddhist concepts and garden construction through a specific case, the Changshou Monastery Garden (長壽寺花園) in Canton (now Guangzhou) during the Qing Dynasty. This study examines how the Chan master Shilian Dashan 石濂大汕 (1633–1705), who journeyed to Dang Trong (Cochinchina 廣南) to spread Buddhist teachings, shaped the design and layout of the temple garden, reflecting Buddhist ideals and Caodong principles. This study analyzes the changes in landscape at the Changshou Monastery Garden, according to “the sound of tides” (潮音) from a Buddhist perspective. It also reveals how Dashan, as both a monk and a literati, blended Chan and Chinese philosophy in making the garden. The cultural resonance of tides within religious and literati traditions furnishes novel insights and prospects for the development of garden spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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20 pages, 13615 KiB  
Article
Reconstruction of Single-Bay Buddhist Architecture Based on Stylistic Comparisons in Northeast Fujian, the Core Hinterland of the Changxi River Basin—Using Gonghoulong Temple as an Example
by Yu Ding, Yuqing Cai and Jie Liu
Religions 2024, 15(4), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040474 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
In the Changxi River Basin in eastern Fujian, a few stone elements remain and Buddhist buildings with one bay in width and three bays in depth have been preserved dating from the timespan of the Tang to the Song dynasty. These features are [...] Read more.
In the Changxi River Basin in eastern Fujian, a few stone elements remain and Buddhist buildings with one bay in width and three bays in depth have been preserved dating from the timespan of the Tang to the Song dynasty. These features are characterized by a regional form of early Buddhist architecture seldom seen in Chinese history. The article focuses on the reconstruction of a Song dynasty Buddhist building at the Gonghoulou Temple site in Huotong Town, Jiaocheng District, Ningde City, and aims to analyze the potential characteristics and rules of single-bay Buddhist architecture. From the styles of the remaining stone columns, the direction of the lotus carving at the column base, and the mortises of the plinth stone, a spatial arrangement is indicated that includes an open front corridor and a closed rear section. A “reconstruction” of the ruler used in the original building reveals the possibility that a local Fujian ruler was used, shorter than the standard measurement device employed elsewhere. The analysis of the frame construction indicates that this hip-gable roof-covered Buddhist hall utilizes the horizontally layered logic of multi-storied palatial-style halls. Key elements include its gentle roof slope, restraint from the practice of shortening the roof ridge, use of the traditional chuji method, and the interior columns use of internal longitudinal architraves secured to beam supporting brackets. This research brings to light a unique architectural type that has disappeared in the course of history and was previously unknown to the academic community. It holds significant importance and value for deepening the understanding of the history of timber frame architecture technology in Fujian. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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36 pages, 22164 KiB  
Article
Consecrating the Peripheral: On the Ritual, Iconographic, and Spatial Construction of Sui-Tang Buddhist Corridors
by Zhu Xu
Religions 2024, 15(4), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15040399 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1321
Abstract
The corridor-enclosed cloister characterized Buddhist monasteries during the Sui and Tang periods. This architectural form was first introduced by Emperor Liang Wudi from the palace and continued to prevail until the eleventh century, when a gradual transformation occurred, resulting in the corridor evolving [...] Read more.
The corridor-enclosed cloister characterized Buddhist monasteries during the Sui and Tang periods. This architectural form was first introduced by Emperor Liang Wudi from the palace and continued to prevail until the eleventh century, when a gradual transformation occurred, resulting in the corridor evolving into a long, narrow image hall. This paper examines the ritual and pictorial programs of the Sui-Tang Buddhist corridor to gain insight into this transformation and its ceremonial significance. Specifically, it explores how the corridor was empowered by the state-sponsored maigre feast as a place of worship and how the monastic community of a particular school appropriated the space to celebrate an unbroken dharma-transmission lineage from the Buddha to a specific group of Chinese patriarchs. Lastly, the paper aims to comprehend the adaptation of the corridor into an image hall, which was influenced by political and religious shifts in the eleventh century when Buddhist monasteries were no longer designated as the ritual arena for the state-sponsored maigre feast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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28 pages, 6291 KiB  
Article
Spatial Imagination in Sacred Narratives of Mountain Communities in Western Yunnan, China
by Jinghua Huang, Chujing Yang and Si Chen
Religions 2024, 15(3), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030382 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 793
Abstract
Various sacred narratives have different emphases on the shaping of natural space. Creation myths reveal the basic structure of natural space. Sacred narratives of mountain gods focus on how and why mountain forests are the source of life and stability for nearly all [...] Read more.
