The “Duan Gong Dance” of the Qiang

Tags: Duan Gong | Qiang

“Duan Gong” is the title of  shamans in Qiang village, whose job is to ward off evil, cure illnesses, and pray for the spirits of the deceased. They also serve as tellers and interpreters of local history and mythology. The magic spells they cast are common among Daoist priests in western Sichuan, and their incantations also draw from Daoism. Duan Gongs can be seen as a product of the intermingling of Han and indigenous religions. In fact, the “Duan Gong Culture” is most popular in regions that are more heavily influenced by Han culture. Duan Gong scriptures are usually divided into upper, middle, and lower parts, and contain stories of how the heavens, earth, and mankind were created, the origin of the local people, as well as spells and chants used to summon gods and exorcise evil spirits. Many Qiang legends relate that the magical powers of some Duan Gongs were so strong that they impressed even ethnic Han Daoist priests and Tibetan lamas.

Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica