Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Map of Wenruitang's Ritual Alliances
12019-11-18T17:25:08-05:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f3512Map of Wenruitang's ritual alliances. This color version of the map is provided by Roger Shih-chieh Lo 羅士傑, who kindly permits the use of the image. For the black-and-white version of this map, see Lo Roger Shih-Chieh 羅士傑. 2019. "Jindai Wenzhou de longzhou jingdu yu difang zizhi chuantong" 近代溫州的龍舟競渡與地方自治傳統 [Dragon Boat Racing and Local Self-governance Tradition in Modern Wenzhou]. Lishi renleixue xuekan 歷史人類學學刊 [Journal of History and Anthropology] 17, no. 1: 62–63.plain2021-08-12T11:31:32-04:00This color version of the map is provided by Roger Shih-chieh Lo 羅士傑, who kindly permits the use of the image. For the black-and-white version of this map, see Lo, Roger Shih-Chieh 羅士傑. 2019. "Jindai Wenzhou de longzhou jingdu yu difang zizhi chuantong" 近代溫州的龍舟競渡與地方自治傳統 [Dragon Boat Racing and Local Self-governance Tradition in Modern Wenzhou]. Lishi renleixue xuekan 歷史人類學學刊 [Journal of History and Anthropology] 17, no. 1: 62–63.FBMD01000a840d000079ac00006a95010081bd01008ad10100103603009e840400e0c5040045fe04000f1e050029200700Roger Shih-chieh LoUsed with permission.Weiting GuoWG-0029Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f
As Zhang Gang mentioned in his diary, the Gongrui, Xincheng, Tangxia, and Suifeng rivers were the major sites for dragon boat racing. Other rivers also held racing, including those outside the Wenruitang region. In either case, the practice of dragon boat racing was an integral part of the ritual of forming an alliance.
The villages in these systems paid tribute to their “Dragon Boat Madam,” which was a huge dragon boat that was used as a symbol for the entire ritual alliance. Upon the building of a new boat, villagers performed a ritual to invite gods to their boats, then carried the boat from their temple to the water. After the ceremony, the new boat was recognized as a member of the alliance, and hence was permitted to participate in racing under the Madam's scrutiny. Villages belonging to one ritual alliance were thus the players of local political games, using the races to confront and negotiate with other villages within the same alliance (Lo 2019).
The map here shows these three major regions, as well as their ceremonial centers (marked with a semi-circle “U” sign), which housed their Madam boat and possessed the power to adjudicate disputes. In some regions, as Lo points out, communities had built more than one Madam boat. The boundary of each alliance evolved over time, depending on the power balance and the values and shared interests between villages.
In general, the Dragon Boat Madam culture helped local communities maintain their local self-governance system. Villages formed a bond with one another using shared culture and ceremony. When disputes occurred, they also resorted to the deity and the authoritative figures who had managed these rituals.