Issue 84/2 – 2016

Issue 84/2 – 2016

13/09/2016 Tana Dluhosova


 

Contents

Articles

 

 

Marie Peterková Hlouchová
Wenegit, a Female Counterpart of the God Weneg?…………………………….231–248

This study focuses on a less significant goddess, Wenegit. Her name is attested, as a component of lists of gods, on three Middle Kingdom stelae originating from Abydos: stela Louvre C 15, stela Turin Cat. No. 1534, stela Munich Glypothek WAF 35. The paper investigates these objects in general, with special attention being paid to the enumeration of divinities, and to the existence of the female deity in particular. It attempts to challenge questions relating to the existence of a female counterpart of Weneg, the god attested in the Old Kingdom, and proposes two additional possibilities: a) that the male Weneg himself is the intended deity on the stelae, or b) that the inscription might represent a goddess with no relationship to Weneg.

KEYWORDS

ancient Egyptian religion | god | goddess | Weneg | Wenegit | stela | Middle Kingdom

About the Author

MARIE PETERKOVÁ HLOUCHOVÁ is a PhD candidate at the Czech Institute of Egyptology in Prague. She holds a Master’s degree in History and Egyptology from the Faculty of Arts, Charles University. Currently, she also works as a researcher at the Czech Institute of Egyptology in Prague. She has had extensive practical experience during fieldwork activities in Egypt and Sudan. Her main area of expertise is the religion of the Old Kingdom, mainly the sun cult, as well as decorated wooden coffins from the 1st Millennium BC.
e-mail: mariehlouchova@gmail.com

 

Damien Ukwandu and Benjamin Obeghare Izu
The Ugie Festival Ceremonies as a Demonstration of Ancient Benin Culture in Nigeria……………………………………………………………………………………………….249–267

 

Through the ages, man has recorded his personal life experiences and sojourns in drawings, paintings, artefacts, sculptures, weaving, drama, music, songs, festivals and other forms of art. These expressions form part and parcel of the cultural heritage of mankind, and in many ways help to articulate human history, norms, customs and way of life. To the  Edo society, festivals constitute an essential appendage to their accomplishments. These festivals are usually celebrated with music and dance, which provide entertainment throughout the period of the celebrations. Apart from their entertainment value, festivals provide an opportunity for the memories of our forebears to re-assert themselves in the consciousness of the people, with the hope of leaving the world a better place. Festivals also form a part of the heritage of humankind and have traditionally been passed on for posterity. These festivals constantly remind people of their past which is usually compared with the present so as to ascertain whether communities are progressing or not and to document other dynamic changes. Furthermore, festivals enable celebrating communities to devise programmes to improve the areas in their culture where these have been neglected.

The main focus of this study is on the music and associated ceremonies enacted during the royal  Ugie (festival) of  the Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba of the Benin kingdom. There are cycles of  Ugie rituals held periodically within the confines of the Benin royal palace. Some of these ceremonies are of a private nature, while others are public. During these Ugie ceremonies, the palace is always the centre of ritual activities aimed at the well-being and prosperity of the Omo N’ Oba and the Edo people.

KEYWORDS

Benin kingdom  | Edo people | traditional festivals  | rituals  | music | culture |
Ugie festivals |  Igue festival  | Igue Dance |  Oba of Benin kingdom | chiefs

About the Authors

DAMIAN UKWANDU holds the post of postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Public Governance and Management at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests embrace African politics, culture, governance and development.
e-mail: governor1966@yahoo.com

BENJAMIN OBEGHARE IZU is a Doctoral candidate at the University of South Africa, specializing in Ethnomusicology. He is especially interested in research on African traditional festivals, festival music, African studies.
e-mail: Izuben4real@yahoo.com

 

Soumyajyoti Banerjee, Rajni Singh and Amrita Basu
The Transcendental Self: Demystifying Pāñcālī in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusions………………………………………………………………………..269–290

 

The study concentrates on the story of Pāñcālī, the female protagonist of the Indian epic Mahābhārata. One of the most provocative and mythical characters, Pāñcālī has been subject to numerous interpretations. Chitra Divakaruni demystifies her and renders an authentic female experience without the affliction of canonical tradition. The palaces Pāñcālī inhabits become embodiments of a nationalist culture vitiated with concerns of cognitive dominance. Her efforts to break the shackles of tradition require her to counter such discourse with an entirely new aesthetic of narration and experience, one that is intimately connected to her “self.” Her futile efforts to construct a palace as a retributive symbol and her inadequacy at understanding the strength of the female self finally lead her to a self-sufficient, self-engaged rhetoric of completion. We deviate from standardized models of feminist critiques and employ Edward Said’s theory of Orientalism for interrogating the female experience as a whole. The story of Pāñcālī is the story of the woman rising above her destiny; hers is the story of becoming  Kṣṇā.

