Tangki War Magic

The Virtuality of Spirit Warfare and the Actuality of Peace

in Social Analysis
Author:
Margaret Chan Singapore Management University margaretchan@smu.edu.sg

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Tangki spirit-medium worship is practiced in the Hokkien communities of Southeast Asia and Taiwan. Tangkis are exorcists who perform war magic using the ritual theater of self-mortification. A tangki pierces his body with rods and swords in order to be supercharged with the spirit-power of the weapons for the battle with evil. Self-mortification can also enact a bodhisattva sacrifice of the body on behalf of devotees. The virtuality of the ritual theater convinces believers of the actuality of exorcism, which will ensure peace and safety in the reality of the everyday.

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

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