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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


The Image of Daughters and the View on Female-education in Tang Poetry

Vol. 37 No. 1   6/2007    


The Image of Daughters and the View on Female-education in Tang Poetry


Li-chuan Ou









Key words

Tang poetry, Tu Fu 杜甫, the image of daughters, gender, view on daughter's education


  This article studies the image of daughters in Tang poetry to show that the “man-prior" gender-valuation is commonly accepted by poets of the Tang dynasty. My textual criticism on relevant Tang poetry is divided into two parts: the image of daughters and the view on daughter's education. In Tang poetry, daughters are mainly described as weak and childish, serving to comfort their parents (especially the Father). This image reflects the main content of the parent-daughter relation for the gentry class. Underlying this focus is a one-sided, obsessive perspective of the Father's gaze. This article then investigates daughter-education in the context of marriage, including Parents' complicated considerations of marriage-timing, target-selection (such as peer in estate and wealth and dwelling location proximity). Remarkably, there is an internal imbalance between the parent-daughter family love (before a girl's marriage) and the household-wife civilized duty (after a girl's marriage). The imbalance results in an essential breakage for a girl's personality development and growth experience. This breakage constitutes a special feature of the image of daughters in Tang poems, which is interestingly distinct from the image of daughters of the Ming and Qing dynasties, developed around a “talented scholar-accomplished lady" (才子名媛) relation.



Author: Li-chuan Ou
Genre: Article
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