TYPE: Manuscript
DIMENSIONS: 25.5 x 21.0 x 0.5 cm
WEIGHT: 44 grams
COMPONENTS: 20 double sided pages
ITEM ID: 5366
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Yao Magic Manuscript #39

Century: 20th (1901-2000)
Notes: Dates to the early to mid 20th century.

A Yao magic manuscript dates to the early to mid 20th century.

All manuscripts of the Yao were written on handmade paper made of straw and bound together with cord. The Yao have no written written word of their own and so they have borrowed Han Chinese characters to transcribe and preserve their culture.

Daoism has historically been important to the Yao.  Jinag Yingliang, in a 1948 study, argued that Yao religion was characterized by (1) a process of Han Chinese-influenced Daoisation (Chinese: 道教化; pinyin: Dàojiào huà); (2) the endurance of pre-Daoist folk religion; and (3) some Buddhist beliefs.

The description of Yao religion is similar to the definition of Chinese folk religion as described by Arthur Wolf and Steve Sangren.  Scholar Zhang Youjun takes issue with claims of “strong Buddhist influence” on the Yao, arguing that “although Yao ritual texts contain Buddhist expression, the Yao do not believe in Buddhism at all. They are resolutely Taoist.”