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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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The State and the Social Webs of Exaltation

The State and the Social Webs of Exaltation

The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

(p.68) Chapter 3 The State and the Social Webs of Exaltation
True to Her Word
Stanford University Press

This chapter reports a wide range of political and social mechanisms that supported the faithful maiden cult and details the motives of those involved, focusing on state policies honoring faithful maidens and chaste widows. It also discusses the vast social webs working in conjunction with the central government to bring faithful maidens to the attention of the public. In the cases of faithful maiden suicide and chaste widow suicide, Manchu women were honored earlier than Han women. If the local officials and literati saw the honoring of the faithful maidens as an “impractical” thing, a faithful maiden shrine was bound to deteriorate, and so was the local energy promoting the cult. The faithful maiden cult found its way into some of the most remote localities, thanks to a well-placed system of publicizing and honoring these young women.

Keywords:   faithful maidens, chaste widows, social webs, Manchu women, Han women, suicide

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