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Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society$
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Rubie Watson and Patricia Buckley Ebrey

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520069305

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520069305.001.0001

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Imperial Marriage in the Native Chinese and Non-Han State, Han to Ming

Imperial Marriage in the Native Chinese and Non-Han State, Han to Ming

(p.58) Two Imperial Marriage in the Native Chinese and Non-Han State, Han to Ming
Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society

Jennifer Holmgren

University of California Press

This chapter looks at the structure underlying attitudes to imperial marriage and the political role of the emperor's wife in the native Chinese and non-Han state. The first section begins by establishing the principles behind events commonly encountered in the historical narrative of the native state from Han times through to the end of the Ming dynasty (206 b.c.a.d. 1644). It shows that some conditions previously thought to be unique to one particular period (and thus probably the result of foreign influence or externally derived ideas) are easily explained without reference to the non-Han state. The second section demonstrates the variety and political ingenuity of marriage systems designed by the leaders of the conquest dynasties. The final section discusses how an analysis of the non-Han condition throws new light on the question of continuity and change in Chinese society, and then summarizes the political status of different sets of imperial kin in each of the systems described.

Keywords:   imperial marriage, political role, emperor's wife, imperial kin, Chinese society

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