Kristofer Schipper

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Kristofer Schipper (2009)
Young Tao master at the initiation ritual in the Zhengyi order. (Photo: Kristofer Schipper, Gangshan , 1963)

Kristofer Schipper (born October 23, 1934 in Järnskog, Eda , Sweden ) is a Dutch sinologist . His area of ​​interest is Daoism , especially research into the Daoist canon . He taught at the Sorbonne and the University of Leiden , among others .


Kristofer Schipper grew up in the Netherlands. He attended school in Bilthoven, the Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap of Kees Boeke and in Amsterdam the Montessori Lyceum . In Paris he studied Chinese and Japanese at the École nationale des langues orientales vivantes and then got a job as a scientific researcher at the École française d'Extrême-Orient .

In 1962, Schipper was admitted to the Academia Sinica as a visiting student in Taipei , the capital of Taiwan , where he worked at the Institute of Ethnology. This enabled him to do field research in the ancient city of Tainan in southern Taiwan. He was interested in Chinese folk religion as well as Chinese puppet theater , which he believed had links to Taoist rituals. In the spring of 1964, Schipper was given the opportunity to be the first Western researcher to attend a great ritual called Pure Sacrifice (qingjiao, 清 醮) in Xigang , which takes place every three years and lasts five days each. In 1968 he was introduced to the Zhengyi School of Taoism as a master. The admission took place in Tainan by Zhang Enpu (1904-1969), descendant of the 63rd generation of the first sky master Zhang Daoling .

In 1970 Kristoffer Schipper returned to Paris, where he received a professorship for Chinese religions at the École pratique des hautes études . From 1979 to 1985 he headed the Taoist Bibliography research group at the Center national de la recherche scientifique . At the University of Leiden he heads the working group Beijing as a Holy City , supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research . He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences . In 1985 he became a Knight of the French Legion of Honor and in 2004 received the Stanislas Julien Prize . Since retiring, he has lived in Fuzhou, Fujian Province with his wife, Yuan Bingling .

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