Most commentators imagine contemporary China to be monolithic, atheistic, and materialist, and wholly divorced from its earlier customs, but Kenneth Dean combines evidence from historical texts and extensive fieldwork to reveal an entirely different picture. Since 1979, when the Chinese government relaxed some of its most stringent controls on religion, villagers in the isolated areas of Southeast China have maintained an "underground" effort to restore traditional rituals and local cults.
This book documents the revival of local popular religion in Putian, Fujian. Volume 1 provides a historical introduction to 153 regional ritual alliances made up of 724 villages. Volume 2 surveys the population, lineages, temples, gods, and annual rituals of these villages.