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The ethical taboos and the expressions of affection between man and wife in the poems in the Han, Wei and Six Dynasties

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

Due to the marriage ethic that has been emphasized repeatedly by the rulers in the Han Dynasty and the influence of various annotations on The Book of Poetry done from the perspective of Confucian classics, the marital love and the harmonious sex life give way to friendly ties between the couple and a harmonious family life. The ethical taboos for the married couple and the collective unconsciousness that characterizes the whole age caused the poets during the Han, Wei and Six Dynasties to disregard the husband-wife relationship. During this period of time, the poems concerned with the married couple can be divided into two categories according to different ways of expression. Some poems are the self-expressions by heroes or heroines and others are written by the outsiders. In spite of the different perspectives, the loyalty and unyielding love between couples and boudoir complaints remain the most common themes for these poems, which reflect the influence of both the marriage ethic and male dominating social patterns.


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