Contained in:
Book Chapter

Looking at China’s cultural complexity. Food, colours and ritual: sensuous epistemology and the construction of identity in the “other” China

  • Cristiana Turini

Studies on ethnic and cultural diversity within China have progressively eroded the far too simplistic and widespread idea of ​​the Chinese nation as a monolith. In the resulting multicultural internal context, food is definitely more than a necessity for survival and can signify the desire of a community to stabilize a fluid and multiple identity. At the same time, it can be seen also as an indication of the multitude of relationships that the individual forms not only with others as individuals, but even as spirits, gods, and demons. The aim of this contribution is to explore some of the complexity of foodways involving consumption and religion and to understand the extent to which religious uses of foods contribute to the forging and transmission of cultural identity. I will do this by referring to the Naxi people of the Lijiang area as my case-study. My analysis will also take into account how, through the exploration of the Naxi religious foodways and cosmology, it is possible to gain an insight into their culturally different balances of the senses and their sensuous epistemology. This study will be based mainly on Naxi ritual manuscripts and videos of ceremonies, collected and made during my fieldwork in Yunnan.

  • Keywords:
  • Hybridization,
  • Tibetan-Yi corridor,
  • Naxi,
  • epistemology,
  • food practices,
+ Show More

Cristiana Turini

University of Macerata, Italy

  1. Arnold, Philip P. 2000. “Religious Dimensions of Food: An Introduction.” Journal of Ritual Studies 14 (1): 4–5.
  2. Chao, Emily. 2008. “Layered Alterities: Discourses of The Other in Lijiang, China.” Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 34 (2): 101–20.
  3. Classen, Constance. 1993. Worlds of Sense: Exploring the Senses in History and Across Cultures. London and New York: Routledge.
  4. Dietler, Michael. 2007. “Culinary Encounters: Food, Identity, and Colonialism.” In The Archaeology of Food and Identity, edited by Katheryn Twiss, 218–42. Carbondale: Center for Archaeological Investigations Press, University of Southern Illinois.
  5. Douglas, Mary. 1966. Purity and Danger. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  6. Fei, Xiaotong 费孝通. 1980. “Guanyu woguo minzu de zhibie wenti关于我国民族的识别问题” [On the Issue of Ethnic Classification in China]. Social Sciences in China 1: 147–62.
  7. Fei, Xiaotong 费孝通. 1982. “Tan shenru kaizhan minzu diaocha wenti 谈深入开展民族调查问题” [Debating the Problem of Carrying Out In-Depth Field Ethnographic Surveys] Journal of South-Central Institute for Nationalities 3: 2–6.
  8. Fei, Xiaotong 费孝通. 1990. “Plurality and Unity in The Configuration of Chinese People” (script of a lecture delivered at The Chinese University of Hong Kong on November 15 and 17, 1988). In The Tanner Lectures on Human Values 11, edited by Grethe B. Peterson, 167–221. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
  9. Fischler, Claude. 1988. “Food, Self and Identity.” Social Science Information 27: 275–93. DOI: 10.1177/053901888027002005
  10. Geng, Yanfei, Zhang, Yu, Ranjitkar Sailesh, Huai Huyin, and Yuhua Wang. 2016. “Traditional knowledge and Its Transmission of Wild Edibles Used by the Naxi in Baidi Village, Northwest Yunnan Province.” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12: 10. Published Feb 5, 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s13002-016-0082-2
