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Goddess on the FrontierReligion, Ethnicity, and Gender in Southwest China$
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Megan Bryson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799546

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799546.001.0001

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Lady of Cypress Chastity

Lady of Cypress Chastity

Baijie Furen in the Ming and Qing

(p.107) 4 Lady of Cypress Chastity
Goddess on the Frontier

Megan Bryson

Stanford University Press

As the Ming dynasty continued and gave way to the Qing, more migrants from the empire’s eastern and central regions made their way to Yunnan. Baijie Furen, the third form of Baijie, emerged as a result of this increasing contact between Han outsiders and Dali locals. This chapter argues that Baijie Furen, portrayed in legend as an eighth-century widow martyr, supplanted the earlier forms of Baijie because of her multifaceted identity: for Dali elites, she signified the region’s long history of Confucian virtues, which marked it as civilized; for Ming and Qing elites, her exceptional example proved that imperial civilizing projects could succeed. In both cases Baijie Furen served as a proxy for the Bai people because male elites correlated a population’s civilization with women’s sexual propriety.

Keywords:   Baijie Furen, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty, widow martyr, chastity, Bai, ethnicity

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