World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Chinese lineage associations

Article Id: WHEBN0043411376
Reproduction Date:

Title: Chinese lineage associations  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Chinese folk religion, Religion in China, Chinese creation myth, Bao ying, Jingxiang
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Chinese lineage associations

Cài family ancestral temple in Shantou, Guangdong.
People forgather for a worship ceremony at an ancestral shrine in Hong'an, Hubei.

Chinese lineage associations, also kinship or ancestral associations (Chinese: 宗族社会; pinyin: zōngzú shèhuì or Chinese: 宗族协会; pinyin: zōngzú xiéhuì), are a type of social relationship institutions found in Han Chinese ethnic groups and the fundamental unit of Chinese ancestral religion. They gather people who share the same surname belonging to the same kin, who often have the same geographical origin (ancestral home), and therefore the same patron deities. They aren't seen as distinct from the Chinese kin itself, but rather as its corporate form. These institutions and their corporeal manifestations are also known as lineage churches or kinship churches (宗族堂 zōngzú táng), or, mostly on the scholarly level, as Confucian churches,[1] although this term has principally other different meanings.

They provide guanxi (social network) to members and they build and manage ancestral shrines or temples dedicated to the worship of the progenitors of the kins as their congregational centers, where they perform rites of unity.[2]

A lineage is a corporation, in the sense that members feel to belong to the same body, are highly conscious of their group identity, and derive benefits from jointly-owned property and shared resources.[3] Benefit derives from the surplus income of ancestral shrines and homes, which is reinvested by the managers or shared out in yearly dividends.[4] Benefit of belonging to a lineage can also be measured in terms of protection and patronage.[5] Ancestral temples also support local schools and engage in charitable work.[6]

Different lineages may develop through the opposite processes of fusion and segmentation.[7] They can also be dispersed and fragmented into "multi-lineage areas" or concentrated in one place, or "single-lineage area".[8]

See also


  1. ^ Scolar of Chinese traditional religion Liyong Dai uses the term "Confucclesia", "Confucian church".
  2. ^ Watson, 1982. pp. 595-597
  3. ^ Watson, 1982. p. 594
  4. ^ Watson, 1982. p. 600
  5. ^ Watson, 1982. p. 600
  6. ^ Watson, 1982. pp. 601-602
  7. ^ Watson, 1982. pp. 604-609
  8. ^ Watson, 1982. pp. 604-609


  • James L. Watson. Chinese Kinship Reconsidered: Anthropological Perspectives on Historical Research. On: China Quarterly, n. 92, December 1982.
  • Lili Lee Tsai. Cadres, Temple and Lineage Institutions, and Government in Rural China. On: The China Journal, n, 48, July 2002.
  • Myron L. Cohen. Lineage Organization in North China. On: The Journal of Asian Studies 49, n. 3, August 1990, 509-534.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.