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Divination: The kiō-á

photo by DKJ

Two men struggle to hold on to a kiō-á, a divination chair, as a god comes to sit in it. The chair does not move for just any weilder, but when it does its motions can be strong and violent.

photo by DKJ

When writing, the chair traces letters upon the surface of a table. In traditional Chinese automatic writing séances, the writing instrument was a more delicate stylus and characters were often traced on a bed of sand. In Baoan the same wee throne in which a visiting spirit invisibly sits during other visits to the village serves as the writing instrument, tracing characters with its arms on a heavy wooden plank. Charms are sometimes written (as here) by dipping the arm of the chair into a pool of freshly ground ink and writing upon small slips of paper.