E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.: +7 (495) 621-18-84
12, Rozhdestvenka str., Moscow, 107031, Russian Federation
PhD in Philosophy, Senior Researcher, Department of China, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
This article examines ideas about the weasel (huang-shu-lang, huangyou, huang pi-zi) as a mythological character that are widespread in our time in the vicinity of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as in the south of Hebei province. It makes use of field materials and data from forums as well as other Internet resources of mainland China. Having supernatural abilities, the weasel is often included among the “four great families” or “five sacred animals,” ideas about which spread in China in the seventeenth century with the accession of the Manchu house of Qing. However, in Hebei, it is now mostly perceived as an independent deity. Sometimes a wonderful weasel is described as an enricher: for example, it can contribute to the prosperity of its patronized family and bring it things stolen from other places. The wonderful weasel is able to manipulate people, causing hysterical disorder or preventing a tardy traveler from finding home at dusk. Similar abilities can be attributed to ordinary weasels, finding in this case parascientific explanations for them. The weasel is asked for help in case of illness or, if necessary, to find out one’s future. Weasels can also inhabit a medium-healer or an ordinary person, in the latter case becoming the cause of illness. The last part of the article describes stories about the ways in which wonderful weasels try to gain immortality
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