chapter  2
18 Pages

A god in full

This chapter analyzes the early stages of the growth of Zhenwu worship during the Song period (960-1279). The god’s debut in the Daoist pantheon in the mid-tenth century brought him to the attention of the public; within a century, individual temples and affiliated chapels dedicated to him could be found in the capital, in inland areas, and along the frontier. Practices in veneration of Zhenwu became well developed during Song times. Devotees enshrined his images at home and in temple, held congregational gatherings, and observed the calendar and dietary restrictions prescribed in the name of the god. They also organized the ritual of Offering (jiao醮) and parades to celebrate the god’s birthday. By reconstructing the various rituals and activities of Zhenwu worship, this chapter demonstrates that Zhenwu already commanded empire-wide worship at this time.