  11. He, Limin 和力民. 1985. “Looking at Naxi Ancient Society Through the ‘Creation Myth’” [从 ‘创世纪’ 看古代纳西族社会]. In Dongba wenhua lunji 东巴文化论集 [A Collection on Dongba Culture], edited by Guo Dalie 郭大烈and Yang Shiguang 杨世光, 223–30. Kunming: Yunnan People Publishing House.
  12. He, Liming, and He, Shicheng. 1998. “The Dtô-mbà Ceremony to Propitiate the Demons of Suicide”. In Naxi and Moso Ethnography, edited by Elisabeth Hsu and Michael Oppitz, 139–72. Zurich: Vӧlkerkundmuseum.
  13. Howes, David. edited by. 1991. The Varieties of Sensory Experience: A Sourcebook in the Anthropology of the Senses. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  14. Jackson, Anthony. 1979. Na-khi Religion: An Analytical Appraisal of Na-khi Ritual Texts. The Hague: Mouton Publishers.
  15. Kittler, Pamela Goyan, Kathryn P. Sucher, and Marcia Nahikiam-Nelms. 2012. Food and Culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  16. Li, Guowen. 2000. “The Naxi Traditional Medicine. The Dongba Sutra of Naxi Ethnic Group.” In Dynamics of Ethnic Cultures Across National Boundaries in Southwest China and Mainland Southeast Asia: Relations, Societies, and Languages, edited by Yukio Hayashi and Yang Guangyuan, 189–205. Chiang Mai: Ming Muang Printing House.
  17. Mathieu, Christine. 1998. “The Moso Ddaba Religious Specialists.” In Naxi and Moso Ethnography, edited by Elisabeth Hsu and Michael Oppitz, 209–34. Zurich: Vӧlkerkundmuseum.
  18. McKhann, Charles F. 1992. Fleshing Out the Bones: Kinship and Cosmology in Naqxi Religion. PhD Diss. Chicago University.
  19. Norbu, Namkhai Chӧgyal. 1996. Drung, Deu e Bӧn. Le narrazioni, i linguaggi simbolici e il Bӧn nell’antico Tibet. Arcidosso: Shang-Shung Edizioni.
  20. Ong, Walter. 1991. “The Shifting Sensorium”. In The Varieties of Sensory Experience: A Sourcebook in the Anthropology of the Senses, edited by David Howes, 25–30. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  21. Rock, Joseph. 1935. “The Story of the Flood in the Literature of the Moso (Na-khi).” Journal of the West China Border Research Society 7: 64–82.
  22. Rock, Joseph. 1937. “The Birth and Origin of Dto-mba Shi-lo, the Founder of the Mo-so Shamanism, According to Mo-so Manuscripts.” Artibus Asiae 7: 5–85.
  23. Rock, Joseph. 1952. The Na-Khi Naga Cult and Related Ceremonies. Part I, II. Rome: ISMEO.
  24. Rock, Joseph. 1963. The Life and Culture of the Na-khi Tribe of the China-Tibet Borderland. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag.
  25. Shi, Shuo 石硕. 2018. “Ethnic Flows in the Tibetan-Yi Corridor Throughout History.” International Journal of Anthropolology and Ethnology 2 (2). DOI: 10.1186/ s41257-018-0009-z
  26. Stein, Rolf Alfred. (1996) 1998. La civiltà tibetana. Torino: Einaudi.
  27. Stoller, Paul. 1989. The Taste of Ethnographic Things: the Senses in Anthropology. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  28. Sun, Hongkai 孙宏开. 1983. “Liu jiang liuyu de minzu yuyan jiqi xishu fenlei 六江流域的民族语言及其系属分类.” [The Minority Languages of The Six Rivers Basin And Their Genetic Classification]. Journal of Ethnic Studies 3: 99–274.
  29. Sun, Hongkai, and Tommaso Previato. 2016. “Il ‘corridoio etnico’: vicissitudini di una nozione centrale negli studi di antropologia linguistica della Cina.” Anuac 5 (1): 293– 312. DOI: 10.7340/anuac2239-625X-2398
  30. Tucci, Giuseppe. 1995 [1976]. Le religioni del Tibet. Rome: Edizioni Mediterranee.
  31. Turini, Cristiana. 2012. “The Naxi People in Ming China: the Rule of the Mu Tusi in Yunnan Province.” Ming Qing Studies 1: 131–74.
  32. Turini, Cristiana. 2015. Tessendo nel corpo la trama del corpo. Le esperienze di malattia e guarigione tra i Naxi dello Yunnan. Roma: Aracne.
