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Inner Quarters Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period

ISBN-10: 0520081587
ISBN-13: 9780520081581
Edition: 1993
List price: $31.95 Buy it from $22.37
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Description: The Sung Dynasty (960-1279) was a paradoxical era for Chinese women. This was a time when footbinding spread, and Confucian scholars began to insist that it was better for a widow to starve than to remarry. Yet there were also improvements in  More...

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Book details

List price: $31.95
Copyright year: 1993
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 12/1/1993
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

The Sung Dynasty (960-1279) was a paradoxical era for Chinese women. This was a time when footbinding spread, and Confucian scholars began to insist that it was better for a widow to starve than to remarry. Yet there were also improvements in women's status in marriage and property rights. In this thoroughly original work, one of the most respected scholars of premodern China brings to life what it was like to be a woman in Sung times, from having a marriage arranged, serving parents-in-law, rearing children, and coping with concubines, to deciding what to do if widowed. Focusing on marriage, Patricia Buckley Ebrey views family life from the perspective of women. She argues that the ideas, attitudes, and practices that constituted marriage shaped women's lives, providing the context in which they could interpret the opportunities open to them, negotiate their relationships with others, and accommodate or resist those around them. Ebrey questions whether women's situations actually deteriorated in the Sung, linking their experiences to widespread social, political, economic, and cultural changes of this period. She draws from advice books, biographies, government documents, and medical treatises to show that although the family continued to be patrilineal and patriarchal, women found ways to exert their power and authority. No other book explores the history of women in pre-twentieth-century China with such energy and depth.

Foreword
Preface
Notes on Conventions
The Borders of Sung China (960-1279)
Introduction
Separating the Sexes
Meanings of Marriage
Making a Match
Rites and Celebrations
Dowries
Upper-Class Wives as Inner Helpers
Women's Work Making Cloth
Husband-Wife Relations
Motherhood
Widowhood
Second Marriages
Concubines
Continuing the Family Through Women
Adultery, Incest, and Divorce
Reflections on Women, Marriage, and Change
Notes
Sources Cited
Index

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