The 14th century dragon king temple in Southern Shanxi is the only known intact survivor of this ancient Water God institution once existing in every Chinese agricultural community. After describing the history, lay-out and mural paintings of the building, its original Yuan time mural paintings enable the author to depict the ritual of praying for rain, and the actual rain-making of the god.
The meaning of the unique painting of a theatrical company is interpreted as to subject and its connections with the ritual of praying for rain.
Rainmaking magic is compared with similar practices in other parts of the world (India), and thus suggests a common cosmological basis of Chinese and Indian cultures, and a common pattern of human behaviour and mode of thinking concerning human procreation and food production.
Anning Jing, Ph.D. (1994) in Art History, Princeton University and post-doctoral fellow, Columbia University, is Associate Professor of Asian Art at Michigan State University. He has published extensively on Chinese painting.
"This is an intensely satisfying book to read because one feels as if one has visited a fascinating temple and studied paintings on its walls in the company of an extraordinarily knowledgeable guide." – Valerie Hansen, in: Artibus Asial, 2004
"…the present study will undoubtedly have a great impact on future research seeking to discern the interests of the local community rather than those of the established religions of Buddhism, Daoism or Confucianism." – Lennert Gesterkamp, in: T'Oung Pao, 2004
Sinologists, students of art, theatre, (comparative) religion and intellectual history