The Hui minority, the largest of ten Muslim nationalities in China, is distributed throughout every province and city and over 70 percent of all counties (Map 1; Diao 1967:169). This paper endeavors to shift discussion away from conventional considerations of whether the Hui are really “Muslim” or merely inheritors of a cultural tradition somewhat different from the Han majority. Instead, I propose to examine one important area of interest to Hui communities throughout China, namely the lore and events surrounding various tombs and shrines, which I categorize as historic, Sufi, and local. Historic tombs reflect concerns that put local Hui identity in an international perspective; Sufi tombs link the Hui in national networks and often divide them regionally; and local tombs evoke interests that are more communal, reflecting practical concerns and personal identities.

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