This paper deals with analysis of gender issues in an ethnic religious system in Western China, the religion of the Tu ethnic group. We focused on gender in Tu religion, which entailed documenting gender dynamics in three major ethnographic domains that have been present in religious systems around the world and through time: spirit beliefs, rituals, and specialists. Though examined gender dynamics as they occur among the Tu in all three of these niches, we found that in the Tu spirit world, there are major male and female spirits who are viewed as having equal status and equal power over the weather. However, in the domain of ritual specialists, the gender situation changes. As for gender-differentiation in rituals, we found practices that excluded women from entering temples and from participating in public emergency rituals associated with weather crises. In addition, we have attempted to identify the multiple causal factors that that may have affected the evolution of Tu.
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