chapter  5
12 Pages

The whole and the parts

A study of divinity cannot end without a look at divine miracles. After discussing what people can do for the god, it is time to ask what the god can do for people. This chapter analyzes some of the miracles attributed to Zhenwu from Song to Ming times in order to capture the perception of the god during the Song-Yuan-Ming transition. Zhenwu’s various images projected themselves through numerous anecdotes related by gazetteers and literati-officials. New miracles were ascribed to him by ardent believers, and his persona expanded as he took on the form of a god for all time and for all people.