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Guan YuThe Religious Afterlife of a Failed Hero$
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Barend J. ter Haar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198803645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198803645.001.0001

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Historical Figure and Divine Being

Historical Figure and Divine Being

(p.1) 1 Historical Figure and Divine Being
Guan Yu

Barend J. ter Haar

Oxford University Press

This chapter first provides a general introduction to the historical figure of Guan Yu and the cult which grew around him, Lord Guan becoming one the most popular and influential deities of imperial China. It surveys the historiography of the cult, from its earliest beginnings in the form of hagiographical compilations to academic research in Japanese, Chinese, and Western languages. Chinese language research in particular even today is often still hagiographic in character. A critical discussion is provided of this scholarship and its analytical problems. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of the nature of the historical evidence on a cult such as that of Lord Guan.

Keywords:   Lord Guan, Guan Yu, oral culture, historiography, memories, stories

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