Various sacred narratives have different emphases on the shaping of natural space. Creation myths reveal the basic structure of natural space. Sacred narratives of mountain gods focus on how and why mountain forests are the source of life and stability for nearly all the species in the area. The myth of the hunting god and the legend of the Flower Festival have a remarkable endemicity. The consciousness of the community of life, which is fundamentally constructed in creation myths, reveals visible and sensible pictures in these two types of narratives. The literary imagination of these sacred narratives focuses on establishing and breaking through spatial boundaries. In the intertwining of an imaginative narrative and a realistic existence, the sacredness of natural spaces is established and can be experienced. Mountaineers imbue their practices with gracefulness and nobleness in the dimensions of emotion and morality through storytelling in order to shape the morphological characteristics and the life essence of natural spaces. The shaping of beautiful places and sublime realms in these narratives is a vivid expression of cosmology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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25 pages, 7415 KiB  
Article
From Pagoda to Pavilion: The Transition of Spatial Logic and Visual Experience of Multi-Story Buddhist Buildings in Medieval China
by Yifeng Xie
Religions 2024, 15(3), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030371 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 855
Abstract
Pagodas and pavilions (ge 閣) are the most popular and representative multi-story buildings since Buddhism was introduced to China. While providing visitors with a new visual experience, they have also largely reshaped the urban space and skyline in medieval China. The former [...] Read more.
Pagodas and pavilions (ge 閣) are the most popular and representative multi-story buildings since Buddhism was introduced to China. While providing visitors with a new visual experience, they have also largely reshaped the urban space and skyline in medieval China. The former originated from India and Central Asia and was transformed in China, developing a unique style; The latter originated more from the creation of Chinese architects and became a model of typical Chinese-style Buddhist architecture. Briefly, the pagoda matured earlier than the pavilion, and continuously developed while maintaining its basic style; the pavilion-style Buddhist architecture gradually developed later and finally matured after the Tang and Song dynasties (618–1276), partially presenting a different spatial logic from the pagoda, and bringing a new visual experience. In my opinion, although the pavilion may not necessarily be as large as the pagoda in terms of volume and absolute height, it can provide believers with greater visual impact in the internal space for worship, due to the cross-story giant Buddhist statues; the closer integration of Buddha statues and architecture makes it replace or share the core position of the pagoda in some monasteries and even become the visual center of the entire religious space. Due to the existence of the pavilion, viewers can not only worship the Buddhist statues on a two-dimensional plane or by looking up at the statues from the bottom, but have also gained a three-dimensional perspective, to worship directly at the Buddha’s shoulders, neck, and head. In the Buddhist grottoes, the layout of the early single-layer or multi-layer horizontally distribution of caves on cliff was also changed due to the excavation of the cross-layer giant statue grottoes, covered by multi-story pavilion-style buildings, providing viewers with a visual experience similar to that of the pavilions of great statues. Additionally, there is a new visual experience of worshiping the Buddha in a vertical circle, in cases such as Bamiyan and the Leshan Giant Buddha. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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23 pages, 11259 KiB  
Article
The Humanistic Process and Spatial Practice of Chinese Zhenshan 鎮山 Worship
by Siqi Tang and Huasong Mao
Religions 2024, 15(3), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030368 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 712
Abstract
The “Zhenshan” 鎮山 (which means a mountain that guards a certain territory) system is based on the traditional Chinese view of nature, which formed and developed through a long period of Confucian humanistic construction. It is the typical representation of China’s nature-oriented worship [...] Read more.
