Concept

Shi (personator)

Summary
The shi () was a ceremonial "personator" who represented a dead relative during ancient Chinese ancestral sacrifices. In a shi ceremony, the ancestral spirit supposedly would enter the descendant "corpse" personator, who would eat and drink sacrificial offerings and convey messages from the spirit. James Legge, an early translator of the Chinese classics, described shi personation ceremonies as "grand family reunions where the dead and the living met, eating and drinking together, where the living worshipped the dead, and the dead blessed the living." In modern terms, this ancient Chinese shi practice would be described as necromancy, mediumship, or spirit possession. Word The word shi 尸 "corpse; personator; inactive; lay out; manage; spirit tablet" can be discussed in terms of Chinese character evolution, historical phonology, semantics, and English translations. Characters The modern character 尸 for shi "corpse; personator" is a graphic simplification of anci
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