Franciscus Verellen


Community and Ritual in Medieval Daoism: The Way of the Heavenly Master 天師道

Daoism originated as an organized religion with the Heavenly Master movement in the Later Han period (AD 25-220). This project explores the ritual foundations of the movement in the early civilization of southwestern China (the region of modern Sichuan), its reformation by Lu Xiujing under the Liu Song dynasty (420-479), the development of its Petition Ritual through the Six Dynasties (220-589), and finally the transformation of medieval Daoism under the Tang (618-907). The study's focus is on the medieval Heavenly Master community and the ritual program that shaped its clerical and lay organization. The Petition Ritual, in particular, embodied the movement's belief system and soteriological expectations at different communal levels. The period overall is marked by intensive interaction with Buddhism. The adoption of Buddhist karmic morality and mortuary rites in China left a profound imprint on indigenous ideas and rituals related to healing, redemption, and the unseen world, raising barely reconciled contradictions between received doctrine and popular practices that are documented by liturgical petitions and funerary writings recovered from tombs.


Gao Pian 高駢 (822-887): Soldier, Statesman, and Architect in Late Tang China

The career of Gao Pian is a case study of regional autonomy and innovation in late Tang and Five Dynasties China (850-965). The architect of the medieval citadels of Hanoi and Chengdu and large-scale defensive and communication works in several frontier regions of China, Gao Pian is a leading figure in the military, political, and intellectual history of this period. A charismatic general and governor, inclined to the occult arts of strategy, he was a man of wide learning and curiosity, a patron of Daoist ritualists and alchmists, as well as a talented poet. Commander in chief of the Tang's war effort against the Nanzhao kingdom in Yunnan (864-79) and the Huang Chao rebellion (875-84), Gao left his mark as military governor of the Protectorate General of Annan (North Vietnam) and the province of Xichuan (Sichuan), before becoming the quasi-autonomous ruler of the Huainan region (Anhui).

Franciscus Verellen
Franciscus Verellen

Directeur d'études

EFEO Centre
Institute of Chinese Studies
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT
Hong Kong, China
Tel. +852 3943 7369


franciscus.verellen@efeo.net