The “Zhenshan” 鎮山 (which means a mountain that guards a certain territory) system is based on the traditional Chinese view of nature, which formed and developed through a long period of Confucian humanistic construction. It is the typical representation of China’s nature-oriented worship space, and it has unique spatial order and spatial significance in the world’s sacred mountain worship. The excavation of the spatial characteristics of Zhenshan worship and its network of humanistic meanings is an important part of research that aims to discover the traditional Chinese values of nature, religious views, and Chinese worship space. Based on the analysis of graphic historical materials and a digital chronicle literature review, this paper quantitatively analyzes the historical information of Zhenshan and summarizes the process of change from the birth of the concept of Zhenshan in the Zhou dynasty to the formation of the sacrificial system in the Han dynasty and its gradual localization after the Tang and Song dynasties with an analysis of its spatial pattern and characteristics of worship. The results show that Zhenshan is one of the typical cultural symbols of the transformation of Chinese mountain worship into the unity of government and religion. And it is a typical product of Confucianism, in which the worship of nature in China is integrated into the political system, and its worship space is rooted in the national, regional, and urban spaces at multiple levels. The Zhenshan system, in the course of its dynamic development, has formed two types of worship space: temple sacrificial and metaphorical constraint, constructing a Chinese worship space based on the order of nature, which is distinctly different from the inward-looking religious space of the West and the sacred mountain worship space formed around the religion of the “supreme god”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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34 pages, 32984 KiB  
Article
Vision and Site: Revisiting a Pure Land Cave of Dunhuang
by Zhenru Zhou and Luke Li
Religions 2024, 15(3), 329; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030329 - 8 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2163
Abstract
Buddhist Utopian vision shaped the art of Pure Land; so did many other factors, including the actual locale. Taking Mogao Cave 172 as the main case study, this article deciphers a visual paradigm of a Pure Land painting and cave in Dunhuang (Gansu, [...] Read more.
Buddhist Utopian vision shaped the art of Pure Land; so did many other factors, including the actual locale. Taking Mogao Cave 172 as the main case study, this article deciphers a visual paradigm of a Pure Land painting and cave in Dunhuang (Gansu, China) from the high Tang period (710–780 CE). By analyzing the visual contents and compositions, the painting medium, the cave spaces, and the cliff site, this study investigates the ways in which the architectural images and spaces in Cave 172 helped to convey the invitation to Pure Land. A close reading of the Western Pure Land painting in Cave 172 reveals the spatial construct of the Buddhist paradise that encouraged a transformative viewing experience. A situated visual analysis of Cave 172 with its auxiliary cave and neighboring caves illustrates the historical procedure in which Pure Land imageries were further integrated with the architectural spaces of caves and cave suites. As this study demonstrates, strategies of spatial layering, self-symmetry and scaling, and plastic and multimedia practices of cave-making enhanced the situatedness of the utopian vision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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22 pages, 6455 KiB  
Article
Ritual, Daoist Temple, and Geography: Spatial Interpretation of Wang Lingguan’s Belief
by Zhaoquan He and Xiaorong Meng
Religions 2024, 15(3), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15030305 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Wang Lingguan is a significant deity in Chinese Daoist beliefs and folk worship. His belief’s formation and proliferation are rooted in specific spatial contexts. This paper introduces a spatial perspective to provide a fresh interpretation of Wang Lingguan’s belief, examining it through the [...] Read more.
