The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period / Edition 1

The Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period / Edition 1

by Patricia Buckley Ebrey
     
 

ISBN-10: 0520081587

ISBN-13: 9780520081581

Pub. Date: 12/01/1993

Publisher: University of California Press

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…  See more details below

Overview

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.

Author Biography: Patricia Buckley Ebrey isProfessor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and the author of Confucianism and Family Rituals in Imperial China (1991).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520081581
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
12/01/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
312
Sales rank:
395,103
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.13(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Notes on Conventions
The Borders of Sung China (960-1279)
Introduction1
1Separating the Sexes21
2Meanings of Marriage45
3Making a Match61
4Rites and Celebrations82
5Dowries99
6Upper-Class Wives as Inner Helpers114
7Women's Work Making Cloth131
8Husband-Wife Relations152
9Motherhood172
10Widowhood188
11Second Marriages204
12Concubines217
13Continuing the Family Through Women235
14Adultery, Incest, and Divorce250
15Reflections on Women, Marriage, and Change261
Notes273
Sources Cited293
Index321

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