Please wait a minute...

Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Front Liter Stud Chin    2011, Vol. 5 Issue (4) : 511-536     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11702-011-0140-z
research-article |
Cultural and Ritual Empowerment of Women in the Northern Courts: Yu Xin’s Epitaphic Writings
QIAN Nanxiu()
Chao Center for Asian Studies (MS-47), Rice University, Houston, Texas 77251-1892, USA
Download: PDF(472 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks
Abstract

Yu Xin (513–581) was famous for writing muzhiming epitaphs. Of his nineteen extant pieces written for the Xianbei nobles in the Northern courts, thirteen were for women. In this regard, Yu Xin surpassed his contemporary men of letters of the entire Southern and Northern dynasties (420–589), both by quantity and by quality. As the leading man of letters from the South, Yu Xin was retained by the Northern courts for cultural strengthening. His epitaphic writing obviously resulted from the court’s order for this purpose. His emphasis on women was however rooted in his personal experience as well as the intellectual trends and social customs of his time. Influenced by the Wei-Jin (220–420) self-awakening, women in the Southern and Northern dynasties enjoyed relatively more spiritual freedom and less social confinement than their Han predecessors. While this Wei-Jin legacy continued in the South more from the intellectual respect, in the North it found unison from tribal regimes’ inherited esteem for women. Yu Xin’s epitaphs for women clearly combined all these cultural and social influences. Using ornate parallel prose (pianwen) style, Yu Xin wove cultural traditions into Northern women’s daily lives, bestowing these women with collective cultural status as well as intimate personal profiles. The genre of epitaph, as a ritual language, also highly ritualized these women’s social status. Both effectively empowered women in the Northern court. Meanwhile, these works also reflected Yu Xin’s own vision of an ideal womanhood.

Keywords Yu Xin      epitaph      women      Xuanxue (Abstruse Learning)      Wei-Jin spirit      Southern and Northern dynasties      ritualization     
Corresponding Authors: QIAN Nanxiu,Email:nanxiuq@rice.edu   
Issue Date: 05 December 2011
 Cite this article:   
QIAN Nanxiu. Cultural and Ritual Empowerment of Women in the Northern Courts: Yu Xin’s Epitaphic Writings[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2011, 5(4): 511-536.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/flsc/EN/10.1007/s11702-011-0140-z
http://journal.hep.com.cn/flsc/EN/Y2011/V5/I4/511
Service
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
RSS
Articles by authors
QIAN Nanxiu
Related articles from Frontiers Journals
[1] Nanxiu QIAN. Shen Queying: A Reform Martyr’s Widow or a Martyress of Her Own Causes?[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2018, 12(2): 254-280.
[2] Kay Schaffer, Xianlin SONG. Globalization, Women, and Poverty: A Transcultural Reading of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls [J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(4): 666-687.
[3] G. Andrew Stuckey. Female Relations: Voiceless Women in “Liuyi jie” and “Zhufu”[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(3): 488-509.
[4] S. Louisa Wei. The Ultimate Female Auteur: Visuality, Subjectivity, and History in the Works of Peng Xiaolian[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(1): 157-179.
[5] Jennifer Feeley. Transforming Sylvia Plath through Contemporary Chinese Women’s Poetry[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(1): 38-72.
[6] Isaac Hui. Translating Hong Kong Female Writing into English—Wong Bik‐wan’s Language of the “Repressed”[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2017, 11(1): 206-231.
[7] Wenjia LIU. The Dawn of “Free Love”: The Negotiation of Women’s Roles in Heterosexual Relationships in Tanci Feng shuang fei[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2015, 9(1): 75-103.
[8] Meng Li. Estrangement: A Possible Lens through which to Understand the Femininity of Contemporary Chinese Intellectual Women[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2013, 7(1): 87-116.
[9] Xi Liu. The Representation of Rural Migrant Women and the Discourses of Modernity in Contemporary China——A Study of Zhang Kangkang’s Novel Zhima[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2012, 6(4): 511-525.
[10] Yanning Wang. Behind “Burning”: Women Writers’ Self-Censorship and Self-Promotion[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2012, 6(4): 490-510.
[11] Rebecca Doran. Building Power: Conspicuous Consumption, Projection of Identity, and Female Power in the Late Seventh and Early Eighth Centuries[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2012, 6(4): 472-489.
[12] XU Lanjun. Constructing Girlhood: Female Adolescence, Depression and the Making of a Female Tradition in Modern Chinese Literature[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2011, 5(3): 321-349.
[13] XIA Xiaohong. The great diversity of women exemplars in China of late Qing[J]. Front Liter Stud Chin, 2009, 3(2): 218-246.
[14] CAO Daoheng. The eastward transition of Chinese culture in the Eastern Han Dynasty and the north-south difference of scholarship & literature in the Eastern Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties[J]. Front. Lit. Stud. China, 2008, 2(1): 1-14.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed