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The Divine Authorship of Pei-yu chi [Journey to the North]

Gary Seaman
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 45, No. 3 (May, 1986), pp. 483-497
DOI: 10.2307/2056527
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2056527
Page Count: 15
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The Divine Authorship of Pei-yu chi [Journey to the North]
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Abstract

Pei-yu chi [Journey to the North] is a late Ming novel, which since Ch'ing dynasty times has usually been published together with three other short novels, namely Nanyu chi |lbracJourney to the South|rbrac, Tung-yu chi |lbracJourney to the East|rbrac, and Hsi-yu chi [Journey to the West], as a composite edition entitled Ssu-yu chi [The Four Journeys]. Authorship of Pei-yu chi is usually attributed to a certain Yü Hsiang-tou, but the work is popularly regarded as the mythic charter of divinity of the Emperor of the Dark Heavens (Hsüan-t'ien Shang-ti), apotheosis of the north. Arguments based on analogy with present-day religious practices on Taiwan, as well as the content and structure of Pei-yu chi, are used to support a theory that the text was originally composed as a religious tract (shan-shu) by Chinese spirit-medium cults.

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