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Publishers WeeklyInspired by a statue of the Chinese goddess of universal compassion, Guanyin, that stands in the author's hometown of Toronto, historian Griffith (Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story) presents this wide-ranging anthology of Chinese goddesses. For centuries, Guanyin has been an object of devotion for Chinese Buddhists and, as Kannon, to Japanese and Korean followers. Working from the comprehensive history of Chinese gender relations published in 1995 by the Chinese Partnership Studies Group (The Chalice & The Blade in Chinese Culture), the author seeks to prove that goddess-based faiths promote a strong "reverence for life." Written in a readable first person and presented in textbook format with chapter subheads, this catalogue of goddesses ranges from the dawn of creation and the half-snake goddess Nü Wa, to 20th century heroines such as Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai. In addition to serving as a valuable historical reference guide, Griffith's study sheds light on the evolution of women's roles in Chinese society, from the early days of matrilineal "womb" clans (a legacy still apparent in Taiwan) to revolutionary female activists of the 20th century. Includes maps, timelines, alphabetical glossary of goddesses and divine couples, and bibliography.
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