Women In The Song Dynasty

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Women in the Song Dynasty This part will evoke women’s life and rights in the Northern Song Dynasty. The Song Dynasty is often seen as the start of the decline of women status in the Chinese society: a revival of Confucianism led women political role to be reduced, as well as their public appearance compared to Tang Dynasty. The practice of foot binding also started in the Song Dynasty. However, women also enjoyed new and reinforced property rights, and social mobility and political influence were not completely impossible to achieve. Indeed, there are several examples of some lower class women managing to get considerable power by providing pleasure to the higher spheres of the Imperial Court. Li Shishi’s story may seemed quite extraordinary…show more content…
The imperial family was composed of the Emperor, his children, and his consorts. Consorts are defined as women who have had sexual relationships with the emperor. The consorts were ranked by grade, and during the Song, it is said that 23 other titles than Empress could be awarded hierarchically. The court was in theory strictly divided between the inner court, hosting the Imperial Family quarters, and the outer court, political men realm. The inner court was on average home of more than 1000 women, composing the Emperor…show more content…
Confucian ideas highlight the need to have a heir, thus the Emperor need to be sexually active, which explains the very large number of women in the inner court. However, according to Confucian ideals, the Emperor was not supposed to retain any pleasure from this encounters. therefore leading to a paradox hard to overcome by the Emperor and even harder to enforce by the outer court officials depute their moral concerns. Song women were also granted for the first time considerable legal rights. In fact, Song Dynasty is seen as a high point for women property point in China, further challenging Confucian traditional patrilinality. In a first place, it is important to understand the importance of property in that period to maintain elite status: the dowries of young brides often determined whether a woman entered her marriage as a principal wife or as a simple concubine. The new law protected the inheritance rights to daughters under various conditions, they also protect wife’s properties during marriage and after widowhood. Another important factor is the spread of literacy and printing of law books which allied people to got to courts more easily. Some records shows that female of all ages and social classes initiating lawsuits related to property rights during the Song
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