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Dr. Martie Geiger-Ho leads a double life-first as a senior lecturer at the Universiti Brunei, Darussalam, and secondly as her performance art character, the “Kiln Priestess.” Dr. Geiger-Ho received her doctorate in philosophy from Texas Tech University in 2003 and divides her time between teaching ceramics, sculpture and art history in Brunei and writing at her home in Bradford, PA. She is married to Kong Ho, a painter and muralist who is also an associate professor at the Universiti of Brunei Darussalam. She and her husband travel the US, Hong Kong, Japan, and Brunei among other places, to conduct research, attend conferences, and exhibit their artwork. Dr. Geiger-Ho’s website (www.kilnlore.com) features extensive information on kiln gods and stunning photos of her work.
Martie Geiger Ho’s comprehensive and noteworthy study can be divided into two parts. In the first part, the reader is introduced to the realm of kiln lore, including the author’s alter ego, the Kiln Priestess, who not only helps her watch over unpredictable kiln firings, but also manifests herself in the author’s photographic works. Later she guides the reader through the origins of kiln gods in the American ceramic community. The second half of this book presents the cultural research and actual kiln god temple sites where various kiln god deities are worshiped in Hong Kong and China. Geiger-Ho’s insights into this trope are not only unique, they are also the first to have been seriously researched as an academic undertaking. “My exhaustive research into the history and mythology of kiln gods as a topic for my dissertation led me to believe that there is a direct lost link between the practice of kiln god rituals in the United States and the ancient religious beliefs of China still in practice today.”