Dali is a small region on a high plateau in Southeast Asia. Its main deity, Baijie, has assumed several gendered forms throughout the area's history: Buddhist goddess, the mother of Dali's founder, a widowed martyr, and a village divinity. What accounts for so many different incarnations of a local deity? Goddess on the Frontier argues that Dali's encounters with forces beyond region and nation have influenced the goddess's transformations. Dali sits at the cultural crossroads of Southeast Asia, India, and Tibet; it has been claimed by different countries but is currently part of Yunnan Province in Southwest China.
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Goddess on the Frontier: Religion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China | Megan Bryson
There were over gods and goddesses worshipped throughout ancient China , but if one were to count every deity or spirit, the number would be over 1, Each town, village, city , field, farm, and sometimes even separate plot in a graveyard, had its own Tudi Gong , an elemental earth spirit, who was recognized and honored. There were also spirits known as Kuei-Shen , nature spirits, who might inhabit a tree or live by a stream or preside over a garden. These were eternal spirits who had never been mortal but others, known as guei or kuei, gui, kui , had once been human beings who had died and passed on to the afterlife. The guei could return to haunt the living for various reasons, and rituals, spells, and religious practices developed to appease them. There were also deities who had once been mortal and now lived with the gods, such as the Baxian Pa Hsien , the Eight Immortals of holy Taoists who were rewarded by the goddess Queen Mother of the West with immortality. The Baxian were prayed to like any of the other gods, as were one's ancestors who had passed over the bridge between the land of the living and the realm of the dead to live among the gods and watch over the living.
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A solar deity also sun god or sun goddess is a sky deity who represents the Sun , or an aspect of it, usually by its perceived power and strength. Solar deities and Sun worship can be found throughout most of recorded history in various forms. The Neolithic concept of a "solar barge" also "solar bark", "solar barque", "solar boat" and "sun boat", a mythological representation of the Sun riding in a boat is found in the later myths of ancient Egypt , with Ra and Horus. Predynasty Egyptian beliefs attribute Atum as the sun-god and Horus as a god of the sky and Sun. As the Old Kingdom theocracy gained power, early beliefs were incorporated with the expanding popularity of Ra and the Osiris-Horus mythology.
India gave rise to Hinduism and Buddhism, which spread throughout Asia, and also Jainism. Jainism has been continuously practised in India since at least the 6th century BC, but it never became popular outside India. Jain art relates stylistically to Buddhist and Hindu art. As Hinduism and Buddhism spread, artists borrowed ideas and assimilated familiar local concepts to create new forms.