For Your Weekend Repository Browsing Pleasure: “Chinese Paper Gods at Columbia University Libraries”
Submitted by on Fri, 2010-07-30 17:02
Ithaca, NY Travel to new places often involves speculation about what common practices in day-to-day life mean as a way of finding out more about unfamiliar surroundings. This was the case when missionary Anne S. Goodrich began noticing numerous “paper gods’ in the homes of Chinese aquaintances more than 60 years ago in Beijing (Peking). She became so fascinated that she began a study of Chinese folk religion and culture that culminated in the publication of a three-volume study: The Peking Temple of the Eastern Peak: The Tung-yüeh Miao in Peking and its Lore (Monumenta Serica, 1964); Chinese Hells: The Peking Temple of Eighteen Hells and Chinese Conceptions of Hell (Monumenta Serica, 1981); and Peking Paper Gods: A Look at Home Worship (Monumenta Serica, 1991). The Columbia University C. V. Starr East Asian Library Chinese Paper Gods collection is comprised of the primary resources Goodrich used to conduct her research. The collection is intended to spark the interest of current and future scholars who seek to understand more about early twentieth century Chinese culture.
You may browse images of paper gods in two categories: those that were on display in the home for prolonged periods of time, or; those that were meant to be burned as part of ceremonies.
The Web site was created in 2007 by Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures in collaboration with the C. V. Starr East Asian Library and the Columbia Libraries Digital Program Division.