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Religions 2019, 10(2), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020095

Metamorphosis and the Shang State: Yi 異and the Yi ding[fang]

Independent Scholar, 530 Mowbray Arch Norfolk, VA 23507, USA
Received: 1 January 2019 / Revised: 28 January 2019 / Accepted: 29 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
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Abstract

Despite a long tradition of scholarship on Shang religion, a clear and comprehensive account of that religion has proven elusive. Many scholars have relied on written accounts from the much later Warring States and Han eras purporting to describe Shang beliefs and practices, and have been misled into describing the Shang religion as bureaucratically institutionalized and characterized by tension between inner court and outer court worship of ancestral and nature deities. Other scholars have generalized about the nature of divinity in Shang time and have recognized the position of the king who as one with Di was divine. Rather than act as an intermediary between the living and dead, the Shang king was divine and equivalent to Di. The present study follows research recognizing that the Shang king ruled over a state system which I label “institutionalized metamorphism”. By “institutionalized metamorphism” a belief is implied in the metamorphic power of the Shang king that allowed him identification with and to a certain extent control over numinous spirits. View Full-Text
Keywords: Shang religion; belief system; metamorphism (yi); yiding = tetrapod ding; fangding vessel; royal power symbols; Shang state; Kui deity Shang religion; belief system; metamorphism (yi); yiding = tetrapod ding; fangding vessel; royal power symbols; Shang state; Kui deity
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Childs-Johnson, E. Metamorphosis and the Shang State: Yi 異and the Yi ding[fang]鼎. Religions 2019, 10, 95.

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