Research Portal

October 9, 2023

Analysis of the Dong bao Ye as sacred landscape and its Putative therapeutic mechanisms

Yang, S., Liu, J., & Winterbottom, D. (2023). Analysis of the Dong bao Ye as sacred landscape and its Putative therapeutic mechanisms. Health & Place, 83, 103102–103102.

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Humans have innately established close and profound ties with the, and through these relationships shaped many kinds of landscapes. Among these are sacred landscapes, which have drawn the attention of researchers due to their cultural significance. In the field of health geography, large-sized sacred regional landscapes are now the focus of studies for their therapeutic properties. However, few scholars have focused on small sacred landscape systems at the community level (constructed by local communities) or the physical and psycological health benefits that these landscapes offer to the local residents. These small-sized and widespread, but often hidden, sacred landscapes are closely tied to people's daily lives and work. They have evolved and grown over millennia to become critical sociocultural phenomena. This study takes the sacred bao ye landscape of the Dong people of China as the research subject. By adopting the case study approach, field research, semi-structured interviews, and textual analysis, it summarizes the types, geographical distribution, rituals and processes of bao ye as a sacred landscape of the Huanggang village in Guizhou Province, and concludes with an analysis of motivation and health benefits to the bao ye worship. In this paper we argue that bao ye is a sacred landscape system focusing on the healthy development of children, and constitutes a local belief developed in an isolated environment lacking medical resources, which remains in practice. The sacred landscape of bao ye offers a therapeutic environment, providing children with increased opportunities to engage with and build deep connections to nature. Thruogh this process children may develop a bond with nature that inspires them to protect nature on their own accord. We argue that bao ye offers an important case study for understanding the landscape-people healing interactivity at the community level.


Sacred landscape; Therapeutic landscape; Dong