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Polyandry and Wife-Selling In Qing Dynasty ChinaSurvival Strategies and Judicial Interventions$
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Matthew H. Sommer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520287037

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520287037.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Formal Law and Central Court Interpretation from Ming through High Qing

Formal Law and Central Court Interpretation from Ming through High Qing

(p.277) 9 Formal Law and Central Court Interpretation from Ming through High Qing
Polyandry and Wife-Selling In Qing Dynasty China

Matthew H. Sommer

University of California Press

Chapter 10 analyzes formal law and central-court interpretation of wife sale (and, secondarily, polyandry) from Ming through High Qing and shows that the main innovation of the Qing dynasty was a dramatic expansion of criminalization. As a result, all prostitution and polyandry was prohibited (as the crime of “abetting a wife to engage in illicit sex with another man,” or zong jian), as were wife sales motivated solely by poverty (as the crime of “buying or selling a divorce,” or maixiu). The chapter also explains legally acceptable divorce, wife sale by court order, and the legal standing of wife sales involving concubines and slaves.

Keywords:   maixiu, zong jian, criminalization, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty

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