Wang Lingguan is a significant deity in Chinese Daoist beliefs and folk worship. His belief’s formation and proliferation are rooted in specific spatial contexts. This paper introduces a spatial perspective to provide a fresh interpretation of Wang Lingguan’s belief, examining it through the lenses of ritual, temple, and geography. In Daoist rituals that bridged sacred and secular spaces, Wang Lingguan emerged as Sa Shoujian’s protector, manifesting his divine power to devotees. For the purposes of ritual simplification and spatial solidification, believers constructed Daoist Temples as emblems of sacredness and reimagined Wang Lingguan as the protector of these temples in their design. The active involvement of the Ming royal family in building Daoist Temples significantly contributed to establishing regional belief centers for Wang Lingguan. During the Qing Dynasty, although Wang Lingguan’s royal patronage waned, his belief spread across most of China, becoming more localized and secularized. The dynamic interplay of ritual, temple, and geographical factors illuminates the establishment, dissemination, and evolution of Wang Lingguan’s belief throughout China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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37 pages, 23698 KiB  
Article
Food and Monastic Space: From Routine Dining to Sacred Worship—Comparative Review of Han Buddhist and Cistercian Monasteries Using Guoqing Si and Poblet Monastery as Detailed Case Studies
by Weiqiao Wang
Religions 2024, 15(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15020217 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 978
Abstract
Through an exploration of meal regulations, dining rituals, and monastic rules of Han Buddhist and Cistercian monks, this article discusses how food affects space formation, layout organization, and site selection in monastic venues using Guoqing Si and Poblet Monastery as detailed case studies. [...] Read more.
Through an exploration of meal regulations, dining rituals, and monastic rules of Han Buddhist and Cistercian monks, this article discusses how food affects space formation, layout organization, and site selection in monastic venues using Guoqing Si and Poblet Monastery as detailed case studies. The dining rituals, such as guotang and the Refectory, transform daily routines into acts of worship and practice, particularly within the palace-like dining spaces. Monastic rules and the concept of cleanliness influence the layout of monastic spaces, effectively distinguishing between sacred and secular areas. The types of food, influenced by self-sufficiency and food taboos, impact the formation of monasteries in the surrounding landscape, while the diligent labor of monks in cultivating the wilderness contributes to the sanctity of the venues. By employing anthropology as a tool for field observation and considering architectural design as a holistic mindset, this article concludes that due to the self-sufficiency of monastic lives, monks establish a sustainable agri-food space system. This ensures that food production, waste management, water utilization, food processing, and meal consumption can be sustainable practices. Food taboos are determined by the understanding of purity in both religions, leading to the establishment of a distinct spatial order for food between the sacred and secular realms. Ultimately, ordinary meals are consumed within extraordinary dining spaces, providing monks with a silent and sacred eating atmosphere. Under the overall influence of food, both monasteries have developed their own food spatial systems, and the act of dining has transformed from a daily routine to a sacred worship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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19 pages, 16443 KiB  
Article
Niches and Sculptures of the Imaginary Realm—Revisiting the Fowan Rock Carvings, Beishan, Dazu
by Bo Sun
Religions 2024, 15(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15010050 - 28 Dec 2023
Viewed by 818
Abstract
The Fowan Cliff Carvings are a key part of the Dazu Grottoes. Formed in a southern and northern stretch, the 290 individual niches at Fowan were mostly sculpted from the Late Tang to the Southern Song. Previous research by archaeologists and art historians [...] Read more.
The Fowan Cliff Carvings are a key part of the Dazu Grottoes. Formed in a southern and northern stretch, the 290 individual niches at Fowan were mostly sculpted from the Late Tang to the Southern Song. Previous research by archaeologists and art historians has used typological and iconographic methods to periodize these niches and debate the themes behind particular niche sculptures. This essay employs niche inscriptions in a discussion of typical Fowan niche contents, matching lay feasting activities onto the period background behind their construction. These individual case studies grant an understanding of the overall atmosphere at Fowan through the shared inclinations or connections between niches, also reflecting specific niche sculptures via holistic analysis. This method, repeatedly examining the relationship between the niches and site from the perspective of “venue”, helps us restore a sense of situatedness when facing different eras of Fowan and to understand the choice in statue content, changes in niche content, and the design underlying niche form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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13 pages, 12982 KiB  
Article
Constructing Heaven: Ceilings of the Stone Tombs in Northeast Asia (1st to 7th Century CE)
by Xuan Chen
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1455; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121455 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 895
Abstract
