During the Tang dynasty (618–907), changes in political policies, the religious landscape, and gender relations opened the possibility for Daoist women to play an unprecedented role in religious and public life. Women, from imperial princesses to the daughters of commoner families, could be ordained as Daoist priestesses and become religious leaders, teachers, and practitioners in their own right. Some achieved remarkable accomplishments: one wrote and transmitted texts on meditation and inner cultivation; another, a physician, authored a treatise on therapeutic methods, medical theory, and longevity techniques. Priestess-poets composed major works, and talented priestess-artists produced stunning calligraphy.
In Gender, Power, and Talent, Jinhua Jia draws on a wealth of previously untapped sources to explain how Daoist priestesses distinguished themselves as a distinct gendered religious and social group. She describes the life journey of priestesses from palace women to abbesses and ordinary practitioners, touching on their varied reasons for entering the Daoist orders, the role of social and religious institutions, forms of spiritual experience, and the relationships between gendered identities and cultural representations. Jia takes the reader inside convents and cloisters, demonstrating how they functioned both as a female space for self-determination and as a public platform for both religious and social spheres. The first comprehensive study of the lives and roles of Daoist priestesses in Tang China, Gender, Power, and Talent restores women to the landscape of Chinese religion and literature and proposes new methodologies for the growing field of gender and religion.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||49 MB|
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About the Author
Jinhua Jia (PhD, Comparative Literature, Colorado) is Professor of Chinese Culture at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the author of Studies of Classical Chan Buddhism (Oxford, 2010) and The Hongzhou School of Chan Buddhism in Eighth- Through Tenth-Century China (SUNY, 2006), and the coeditor (with Xiaofei Kang and Ping Yao) of Gendering Chinese Religion: Subject, Identity, and Body (SUNY, 2014), as well as a number of titles in Chinese, and has published articles in English-language journals such as Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy; Philosophy East and West;Journal of Oriental Studies; Men, Women, and Gender in Early and Imperial China; Taiwan Journal of Religious Studies; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society; Journal of Chinese Religions; International Journal of Chinese Studies; Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies; and Tang Studies.
Table of ContentsList of Figures and Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. The Rise of Daoist Priestesses as a Gendered Religio-Social Group
2. Destiny and Power of the Ordained Royal Women
3. Religious Leadership, Practice, and Ritual Function
4. Liu Moran and the Daoist Theory of Inner Cultivation
5. Longevity Techniques and Medical Theory: The Legacy of Hu Yin
6. The Yaochi ji and Three Daoist Priestess-Poets
7. Unsold Peony: The Life and Poetry of the Priestess-Poet Yu Xuanji
Appendix: Du Guangting and the Hagiographies of Tang Daoist Women