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Old Society, New BeliefReligious transformation of China and Rome, ca. 1st-6th Centuries$
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Mu-chou Poo, H. A. Drake, and Lisa Raphals

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190278359

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190278359.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 October 2021

Honoring the Dead

Honoring the Dead

The Buddhist Reinvention of Commemorative Literature, Ritual, and Material Culture in Early Medieval China

(p.91) 6 Honoring the Dead
Old Society, New Belief

Huai-yu Chen

Oxford University Press

One of the most striking features of Buddhism was its impact on Chinese funeral and mortuary culture and practice. For example, the portrait eulogy and its related ritual practice transformed from an indigenous tradition to a hybrid tradition. Although both the posthumous portrait and the portrait eulogy appeared in pre-Buddhist Chinese history, they entered traditional funeral rites and eventually became a Buddhist reinvention due to the efforts of both monks and literati. During the third to the sixth centuries, the portrait eulogy in Chinese society experienced a twofold transformation, from the rhetorical tool of political and social value system to the cultural and religious tool of social and family commemorations, and also from the part of the government-sponsored political practice to the part of private and individual ritual practice.

Keywords:   portrait eulogy, mortuary rites, religious rituals, funeral culture, Buddhist cultural reinvention

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