KEYWORDS

Orientalism | Pāñcālī | Kṣṇā | demystification | female identity

About the Authors

SOUMYAJYOTI BANERJEE is an Assistant professor in English at Haldia Institute of Technology, West Bengal, India. He is a research scholar at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. He has publications in the fields of Literary Theory, Cultural Studies, English Language Teaching and Pragmatics. His research interests include Indian Writing in English and Critical Theory.
e-mail: max85soumya@gmail.com

RAJNI SINGH is an Associate Professor at Indian School of Mines, Jharkhand, India. She has published considerably in the domains of Indian English Literature, Feminist Criticism and Cultural Theory. She is engaged in major research guidance and her fields of inquiry include feminist writings.
e-mail: rajnisingh18@gmail.com

AMRITA BASU is an Assistant Professor at Savitri Girl’s College, West Bengal, India. She has major publications in fields of Narratology and Literary Theory. She is engaged in research guidance and project work. Her research interests include Indian Writing in English, Critical Theory and Narratology.
e-mail: 2009amrita@gmail.com

 

Charu Gupta
Allegories of “Love Jihad” and Ghar Vāpasī: Interlocking the Socio-Religious with the Political…………………………………………………………………………………291–316

In modern India, the year 2014 was marked by the ascendency of Hindu nationalist forces in politics. At a subterranean level, it was also witness to cries of “love jihad” and ghar vāpasī. “Love jihad” was alleged to be a movement aimed at forcibly converting vulnerable Hindu women to Islam through trickery and marriage and ghar vāpasī was a metaphor deployed by the Hindu Right to prevent religious conversions out of Hinduism and to simultaneously encourage “reconversions.” This essay examines the larger politics behind these aggressive campaigns. It highlights how both these movements were charged with a moral and communal fervor, adopting an unrestrained anti-Christianity and anti- Islam polemic. It argues that such idioms signal the interlocking of the social and the religious with the political. Furthermore, they also reflect the deep-seated anxieties of Hindu Right politics regarding female free will, the subversive potential of love, pliable and ambiguous religious identities, and syncretic socio-religious practices, all of which continue to exist in different forms.

KEYWORDS

conversions | love | desire | Muslims | Hindus

About the Author

CHARU GUPTA teaches history at the University of Delhi. She is the author of The Gender of Caste: Representing Dalits in Print (Delhi: Permanent Black, India & Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016) and Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001 & New York: Palgrave, 2002).
e-mail: charu7@hotmail.com

 

Adina Zemanek
Daughters of the Motherland and (Wo)men of the World. Global Mobility in Shishang (Trends/Cosmopolitan), 1993–2008………………………………………317–347

The present paper undertakes a discourse analysis of  Shishang (the PRC edition of Cosmopolitan) and assesses the extent to which this magazine promotes Western consumerism instead of strengthening a local national character, as Chinese scholars impute. I explore the evolution of  Shishang’s approach to globalization, as reflected in articles from 1993 to 2008, and focus on global mobility as a dimension of the image of women constructed in the magazine. Throughout this period,  Shishang seeks to stimulate the imagination of its readers (in Arjun Appadurai’s terms) by presenting them with experiences, attitudes and life scenarios that increasingly conform to John Tomlinson’s concept of cosmopolitanism and Aihwa Ong’s idea of flexible citizenship. The PRC’s Cosmo women “link up with the tracks of the world” by actively pursuing career development and self-fulfillment in a global context while opportunistically employing available resources, a process accompanied by a growing openness to and understanding of other cultures.  Shishang not only depicts them as women of the world, but also strongly emphasizes their Chineseness, thus doubly complying with the ideological task of the media in the PRC. My study thus proves the above-mentioned criticism to be largely unfounded, but not entirely so –  Shishang’s recent issues promote a model of lifestyle whose overt rejection of materialism in favor of spiritual values are built upon the consumption of expensive global tourism experiences.

