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Concubinage and Servitude in Late Imperial China
Published by Lexington Books
Concubinage and Servitude in Late Imperial China is a survey of the institutions and practice of concubinage and servitude in both the general populace and the imperial palace in Ming-Qing China, focusing on an examination on political and socioeconomic history through the lives of this particular group of distinct, yet associated, individuals.
In the long course of late imperial Chinese history, servants and concubines formed a vast social stratum in the hinterland along the Grand Canal, particularly in urban areas. Concubinage and Servitude in Late Imperial China is a survey of the institutions and practice of concubinage and servitude in both the general populace and the imperial palace, with a focus on the examination of Ming-Qing political and socioeconomic history through the lives of this particular group of distinct yet associated individuals. The persistent theme of the book is how concubines, appointed by patriarchal polygamy, and servants, laboring under the master-servants hierarchy, experienced interactions and mobility within each institution and in associating with the other. While reviewing how ritual and law treated concubines and servants as patriarchal possessions, the author explores the perspectives available for individual concubines and servants and the limitations in their daily circumstances, searching for their positional powers and privilege of the inferiors in the context of Chinese culture during the Ming-Qing time period. For a list of the book's tables and their sources, please see: http://www.wou.edu/wp/hsiehb/
PART I: CONCUBINES AND SERVANTS IN THE GENERAL POPULACE Chapter One: The Dimension of Human Trafficking Chapter Two: The Path of a Concubine Chapter Three: Domestic Servants, Office Attendants, and Apprentices PART II: IMPERIAL CONSORTS AND SERVANTS Chapter Four: Booi Elite and Harangga Chapter Five: Ming Serving-Women Chapter Six: Qing Serving-Women and Eunuchs Chapter Seven: Ritual Canon and Imperial Harem Conclusion
Hsieh Bao Hua is professor of history at Western Oregon University.
Reviewer: Caleb Simmons
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