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Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers$
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Norman Rothschild

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169387

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169387.001.0001

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(p.227) Conclusions
Emperor Wu Zhao and Her Pantheon of Devis, Divinities, and Dynastic Mothers

N. Harry Rothschild

Columbia University Press

This book has explored the role played by female divinities, dynastic mothers, and eminent women of different ideological backgrounds—complementing rather than replacing a time-honored congregation of male political ancestors—in the construction of Wu Zhao's political authority. With the help of her talented rhetoricians, Wu Zhao situated herself at the confluence of these ideological streams, a human vessel into which the collective energies and charisma of these eminent women and divinities might flow. Constructively and positively, this tour de force of culture heroes helped shape the contours of Chinese family, society, and religion. With elegant force and bedazzling panoply, Wu Zhao and her coterie of resourceful propagandists vividly rendered the collected women of her pantheon for all to witness—in text, symbol, image, and monument. The book concludes with a discussion of the extent, and the ways, Wu Zhao's pantheon of ancestresses helped in the establishment and maintenance of her reign during the Zhou dynasty.

Keywords:   female divinities, dynastic mothers, women, Wu Zhao, political authority, ancestresses, Zhou dynasty

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