Gao Bingzhong, How does superstition become intangible Cultural eritage in Postsocialist China? Positions (2014) 22(3): 551-572
This article narrates how a temple fair worshipping a dragon god, the object of superstition for about sixty years, became an official piece of intangible cultural heritage.
This story takes place in three chapters: First, the temple fair as a local tradition was revibed after China adopted its Reform and Opening policy in 1978. Second, the temporary tent set up annually for worship was replaced by a building, dubbed both “museum” and “temple” by way of creative use of a “double-naming method.” And third, the temple fair was formally identified as a piece of intangible cultural heritage. This course of events epitomizes the once-unimaginable changes that have taken place in Chinese society in the past one hundred years, and it offers a case for scholars to understand the logics of Chinese reform from within its own culture.