Female Lives in Tang Dynasty surrounding Eastern Capital, LuoYang
The following research attempts to explore female social conditions in Tang Dynasty through reconstruction of urban lives of upper class females in East Capital LuoYang. Whereas Tang Dynasty had maintained close relationship with XiznBei (鮮卑族), and had been involved in various interactions with Western Regions (西域) in its prime, many may assume that females during the time enjoyed more liberal social states. Nonetheless, it should not be overlooked that Tang Dynasty was also the time period when moral codes were consolidated into legal terms, and amid the laws, many female behaviors were formalized into decree. Through careful assembly and organization of prior literatures, the writer raises insights to disclose social rules and feudal codes bounding Tang Dynasty females. Composed in seasonal order and focused on female figures, this study not only describes Tang Dynasty urban lives in different terms, but the sequence also resonates with important phases of human life progress and corresponding social customs. The first chapter, spring, depicts female premarital stages, including material culture on appearances, social activities among female communities, and premarital domestic education. Summer to early autumn, as in chapter two, portrays female progression into marriage, from fancies about relationships and actual marital experiences, subsequent post-marriage conditions, as to connections with maiden families, in-laws relatives and concubines of their husbands, to possible divorce situations. The third chapter spanning across late fall to winter, illustrates motherhood, describing maternal images from pregnancy to children upbringing, and presents the final stage of life, investigating female participation in religious and funeral rituals. Closing chapter then returns to spring, concluding the life and death cycle of Tang Dynasty females. Relating Tang Dynasty to nowadays scenario, this study seeks to stage then-urban lives, and to compare and contemplate on female social status in past and present progress. In hopes to inspire further reflection on modern female condition, the writer adopts narrative form to integrate research with accessible knowledge transmission and share results with greater public.
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