This paper discusses the spread of several special techniques for tomb ceiling construction in Northeast Asia from the 2nd to the 5th centuries and the mixed beliefs of Buddhism and the cult of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu 西王母) that [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the spread of several special techniques for tomb ceiling construction in Northeast Asia from the 2nd to the 5th centuries and the mixed beliefs of Buddhism and the cult of the Queen Mother of the West (Xiwangmu 西王母) that were embedded in the design of these ceilings. In the 2nd century, stone tombs with ceilings formed by stepped layers of stone slabs flourished in Shandong and northern Jiangsu. These tombs are usually believed to be the prototypes of the stone tombs with more complicated stepped ceilings that appeared in the Goguryeo Kingdom on the Korean Peninsula in the 4th century. However, the way in which the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 CE) stone tombs in eastern China influenced the Goguryeo tombs over relatively long distances in the following centuries is open for discussion. This paper argues that Youzhou 幽州, i.e., the Province of You 幽 ruling the areas including Beijing, northern Hebei, Liaoning, and the northwest of the Korean Peninsula, was a crucial area for the dissemination of these special ceilings of stone tombs. The officials of the Province of You were keen to introduce highly developed masonry craftsmanship from Shandong to construct their ideal shelters for an afterlife in an age full of regional wars and unexpected deaths. Newly introduced Buddhism and traditional beliefs in the immortal land of the Queen Mother of the West were potential driving forces for the dissemination and popularity of these stone ceilings as spaces for worship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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22 pages, 12764 KiB  
Article
Spatio-Temporal Process of the Linji School of Chan Buddhism in the 10th and 11th Centuries
by Zhouzi Ge and Yongqin Guo
Religions 2023, 14(10), 1334; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14101334 - 23 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1434
Abstract
From the middle of the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the Linji School became the main branch of the Southern Chan Buddhism. Understanding the historical significance of the Linji School is crucial for comprehending the origins and development of Chan Buddhism in China and [...] Read more.
From the middle of the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127), the Linji School became the main branch of the Southern Chan Buddhism. Understanding the historical significance of the Linji School is crucial for comprehending the origins and development of Chan Buddhism in China and East Asia. This article adheres to the academic approach of studying Chan in its historical context, using GIS (Geographic Information System) tools to include in the research all seven generations of Linji monks, from the fourth to the tenth Linji generation, and reconstructing the spatial and temporal process of Linji’s transmission in the 10th and 11th centuries. The study found that the Linji monastic group maintained a tenuous relationship with secular power in their ideology during the Northern Song Dynasty, with their preaching distribution center far from the power center (the capital), located to the south of the Yangtze River. This situation allowed the Linji monastic group to avoid extinction during the transition between the Song and Jin Dynasties, and the monastic group later became a unique and thriving force. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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28 pages, 26312 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution Characteristics and the Evolution of Buddhist Monasteries in Xi’an City Area
by Hui Song, Qingwen Meng and Chenyang Wang
Religions 2023, 14(9), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091084 - 22 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1799
Abstract
Buddhist monasteries have played important roles in the development of both the culture of and urban planning in ancient Chinese cities. In this paper, the Buddhist monasteries in the city of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, during the Song (宋), Yuan (元), Ming (明), and [...] Read more.
Buddhist monasteries have played important roles in the development of both the culture of and urban planning in ancient Chinese cities. In this paper, the Buddhist monasteries in the city of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, during the Song (宋), Yuan (元), Ming (明), and Qing (清) dynasties are collated from historical documents. The characteristics of the spatial distribution of Buddhist monasteries are analyzed by using kernel density estimation (KDE), and the evolution of that spatial distribution is explored by documentary analysis. The results show that Buddhist monasteries are closely surrounded by cultural buildings and warehouses, discretely surrounded by administrative buildings. The spatial distribution evolution of Buddhist monasteries has evolved evenly during the expansion of the Xi’an city area, through the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. This study provides a reference for the preservation of Buddhist monastery spaces in the historical context of Xi’an city area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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17 pages, 4608 KiB  
Article
Body, Scale, and Space: Study on the Spatial Construction of Mogao Cave 254
by Weiqiao Wang and Aibin Yan
Religions 2023, 14(7), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14070953 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1693
Abstract
This article focuses on the relationship between body, scale, and space, as revealed in Mogao Cave 254 in Gansu Province. Three topics, namely, body scale, pilgrim behavior, and time–space perception, are discussed. A space model based on mapping and measurement by former scholars [...] Read more.
