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Disgraceful MattersThe Politics of Chastity in Eighteenth-Century China$
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Janet Theiss

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240339

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240339.001.0001

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Prologue: A Chaste Barbarian Martyrs Herself on the Imperial Frontier

Prologue: A Chaste Barbarian Martyrs Herself on the Imperial Frontier

(p.16) (p.17) Prologue: A Chaste Barbarian Martyrs Herself on the Imperial Frontier
Disgraceful Matters

Janet M. Theiss

University of California Press

In 1752, the eighteenth year of the Qianlong reign, a twenty-sui-old Miao woman named Wang Aguan, from a walled village in the Puan District of southwestern Guizhou Province, committed suicide after being sexually assaulted by her cousin, Wang Ali. Her suicide embroiled their family in a court case that resulted in a death sentence for her assailant, lesser punishments for various relatives who had failed to report the crime, and Wang Aguan's official canonization by the Qing state as a chastity martyr, the first Miao woman thus honored in the district. The case dramatizes the curious convergence of the agendas of state building, imperial expansion, and promotion of female chastity that was a hallmark of the High Qing era.

Keywords:   Wang Aguan, suicide, rape, Wang Ali, chastity martyr, High Qing era

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