Institute of Archaeology


The Longmen Lineages and the Construction of Meaning in Local Society in Late Imperial China

07 June 2023, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Black background image with an window opening onto a sunny landscape with a body of water in the foreground and mountains in the distance. Text in gold, white and blue lettering

Jacopo Scarin (University of Venice) will give an ICCHA China Night research seminar at the UCL Institute of Archaeology on 7 June.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA)


UCL Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
United Kingdom

This is a hybrid event hosted by the International Centre for Chinese Heritage and Archaeology (ICCHA), which will take place in Room 612, 6th floor of the UCL Institute of Archaeology, and also online via Zoom. Registration for the Zoom event is via the booking link above. This seminar is free and open to all. All welcome! 


Daoism is a complex religious phenomenon that reached its first maturity during the Six Dynasties (3rd-6th c.). Throughout the whole imperial era, it developed and adapted to the socio-political context, assimilating, adjusting and reframing doctrines, practices, and imagery from a variety of traditions (Confucianism, Buddhism, popular religions). During late imperial times, Daoism continued to cultivate its bonds with the court and the state, while being present also at the popular level. This lecture deals with a specific Daoist movement, known as Longmen, whose origin and history are still the subject of academic research. It will discuss the historical context in which the Longmen communities arose, before focusing on a set of specific Longmen lineages operating in the Jiangnan region during the 18th and early 19th centuries: this will provide an overview of the social context and institutional organisation of these communities. Finally, the lecture will discuss the role of the Longmen lineages in the production of overarching meaning frameworks among the local elite and in their deployment in local society.

About the Speaker

Jacopo Scarin received his MA degree in Chinese Language and Culture from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and his PhD in Religious Studies from the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, specialising in Daoism and Daoist History. He also conducted research in Japan (Waseda University) and Taiwan (Academia Sinica). He currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow and adjunct professor at the University of Venice. Dr Scarin has collaborated with the Daozang Jiyao Project and is a member of the New Institute Centre for Environmental Humanities (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice) and of the Centre for the Study of Chinese Religions (Southwest Jiaotong University).  Whilst carrying on his research on late imperial Daoism, Dr Scarin is also involved in a research project on the religious practices of the Chinese diaspora in Italy. 

Dr Scarin recently published his first monograph, The Tongbai Palace and Its Daoist Communities: A History. Daoism, at its core, is a religion: a way of interpreting the cosmos. Historically, Daoism evolved by incorporating elements of diverse religious traditions and maintained a dialectical relationship with Chinese society as a whole, affecting the worldviews, value systems and practices of all social classes. Daoist temples synthetically and syncretically embody the successive stages of Daoist history. This book studies the history of the eminent Tongbai Palace within its natural, cultural, religious and political landscape. It highlights what the temple owed to the significance of its location and the people and deities inhabiting it, while showing how, in turn, it increased their prestige and significance.