KEYWORDS

Shishang | woman image | global mobility | cosmopolitanism | flexible citizenship |

nationalism

About the Author

ADINA ZEMANEK is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Middle and Far Eastern Studies, the Jagiellonian University, Krakow. She graduated in Sinology at the University of Bucharest and obtained her PhD degree in cultural anthropology at the Jagiellonian University. Her research interests focus on texts of popular culture, which she approaches within the frameworks of discourse analysis and grounded theory. She has been awarded a Taiwan Fellowship, conducted research as a Visiting Scholar at the Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology (February–October 2014) and is currently working on a project concerning the construction of Taiwaneseness and national identity in contemporary popular culture (tourist souvenirs, comic books and films). She has written about the image of women in mainland Chinese popular culture (fashion and lifestyle magazines, TV series); her recent publications include the monograph Córki Chin i obywatelki świata. Obraz kobiety w chińskich czasopismach o modzie [Daughters of China and Citizens of the World. The Image of Women in Chinese Fashion Magazines, in Polish],Krakow: Księgarnia Akademicka, 2013.
e-mail: adina.zemanek@gmail.com

 

Kamila Hladíková
Shangri-la Deconstructed: Representations of Tibet in the PRC and Pema Tseden’s Films……………………………………………………………………………………349–380

The aim of this article is to compare the cinematic representations of Tibet in Chinese Tibet-related cinematography with the first three films made by the Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden (Tib. Pad ma Tshe brtan, Ch. Wanma Caidan 万玛才旦) in an attempt to define “Tibetan films” in contrast to “Tibet-related films,” which are a broader category including films made with no direct or only partial Tibetan participation. I argue that Pema Tseden’s first three feature films should be understood as the first cinematic contributions to be made to modern Tibetan identity-discourse. They present the first genuine Tibetan voices to be heard in the PRC cinema, contesting the images of Tibet, its history, its culture and its people, that have appeared in the officially supported media and mainstream popular culture. Pema Tseden has thus successfully de-constructed the “myth of Shangri-la” that has been misused so many times during recent decades in the name of colonialism and propaganda – both Western and Chinese.

KEYWORDS

Tibet | China | Tibetan film | Tibet-related film | minority film | Chinese cinema |
Tibetan cinema | Pema Tseden | Pad ma Tshe brtan | Wanma Caidan | identity |
representation of Tibet

About the Author

KAMILA HLADÍKOVÁ studied Sinology at Charles University in Prague, and completed her PhD in 2011 with the thesis The Exotic Other and Negotiation of Tibetan Self: Representation of Tibet in Chinese and Tibetan Fiction of the 1980s, which was published by Palace University Press in Olomouc in 2013. Since 2007 she has been teaching Chinese literature in the Department of Asian Studies at Palacký University in Olomouc, where she is currently employed as an Assistant Professor. She has published several scholarly articles on Chinese and Tibetan modern literature in academic journals, both in the Czech Republic and abroad. Recently, she has published her translation of Tsering Woeser’s Notes on Tibet (Xizang biji) into the Czech language (Praha: Verzone, 2015).
e-mail: kamilahladikova@centrum.cz

 

Rostislav Berezkin
Precious Scroll of the Ten Kings in the Suzhou Area of China: with Changshu Funerary Storytelling as an Example……………………………………………………381–41

This paper examines the connections to be found between the cult of the Ten Kings of the underworld and the practice of baojuan storytelling (“telling scriptures,” or scroll recitation) in the Suzhou area of Jiangsu province. In some places, notably the city of Changshu, the stories devoted to the Ten Kings are recited during funerary services for the dead and are combined with the ritual actions aimed at salvation of the dead soul (i.e., with the object of obtaining a better form of rebirth for the deceased in the next life). These practices and related narratives have local specifics. They have been known since the 19th century, but rarely have been documented in historical sources. This paper is largely based on the results of the author’s fieldwork in several areas of Suzhou, where this storytelling has survived until the present, in addition to materials preserved in libraries. It focuses on discussion of the origins, special features, and religious affiliation of these funerary performances, taking the Changshu tradition as an example. The author also analyzes the meaning of this ritualized storytelling in comparison with funerary rites and performances in other areas of China and applies to it universal ritual theory. Funerary baojuan performances constitute a part of the complex “ritual event” that involves several groups of religious specialists and texts and rituals of different origins, and that has important social functions in the communities in which they are practiced.

