February 29, 2008 (Q#4) How Local Cults Began in China under the Han Dynasty The shrines and inscriptions dedicated to local cults dating from the mid-second century A.D. contains records of how some local deities are discovered and worshipped and their powerful influence on local populations. Under the Han dynasty, the Chinese people were very open to new religions and did not mind creating new cults. The object of worship varied; it may be a local hero, a spirit of holy landscape such as a river or a mountain – like the Sangong Mountain – or just a legendary figure. New discoveries of deities were usually coupled with some forms of a miracle. For instance, a ghost – Prince Qiao – addressing to a local man – a young woodcutter Yin Yongchang – on the matter regarding trees surrounding his tomb was considered as a miracle. As such a miraculous story became popular in the region, a figure of authority, such as the magistrate Wan Xi of Taishan, began investigating the story for its
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This essay was uploaded on 03/31/2008 for the course ASIAN 2212 taught by Professor Mcneal,r&rusk,b during the Spring '08 term at Cornell.