Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Servants of the DynastyPalace Women in World History$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anne Walthall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520254435

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520254435.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Gender and Entertainment at the Song Court

Gender and Entertainment at the Song Court

(p.261) 13 Gender and Entertainment at the Song Court
Servants of the Dynasty

Beverly Bossler

University of California Press

The extraordinary story of Emperor Zhenzong and Empress Liu reveals much about the interaction of gender, pleasure, and power at the Chinese court. Although Empress Liu was unusually successful in parlaying her entertainment skills into political power, she was far from unique. Yet entertainers—especially female entertainers—were highly anomalous figures at the court during the Song dynasty of China: they fell outside (or in between) regular categories of court women; they moved freely between the court and the outside world; they were among the most despised of social groups, but they circulated among the highest reaches of Song society. They were deployed as symbols of power and prestige, and invoked as signs of decadence and decline. The power of entertainers to attract imperial attention, together with the helplessness of the outer court in the face of such attraction, is nowhere more evident than in the biographies of two women who entered the court as entertainers and rose to become empresses of the realm: Empress Liu and Empress Yang.

Keywords:   Empress Liu, Empress Yang, China, entertainer, gender, pleasure, power, Song dynasty, Chinese court, court women

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.