The Hopping Dead. Zombies in the Chinese Culture
pdf (Русский)

Abstract views: 724
PDF Downloads: 81

Keywords

Zombies
Chinese Culture
Demonology
Thanatology
Folklore
Chinese Literature of the Late Imperial Period
City Legends

How to Cite

Sarakaeva, A., & Sarakaeva, E. (2021). The Hopping Dead. Zombies in the Chinese Culture. Corpus Mundi, 2(4), 60-111. https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v2i4.54

Abstract

The article examines the image of zombies in Chinese culture, the traditional perception of their appearance and internal characteristics. A wide scope of written sources served as the basis of the study: inscriptions on oracle bones, ancient fortune-telling calendars, historical treatises, chronicles and commentaries on chronicles, essays on geography and medicine, fiction of old and modern China, as well as entries and comments from the Chinese blogosphere.

The authors examine how the idea of evil spirits (with a body or bodiless ones) first appeared in the religious worldview of the ancient Chinese, and trace its origin to the doctrine of existence of multiple souls in one person. The article also details the formation of the pictorial image of Chinese zombies: animated corpses covered with hair or dressed as government officials, with their arms extended forward, hopping on straight legs unable to bend their knees. As for the functional characteristics of zombies, the authors discuss not only their well-known features (e.g., cannibalism), but also their deep inner connection with water and drought. In conclusion, the authors explore the evolution of zombies in modern urban legends and demonstrate the continuity of traditional demonology that develops into modern narrative.

Apart from that, the article contains a number of analogies and comparisons of the Chinese image of zombies with other nations’ mythological tradition.

https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v2i4.54
pdf (Русский)

References

Brashier, K. E. (1996). Han Thanatology and the Division of “Souls”. Early China, 21, 125–158. doi: 10.1017/S0362502800003424

Chen, F. (2002). Archetype and Aesthetics of the Fantastic: The Narrative Form in Chinese and French Fiction. Comparative Criticism, (24), 239–254.

Childs-Johnson, E. (1995). The Ghost Head Mask and Metamorphic Shang Imagery. Early China, 20, 79–92. doi: 10.1017/S0362502800004442

Eliade, M. (1998). Religions of Australia. St. Petersburg: University Book. (In Russian).

Fedorenko, N. T. (Ed.). (1987). Shijing. Book of Songs and Hymns. Moscow: Fiction Literature. (In Russian).

Gan, B. (2014). In Search of Spirits. Chengdu: Chengdu Ming Dynasty books. (In Chinese).

Goldin, P. R. (2015). Consciousness of the Dead as a Philosophical Problem in Ancient China. In The Good Life and Conceptions of Life in Early China and Greco-Roman Antiquity (pp. 59‑92). Berlin: De Gruyter.

Göttner-Abendroth, H. (2012). Matriarchal societies: Studies on indigenous cultures across the globe. New York: Peter Lang Publishing.

Guo, J. (2018). The Spirit World. In P. R. Goldin (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Early Chinese History (pp. 229–261). New York: Routledge.

Hong, M. (1994). The Notes of Yijiang. Zhongzhou Publishing House “Ancient Books”. (In Chinese).

Huang, M. (2016). From Cultural Ghosts to Literary Ghosts – Humanisation of Chinese Ghosts in Chinese Zhiguai. In In Ghosts—Or the (Nearly) Invisible.Spectral Phenomena in Literature and the Media. Peter Lang AG.

Is the Appearance of Zombies in Chengdu, Sichuan, Real? Why Do the Village People Never Mention It? (2021). Retrieved from Speaking Follies about Society website: https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1708962802436984777&wfr=spider&for=pc (In Chinese)

Ji, Ch., & Yu, J. (2001). The Glory of Yue. Guiyang: The People’s Publishing House of Guizhou. (In Chinese).

Ji, Y. (1974). Notes from the Hut of the Great in the Small. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russian).

Ji, Y. (2017). The Notes from the Thatched Cottage. Beijing: The Publishing House of Beijing University of Science and Engineering. (In Chinese).

Li, L. (1996). Mortuary Ritual and Social Hierarchy in the Longshan Culture. Early China, 21, 1–46. doi: 10.1017/S0362502800003394

Litvina, A. F., & Uspensky, F. B. (2006). The choice of name among the Russian princes in the 10th-16th centuries. Dynastic history through the prism of anthroponymy. Moscow: Indric. (In Russian).

Needham, J. (1954). Science and Civilization in China. Cambridge: Cabridge University Press.

Pu, S. (2021). The Tales from the Make-do Studio. Jiangsu: Jiangsu Phoenix Literature and Art Publishing House. (In Chinese).

Puett, M. (2019). Life, domesticated and undomesticated: Ghosts, sacrifice, and the efficacy of ritual practice in early China. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 9(2), 439–460. doi: 10.1086/706073

Shen, Y. (2019). On the Change and Development of Horror Images in Western Vampire Movies and Chinese Zombie Movies. Journal of Henyang Normal University, 46-52. (In Chinese).

Ten Great Cases of Spirits in China. The 1995 Case of Zombies in Chengdu. (2021). Retrieved from Meng Zimin website: http://mengzimin.yergoo.com/post/145/ (In Chinese)

The Beginning and the End of the Zombie Phenomenon in Shanghai. Two Versions of the Vampire Attack in Pudong. (2021). Retrieved from Telling Strange Stories website: https://www.qiwen8.com/html/54739.htm (In Chinese)

The Book of Mountains and Seas. (2014). The Publishing House of “Guangming Daily”. (In Chinese).

The whole story of the Shanghai Red-haired Zombie incident in 1931. (2017). In Beiyang Night Travels. Changjiang Literature and Art Publishing House. (In Chinese).

Wang, S., & Si, M. (2019). Zombie Movie Genre in the Cultural Mirror of Hong Kong. Cinema and Literature, (3), 17-21. (In Chinese).

Wu, Ch. (2009). The Journey to the West. People’s Literature Publishing House. (In Chinese).

Xie, Z. (2021). Five Different Trays. Book Company of China. (In Chinese).

Yin, Y. (2016). On the Cultural Representation in Hong Kong Zombie Films with “Mr. Zombie” as an Example. Chinese Information Journal, (221), 387. (In Chinese).

Yü, S. (1994). The Records of Mountains and Valleys. Book Company of China. (In Chinese).

Yuan, M. (1995). Censored by Confucius. New York and London: East Gate book.

Yuan, M. (2003). The New Records of Qi Xie or What Confucius Didn't Talk About. St. Petersburg: Northwest Press. (In Russian).

Yuan, M. (2021). Censored by Confucius. Jiangsu: Jiangsu Phoenix Literature and Art Publishing House. (In Chinese).

Zelenin, D. K. (1995). Essays on Russian mythology. Selected Works. Articles on Spiritual Culture. Indric. (In Russian).

Zhang, D. (1997). The Book of Five Shelves. Shanghai: The Shanghai publishing House of Ancient Books. (In Chinese).

Zhang, J. (2020). Revealing a very special profession that was lost a hundred years ago -"The corpse carpenter”. Retrieved from https://baike.baidu.com/tashuo/browse/content?id=835bbb2f9872dc26a7039dec&bk_fr=planet (In Chinese)

Zhuan, W., & Pan, W. (2018). Zombie, the Merciless Stranger. In Cultural Heritage of China. The Notes on Demons (pp. 86–97). Beijing: The Publishing Society of “Cultural Heritage of China” Journal. (In Chinese).

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.