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Ritual Is Theatre, Theatre Is Ritual;
Tang-Ki: Chinese Spirit Medium Worship
by Chan, Margaret

Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual: Tang-ki Chinese Spirit Medium Worship represents a seminal investigation into a fascinating 5000 year-old ritual theatre that is still actively performed in Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

Tang-ki spirit medium worship is a ritual-theatre of the Hokkien people of southern China in which it is believed spirits possess mediums who become gods incarnate. Tang-kis are warrior gods who serve their congregation by doing battle with evil forces that cause illness and misfortune. This fighting stance is performed in a sensational theatre-of-pain where mediums self-mortify. They pierce their bodies with
skewers and spears and cut themselves with swords.

Theatre, where the body is employed to make and to share meaning, is the primal form of human expression and is older than language, and tang-ki ceremonies as interactive theatre, allow devotees the solace of face-to-face encounters with their gods incarnate.

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ritual is theatre theatre is ritual
Cover of Margaret Chan's book showing a
Tangki during a ritual

 

 

 

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