The Secret of the Stone

© Song / Seaman / Rousso-Schindler
39 minutes / Colour / 2009
Directed by
Zhifang Song Gary Seaman Steven Rousso-Schindler


Country of production United States China

Series Song Family Village

Located on the North China Plain about 200 miles south of Beijing, 'Song Family Village' is home to about 1,300 people. Some 80% of all villagers are members of a single lineage of the Song surname. The film documents New Year’s customs to demonstrate the segmentary structure of the Song family lineage. Ancestor temples provide the focus for collective rituals that express historical growth and subsequent fissioning into lineage segments. Minimal segments (Wufu or mourning groups) are shown as interaction groups focused on the household shrines of senior living agnates. Although the Communist-led Cultural Revolution tried to eliminate traditional kin-based institutions, this film shows that segmentary lineages are still a vigorous aspect of life in this North China village.

Language and subtitles English and Chinese with English Subtitles

Region Central Asia and Far East

Country China

Keywords Family / Kinship Collective / Community identity Ritual Festivals / Carnival