KEYWORDS

baojuan (precious scrolls) | Chinese Buddhism | folk beliefs | storytelling | rituals | folklore

About the Author

ROSTISLAV BEREZKIN obtained his PhD degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is an associate professor at the National Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies, Fudan University (Shanghai). His main fields of research are religious storytelling and popular religion in late imperial China, precious scrolls (baojuan) in particular. His publications in Russian include a book on the function of precious scrolls in Chinese culture, with the Baojuan about the Three Rebirths of Mulian as an example (Dragotsennye svitki v dukhovnoy kul’ture Kitaya: na primer Baots’ziuan’ o trëkh voploshcheniyakh Muliania. Saint Petersburg: Saint Petersburg Centre for Oriental Studies, 2012). His English articles have been published in T’oung Pao, Late Imperial China, Asia Major, Monumenta Serica, Journal of Chinese Religions, Minsu quyi (Journal of Chinese Theatre and Folklore), CHINOPERL (Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature) and other authoritative journals.
e-mail: rostislavberezkin@yahoo.com

 

Michael Rudolph
The Quest for Ethnic Reclassification in Multiculturalist Taiwan: the Case of the Sakizaya…………………………………………………………………………………………….413–443

This paper argues that the large-scale ethnic resurgence, as observed in the quest for ethnic reclassification in Taiwan today, is not simply the result of deep-seated feelings of primordial attachment of people in a post-colonial society. As it has been described in the case of Brazil, the phenomenon seems also to be supported by a national and international context that valorises indigenous identities as a means of reasserting political and territorial claims. As we have seen from various undertakings of the aboriginal and Pingpu movements, members often try to use the UN for political leverage. Another related reason is the strong elitist influence in the movements seeking ethnic reclassification. Focussing on the example of the Sakizaya, who were recognized as Taiwan’s 13th aboriginal group in 2007, I describe how the process of campaigning was dominated by elites who had a thorough understanding of national and international requirements and frameworks. Their visions and ensuing cultural constructions, however, did not always reflect the perspectives of the common people and therefore served as another affirmation of the “elites without people” phenomenon observed in earlier activities of Taiwan’s aboriginal revitalization movement. Although the petition with which the Sakizaya successfully gained recognition as a unique ethnic group in 2007 claimed a total of 15,000 members, fewer than 900 Sakizaya had registered by the end of 2015.

KEYWORDS

Taiwan | indigenous peoples | ethnic reclassification | revitalization movements |
ethnic elites | Sakizaya

About the Author

MICHAEL RUDOLPH has studied Chinese Studies, Japanese Studies, and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Heidelberg. He is specialized in comparative social and cultural studies with a focus on Greater China. His research focuses on postcolonial identity construction in Taiwan as well as on psycho-cultural adaptation problems of ethnic minorities in Taiwan’s rapidly modernizing Han society. He has written books and articles on ethnic relations and social movements, as well as on the dynamics of rituals in Taiwan. Currently, he is researching the formation of new ethnic groups on the island in the new Millennium and the impact of the “travel” of concepts and theories to Taiwan. His teaching work at the University of Southern Denmark comprises courses in Chinese society and culture, intercultural communication and negotiation skills with a focus on China, as well as courses in the Chinese language.
e-mail: rudolph@sdu.dk

 

 

Book Reviews and Notes

 

 R. B. Parkinson. The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant: A Reader’s Commentary.(Stefan Bojowald)……………………………………………………………………………….. 445–446

 Bettina Ventker. Der Starke auf dem Dach. Funktion und Bedeutung der löwengestaltigen Wasserspeier im alten Ägypten.
(Stefan Bojowald) ……………………………………………………………………………….447–449

 Zahi Hawass, Sahar N. Saleem. Scanning the Pharaohs: CT Imaging of the New Kingdom Royal Mummies.
(Břetislav Vachala) ………………………………………………………………………………450–454

 Kirk A. Denton. Exhibiting the Past: Historical Memory and the Politics of Museums in Postsocialist China.
(Hang Lin) …………………………………………………………………………………………..455–457

 

Our Contributors…………………………………………………………………………………. 459–461