The Mid-autumn festival in China venerates 嫦娥 (Cháng’é), the moon goddess. Like the rituals in last week’s post, the folktales about her reflect the season’s liminality and uncertainties, as she moves from mortality to immortality, from living on earth to living on the moon.
“The world is made of dirt. A rock doesn’t have feelings.” The flaccid man in the documentary glared out of the monitor at me accusingly, as if he suspected me of once being nice to…Continue Reading
As I was working on research for something else entirely, I stumbled upon a collection of Monguor folktales, collected from Qinghai in northwest China. This was a cultural tradition I wasn’t familiar with, and with…Continue Reading
Lately, my thoughts on folktale have been turning primarily around questions of space and landscape—the ways in which the places we live and how we treat those spaces shape the stories we tell. We draw our stories from the natural world, just as we perhaps draw our desire to create and imitate nature in our creations from a rarified instinct towards making things.