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True to Her WordThe Faithful Maiden Cult in Late Imperial China$
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Weijing Lu

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758086

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758086.001.0001

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Moral Heroism and Craving for Extremes

Moral Heroism and Craving for Extremes

The Ming Period (1368–1644)

(p.21) Chapter 1 Moral Heroism and Craving for Extremes
True to Her Word
Stanford University Press

This chapter concentrates on the key historical moments at which the discourse shifted and the faithful maiden act took shape. The rise of the faithful maiden cult highlights a close link between the changes in the so-called women's quarters and in the political and cultural realms, indicating the young women as actors who shaped the culture of their time. These faithful maiden cases reveal that the thirteenth century witnessed the rise of extreme rhetoric about female chastity and saw the rise of a radical approach by the state and elite: championing an extreme form of chastity. The Ming society became fascinated with them because they were an embodiment of extremity, strangeness, and novelty. The Ming political climate and the culture brought out extreme actions in both men and women, and such actions eventually shaped the faithful maiden practice into an empire-wide cult.

Keywords:   faithful maiden cult, thirteenth century, female chastity, elite, Ming society, political climate, culture

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