This article focuses on the relationship between body, scale, and space, as revealed in Mogao Cave 254 in Gansu Province. Three topics, namely, body scale, pilgrim behavior, and time–space perception, are discussed. A space model based on mapping and measurement by former scholars is created to facilitate and visualize the analysis of the body scale of the cave space; the restriction of body scale suggests certain pilgrim behavior in the cave, whereas the occurrence of body behavior results in perception in the dimension of time. How time and space are related must be understood to comprehend the motif of Buddhist expression. This study is an architectural approach to spatial analysis that integrates the design, construction, and use phases through the scale, behavior, and perception dimensions. It is dedicated to broadening and enriching the cognitive dimensions of the space value of Mogao caves to reveal the original value of caves as religious spaces and completely preserve their material and invisible cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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16 pages, 3603 KiB  
Article
Location and Fortune: An Exploration of the Buddhism and Daoism Roles of Geomancy in the Song Dynasty
by Gege Yu, Haoge Gan and Yongqin Guo
Religions 2023, 14(7), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14070859 - 29 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1660
Abstract
The Song dynasty (960–1279) was the peak of fengshui development in China. During this period, fengshui books proliferated, and geomantic techniques spread rapidly. Thus, the population was generally inclined to consider the influence of architecture on the fate of individuals or families from [...] Read more.
The Song dynasty (960–1279) was the peak of fengshui development in China. During this period, fengshui books proliferated, and geomantic techniques spread rapidly. Thus, the population was generally inclined to consider the influence of architecture on the fate of individuals or families from a fengshui perspective. In addition to writing books on fengshui, many Buddhist monks and Daoist masters also practiced the location selection and spatial planning of Buddhist and Daoist temples, houses, and tombs. This paper first collates the fengshui books written by Buddhist monks and Daoists during the Song dynasty and then analyzes their spatial planning concepts according to the geomancy theory. Secondly, taking into account specific cases of Buddhist and Daoist temples, garden buildings, and residential tombs, it elaborates on the reasons and purposes behind the Buddhist monks’ and Daoists’ use of the geomancy theory. Lastly, the changes in the function of site selection in the urban landscape reflect the interaction between Buddhism, Daoism, and fengshui during the Song dynasty. An awareness of the historical origins of religious tradition is helpful in our understanding of fengshui architectural heritage in general. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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20 pages, 1407 KiB  
Article
Mobility to Other Locations: A Study on the Spread of the Cult of Lord Yan from Jiangxi to Hubei in the Ming–Qing Era
by Shuaiqi Zhang and Hongyu Sun
Religions 2023, 14(5), 593; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050593 - 1 May 2023
Viewed by 1597
Abstract
In the Yuan Dynasty, Lord Yan 晏公 was worshipped by the people of Jiangxi 江西 as a water god, but there was no consensus on the identity of the god and the process of his deification. During the transitional period between the Yuan [...] Read more.
In the Yuan Dynasty, Lord Yan 晏公 was worshipped by the people of Jiangxi 江西 as a water god, but there was no consensus on the identity of the god and the process of his deification. During the transitional period between the Yuan and Ming dynasties, the cult of Yan Gong was increasingly popular among different social groups in the Qingjiang 清江 region. Later, thanks to a combination of officials, merchants, and immigrants, its spatial scope was extended to Hubei 湖北 Province. During the Hongwu 洪武 (r. 1368–1398) period, the cult of Lord Yan in Hubei was so prevalent that multiple groups of people were enthusiastically involved in the construction of Lord Yan temples; thus, many temples shot up along lakes and the main tributaries of the Yangtze River, constituting a geographical distribution pattern with a concentration in the central and eastern parts and a scarcity in the west. The reason for this was the multidimensional interaction of migration activities, the cross-regional economic activities of merchants, and the promotion of folk beliefs by local officials since the Ming–Qing era, which encompasses the historical evolutionary features of actors competing for the cult of gods and control of regional social power. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space for Worship in East Asia)
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