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Exemplary Women of Early China – The Lienü zhuan of Liu Xiang - Columbia Scholarship Online
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Exemplary Women of Early China: The Lienü zhuan of Liu Xiang

Anne Behnke Kinney


In early China, was it correct for a woman to disobey her father, contradict her husband, or shape the public policy of a son who ruled over a dynasty or state? According to the Lienü zhuan, or Categorized Biographies of Women, it was not only appropriate but necessary for women to step in with wise counsel when fathers, husbands, or rulers strayed from the path of virtue. Compiled toward the end of the Former Han dynasty (202 bce–9 ce) by Liu Xiang (79–8 bce), the Lienü zhuan is the earliest extant book in the Chinese tradition solely devoted to women's education. Far from providing a unified ... More

Keywords: early China, Han dynasty, Lienü zhuan, Chinese tradition, women's education, Chinese history, Chinese women, women's roles, chastity, biographies

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780231163095
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231163095.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Anne Behnke Kinney, author
University of Virginia