Thursday, November 1, 2012

Xiangxi 3: Chengzhou Fu (辰州符)

The complete book of Chengzhou Fu.
Shen Chongwen described in his book Xiangxi: Fenghuang: “The practitioners of Chengzhou Fu concentrated in Fenghuang.” Chengzhou was originally the ancestral home of Hunt and Pu tribe. Later it became the ruling place of Yelang. Sorcerers learnt through generations of experience forming area specific magical system called “Chengzhou Fu” or Chengzhou talismans.


Needless to say that there are many types of Chengzhou Fu: some Fu uses burning joss sticks and paper money as media to inscribe the talisman in the air or water; some use chopsticks or sword to inscribe talismans in a bowl of wine or chicken blood and for an expert; it is suffice simply to draw the talisman using his or her fingers. In short, in the Chengzhou tradition, Fu can do everything.


A renowned Chinese scholar Chianmu wrote about Chengzhou Fu:


“I was staying in a village when I was young. One day, I saw a Chengzhou Fu exponent in a village visited by a farmer with a swelling leg. The exponent drew the figure of a leg on the wall, then takes a knife and cut lines on the figure. Blood oozing from the leg figure on the wall, when the blood finally stopped, the farmer’s swelling leg has recovered. I swear what I seen am true, but can’t explain how a drawn leg can produce such a large quantity of blood.


In another incident, a person was bitten by a poisonous snake and subsequently succumbed to the snake poison. A Chengzhou Fu exponent was passing by; he took a knife and drew a circle encircling the corpse, and then stabbed a few scissors with open mouth into the ground. After that, the exponent started to chant, snakes from all directions came and entering the circle through the opening scissor mouths. The exponent grasped the snakes one by one and compared the snake mouth with the bite mark on the corpse.  Not matching ones are released and leave through the scissor mouth. After measuring around 10 snakes or so, a match was found. So the exponent pressed the culprit’s mouth onto the wound mark and let the snake suck back its venom. After that, the snake is let go through one of the opening scissor. While the snake was passing through the scissor mouth, the scissor snapped close and the snake was cut into two and died. While the corpse was slowly gaining consciousness, then sat up and finally stood up. This was indeed the work of God.”


I have personally collected some stories about Chengzhou Fu, but none are as amazing as the above two. May be I will share them some other time. In fact, the ancient Xiangxi was quite backwards with insanitary conditions; there were no means of seeking medical attentions. When people are feeling sick, they can only consume some herbs or Fu from sorcerers. If they have subsequently recovered, then people would say that was the power of Fu. On the other hand, it was the fate.

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