  33. Turini, Cristiana. 2016. I libri del Pipistrello Bianco. Ricostruzione linguistica, filologica e culturale di un manoscritto rituale Naxi. Macerata: Quodlibet.
  34. Turini, Cristiana. 2020. “Ethnicity and Tradition in the Upper Mekong Region: Mapping the Other China at the Turn of the XIX Century.” In Italian Association for Chinese Studies Selected Papers, vol. 3, edited by Elisa Giunipero and Chiara Piccinini, 183–203. Venezia: Cafoscarina.
  35. Weckerle, Caroline S., Franz K. Huber, Yang Yongping, and Sun Weibang. 2005. “The Role of Barley among the Shuhi in the Tibetan Cultural Area of the Eastern Himalayas.” Economic Botany 59 (4): 386–90.
  36. Xu, Zhang. 1998. “A Naxi Cremation Ceremony.” In Naxi and Moso Ethnography: Kin, Rites, Pictographs, edited by Elisabeth Hsu and Michael Oppitz, 127–38. Zurich: Vӧlkerkundemuseum.
  37. Yang Lixin, Selena Ahmed, John Richard Stepp, Kai Mi, Zhao Yanqiang, Ma Junzeng, Chen Liang, Pei Shengji, Huai Huyin, Xu Gang, Alan C. Hamilton, Yang Zhi-wei, Xue Dayuan. 2014. “Comparative Homegarden Medical Ethnobotany of Naxi Healers and Farmers in Northwestern Yunnan, China”. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 10 (6). Published Jan 10, 2014. DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-10-6
  38. Yang, Fuquan 杨福泉. 2004. “The ‘Ancient Tea and Horse Caravan Road’, the ‘Silk Road’ of Southwest China.” Silk Road Journal 2 (1): 29–33. <https://edspace.american.edu/silkroadjournal/wp-content/uploads/ sites/984/2017/09/The-%E2%80%9CAncient-Tea-and-Horse-Caravan-Road%E2%80%9D-the-%E2%80%9CSilk-Road%E2%80%9D-of-Southwest-China. pdf>
  39. Yang, Fuquan 杨福泉. 2017. “Lüe lun Naxizu yinshi xisu de wenhua yiyun 略论纳西族饮食习俗的文化意蕴” [On the Cultural Implications of the Dietary Customs of the Naxi People]. Journal of Ethnology (民族学刊) 8 (2): 25–33. DOI: 10.3969/j.issn.1674-9391.2017.02.02
  40. Zhang, Lingling, Chai Zhenzhen, Zhang Yu, Geng Yanfei and Wang Yuhua. 2016. “Ethnobotanical Study of Traditional Edible Plants Used by the Naxi People During Droughts.” Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12 (1): 39. Published Sep 12, 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s13002-016-0113-z
PDF
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Pages: 177-193
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
  • © 2021 Author(s)

XML
  • Publication Year: 2021
  • Content License: CC BY 4.0
  • © 2021 Author(s)

Chapter Information

Chapter Title

Looking at China’s cultural complexity. Food, colours and ritual: sensuous epistemology and the construction of identity in the “other” China

Authors

Cristiana Turini

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6.15

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Food issues 食事

Book Subtitle

Interdisciplinary Studies on Food in Modern and Contemporary East Asia

Editors

Miriam Castorina, Diego Cucinelli

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

202

Publication Year

2021

Copyright Information

© 2021 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/978-88-5518-506-6

ISBN Print

978-88-5518-505-9

eISBN (pdf)

978-88-5518-506-6

eISBN (epub)

978-88-5518-507-3

Series Title

Studi e saggi

Series ISSN

2704-6478

Series E-ISSN

2704-5919

381

Fulltext
downloads

171

Views

Export Citation

1,308

Open Access Books

in the Catalogue

1,962

Book Chapters

3,290,448

Fulltext
downloads

4,155

Authors

from 869 Research Institutions

of 64 Nations

63

scientific boards

from 340 Research Institutions

of 43 Nations

1,150

Referees

from 345 Research Institutions

of 37 Nations