What are the influences on the status of Temple Fair Culture in the process of urbanization in china

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Research Essay

The critical and historical analysis of one aspect of “Popular China”, using at least ten academic

sources. Potential themes will be looked at in class. All quotations are to be written in the Chicago

Style, and references are to be indicated using footnotes. Please note that in­text references are not

to be used. Incorrect referencing will result in lost marks. Students are required to include, at the end

of their research essay, scanned images of each of the pages they have quoted. The essay will be

considered incomplete without these images.

What are the influences on the status of Temple Fair Culture in the process of urbanization in China?

Temple Fairs are not only existing in the historical text and historical recollection; they are also reflecting in people’s daily life as an important form of Chinese folk custom culture. The Temple Fairs were rich of economic and cultural significances because of the regions, integration, economy and society. Along with the development of urbanization, the form and the status of the Temple Fair culture changes. The ancient custom of holding temple fairs is to offer sacrifices to the god of the earth, and they have developed into a festival filled with hours of food, performances and games.

The body of this essay would:

Discuss the historic process of Temple Fair culture, consider the differences between the form and content of the Temple Fair in different historical period, also find details about the changes of related space, subjective, the experiential way and the exposition of meaning. The Temple Fair originated in worship ancestral community rural system. The people gathered together for ancestor worship and held some collective activities such as the offerings, playing music, ceremony, this is the embryonic form of the Temple Fair, the Temple Fair evolved into festival during the Spring Festival entertainment. With the introduction of Buddhism, the form and genres of the Temple Fairs continuous change and increase. The significant period including: the development in Ming and Qing Dynasty, before the reform and open in 1950s and after the opening up. Comparing the status of Temple Fair culture at different stage and the historical elements of Temple fairs could reflect the characteristics of the age.

Discuss the influence of urbanization in the rural area. Analysis the development overview of Temple Fair under the background of urbanization and how it influences the cultural spaces and both of the internal and external environments. These changes reflect the characteristics of Temple Fair culture in the period of social transition and how the urbanization impacts on the culture in rural areas. For example, according to Xudong.Z and Duran Bell(2007), the emergence of Mao as a god and the picture of Chairman Mao was displayed during the Temple Fair in multiple temples reflecting critically on the current period of increasing inequality and hierarchy in China and to his desire to reverse this circumstance by supporting Mao as god. Moreover, the Temple Fair is seen as the measure of the importance of a village. If a village is richer than many of its neighbors, the people in surrounding areas would like to develop relationships of trade and marriage. Nevertheless, In Zhejiang, in order to revive and stimulate rural political economy during the period of the state economic reform (early 1980s), the temple-less temple fairs were given the geographic and metaphoric space to function, there would a lot of types of cultural performance such as operatic, narrative, artistic, musical and so on.

Discuss the challenge of the transition and inheritance of temple fair during the process of urbanization. Firstly, briefly introduce the situation of Temple Fair before the reform. The folk belief and activities was restricted and some of the temples were destroyed before the reform, therefore the reconstruction of Temples and the cultural spaces were necessary after the reform. The reconstruction after the reform would support by the government and the general public, but there still exist a lot of problems. The urbanization would also promote the diversified development of the Temple Fair, it is not only the traditional folk activities anymore, but also become the festival that have various forms and interact with economy and modern society.


Reference list

Cooper, Eugene. 2013. The market and temple fairs of rural china: Red fire. Vol. 37. New York;London;: Routledge.


Market and temple fairs of jinhua, china. 2011. Anthropology News 52 (8): 18.

Qian-hou Y, Zheng-chun H. Traditional Temple Fair and Countrymen’s Leisure——Take Ming and Qing Dynasties’ Temple Fair in Shanxi as Example [J][J]. Journal of Shanxi University (Philosophy and Social Science Edition), 2009, 1: 018.

Shiyu Z. Temple Fairs and the Relationship Between Town and Country in the Ming and Qing Dynasties[J]. Studies In Qing History, 1997, 4: 001.

Wu, Cheng-han. 1988. The temple fairs in late imperial china.ProQuest Dissertations Publishing

Yong-yi Y. The Mutual Influence of Legendry, Temple Fair and Local Society: A Folklore Study of Niangniang Temple Fair at C Village in Hebei Province [J][J]. Thinking, 2005, 3: 021.

Yongyi Y. Traditional Folk Cultures and Constructing” New Rural Areas”: Temple Festivals in the Huabei Pear Region as an Example [J][J]. Society, 2008, 6: 011.

Zhao, Xudong, and Duran Bell. 2007. Miaohui, the temples meeting festival in north china. China Information 21 (3): 457-79


Zhongmin L. Initial Exploration on Temple Fair Changes of the Maozhou Town in Renqiu from Ming and Qing Dynasties to Minguo Period of China [J][J]. Ancient and Modern Agriculture, 2006, 1: 013.

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