Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

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Note on Translation and Use of Foreign Terms

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p. ix

Fieldwork involved the use of several languages and dialects, including Standard Chinese, Southwestern Mandarin, Taiwanese Holo, and Bai. For Standard Chinese, I use the pinyin system of romanization, except for persons and places whose customary (non-pinyin) spelling is already familiar to most readers (for example, “Taipei” and “Chiang Kai-shek”). ...

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Chapter 1: Introduction

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pp. 1-20

I am a student of the Chinese martial arts. Beyond practice, however, I have always been fascinated by martial arts culture and history. I first followed that fascination by reading every book and article I could track down on the martial arts. I borrowed an old copy of the out-of-print Secrets of Shaolin Temple Boxing by Robert W. Smith from my...

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Chapter 2: Violence, Honor, and Manhood

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pp. 21-57

Walk into any shrine or temple just about anywhere in China and you will be presented with a tableau that differs little from place to place.1 If a devotee of Chinese popular religion from the mountains of Yun-nan happened to venture into a typical Taiwanese temple, he would immediately recognize its purpose and, once he got past a few obvious ...

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Chapter 3: Taidong: The Mountains and Beyond

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pp. 58-86

The renovation of a local temple in late imperial China was an event that brought officials, local gentry, and commoners together in common cause. Stone steles, inscribed with a testimonial written by a well-placed patron, were often erected to commemorate temple renovations. The act affirmed the position of the...

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Chapter 4: Fire and Fury

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pp. 87-114

The walled prefectural city of Dali, in western Yunnan Province, rests in a valley, strategically equidistant from mountains and water. Like Taidong, it sits on an active fault zone. Like Taidong, a massive, sheer mountain barrier rises up from the valley, and lower, but equally rugged, peaks protect and isolate it on the north and...

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Chapter 5: Tales from the Jianghu

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pp. 115-175

The Taidong Lantern Festival procession winds a tightening spiral through the city’s Japanese-era grid of downtown streets and alleys. The center of the spiral, the procession’s endpoint, is the courtyard of the city’s oldest and largest temple, the Tianhou Gong. As the gods and their retinues arrive, they are ushered, two by two, into the spacious courtyard to pay obeisance to the temple’s...

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Chapter 6: Wine, Women, and Song

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pp. 176-203

For most men in Chinese society, joining friends and associates for a night on the town can be as much obligation as indulgence. Both senses are captured in the two phrases most often used to describe such socializing: yingchou, “reciprocal entertainment,” and he jiu...

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Chapter 7 Conclusion: Faces of the Gods

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pp. 204-211

“Young men should not study the Water Margin; old men should not read the Three Kingdoms” (Shao bu du Shuihu, lao bu kan Sanguo) . Reflecting on this aphorism, kung-fu master and raconteur Cheng Jiamiao explained that from these two great Chinese classical vernacular novels, and in their effects on men at different stages of life, one can discern the trajectory of a man’s life. Since young men are naturally hot-tempered...

Notes

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pp. 213-246

Glossary

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pp. 247-254

Bibliography

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pp. 255-268

Index

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pp. 269-273