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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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Dissuading the Resolute

Dissuading the Resolute

The Families of Faithful Maidens

(p.103) Chapter 4 Dissuading the Resolute
True to Her Word
Stanford University Press

This chapter explores the conflicts and negotiations surrounding a daughter's (or “daughter-in-law's”) request to become a faithful maiden and (if she moved in with her in-laws' family) to adopt an heir. It also investigates from both her natal and marital families' perspectives the cultural, social, and economic premises and concerns under which they opposed and yielded to her requests. The tensions, conflicts, and negotiations involving faithful maidens show the complex interplay among state policy, moral values, human emotions, and the socioeconomic concerns of the family, and reveal in their unique ways the late imperial social and cultural perceptions of a young woman's place in the family, parent–daughter relations, and the constraints and influence she had in the family. Data reveal that in some cases, faithful maidens did not immediately move to their in-laws' homes, and the strategy of the “delayed transfer” might have been practiced in those cases.

Keywords:   faithful maiden, state policy, moral values, human emotions, family, parent–daughter relations

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