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A Study on the Construction Process of Social Female Characteristics during the Zhou, Qin and Han Dynasties

Author: MaZuoZuo
Tutor: FanZuoZhou
School: Nanjing University
Course: History of Ancient China
Keywords: the Zhou Dynasty the Qin and Han Dynasties Social femininethought Construction Female
CLC: D691
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 63
Quote: 0
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Abstract


The Zhou, Qin, and Han Dynasties was the formative stages of Chinese traditional ethics, was also the feminine ethics standard gradual development complete time, this historical stage has laid foundation of the Chinese tradition feminine special characteristic. This article will make a macroscopic inspection to ethical code formation and the way how the ethical code influenced realistic feminine from the social construction of reality perspective of women, Explores the ideas conflicting with the female behavior of deep-seated reasons.Many of the rituals of "Zhou Li" associated with female were established above the Zhou nationality custom and the political experience, such as the surname marriage system, the matchmaker marriage, Dishu system and "the hen crows louder than the cock" etc."Zhou Li" based on the culture of Zhou nationality, affected the majority areas along with the conquest and expansion of the Zhou tribes. After the exchange and fusion of the various tribes in Western Zhou Dynasty more than two centuries,"Zhou Li" had gradually became the ideological consensus of aristocracy in central plain countries. We have known that the female in Western Zhou Dynasty were not in strict rituals of state request through ancient books and the unearthed literatures. The influence of "Zhou Li" was limited, the emergence of a large number of "discourteous" behaviors was not due to "propriety disintegration", but rather the extension of female behaviors in Western Zhou Dynasty.The result of "the ritual" on the feminine construction:"the ritual" becomes the rule which the partial aristocrat female on own initiative observes, but the majority feminine behaviors fell far away from "the ritual", this indicated that constructs the female by "the ritual" to have the enormous limitation,"the ritual" lack of the control and influence."Zhou Li" had already became the ideological consensus of aristocracy in central plain countries, but actually has not had the very good construction effect to the realistic female, The reason lied in:"Zhou Li" had weak influence to non-Zhou nationality;"propriety disintegration" led the authority and sanctity of "the ritual" to a great challenge, interrupted "the ritual" on the feminine construction; Most importantly,"Zhou Li" had the serious defect in the theory construction, this definitely would lead to a failure of constructing the female by "the ritual""Zhou Li" had already not been able to form the effective control to the society of Spring and Autumn Period, it needed to a new cultural system to substitute for "the ritual". The thinkers’contend in the Warring States created a new culture system for the preparation, seek for the execution basis to "the ritual", and developed "the ritual" in substance and content. They promoted the feminine theoretical level by debate. Adapts with this, The Confucianist also developed and formed its own feminine theory under the background.Qin faced with the arduous task of rebuilding the social order after unifying the whole country, including the reconstruction of the human relations order. Mainstream view of the implementation of specific measures for women include:state power embodied in the order of men and women through the carving; constrained female behaviors by "Qin Law"; purged the social customs which did not meet the male power, and opened the precedent of commending the vestal virgin by national name. These measures had manifested the essence of ruling by law, provided the political experience for constructing the female. It indicated that political forces was participated in the process of constructing the female, opened a new stage of constructing the female by social thought, and it was different that Western Zhou stressed "the ritual" in the realm of thought.The government took "Huang-Lao" doctrines as political guiding ideology in Han Dynasty, but the Taoist neglected the construction on human relations order in theory. With the same time, Confucianism absorbed positively the advantageous of theories, and transformed too idealistic pre-Qin Confucianism into the favor of Neo-Confucianism. This caused the Confucian thoughts to substitute "Huang-Lao" doctrines, and provided the political support for Confucianism of constructing the female. Emperor Wu in Han Dynasty carried out a policy of "deposed hundred, only Confucianism", this recovered and developed the Confucian thoughts. During this period, Confucianist had finished the theory construction from "the three obedience" to "husband guides wife". Meanwhile, the Confucian "female education" thoughts were put into practice with Confucianist literatures,"female education" thoughts in Han Dynasty strengthened greatly restriction on women, which is reflected in "Seven Reasons for Abandoning a Wife","a wife’s three objections against being cast off’,"women not to have two suitable righteousness" and so on. The appearance of "Biography of women" and "Commandments for Woman" symbolized that the Confucianist feminine thoughts developed toward the popularization and independence, especially,"Biography of women" made concrete to each one feminine example, displayed the enormous features in enlightened form. The completeness and unified of Confucianist’ feminine thought provided the theory support for the social feminine construction.The participation of political force on feminine construction promoted the formation of social enlightenment system from government to basic unit:national law were normalized, the chaste wives were commended by country; the initiative of government official on feminine idea and feminine example;"Sanlao" carried out the enlightenment to the social basic unit; the influence and correction on feminine behavior by public opinions. These factors had caused enormous influence on female live. The Confucian trend of Female behavior in Han Dynasty, especially the Eastern Han Dynasty, indicated that the Confucian thoughts had greatly enhanced the influence and control on social women. As the construction of thoughts to the social overall female was a long process, the Han Dynasty was still in the preliminary construction stage of Confucian thoughts on women.

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