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Conflict and Balance between Yin and Yang: A Comparison of Family Values in The Book of Change and The Book of Rites

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image of Frontiers of Literary Studies in China

The characteristics of the family system in the “Chinese-Han” cultural circles of feudal society can be traced back to two classics of traditional Chinese culture: Yijing 易经 (The book of change) and Liji 礼记 (The book of rites). The Book of Change seeks balance and harmony between yin and yang, proposing some valuable ideas about family, such as a “happy and harmonious marriage is based on the husband’s respect for his wife.” Its dialectical deduction and thought pattern have greatly influenced the gender relations of the Chinese people and the formation of family values. The family values in The Book of Change contain essential Confucian and Daoist ideas. The Book of Rites reflects more Confucian ideas, focusing more on the establishment of a hierarchic structure in the family. Confucian ideas in The Book of Rites and Daoist ideas in The Book of Change have had great influence on Chinese life and literary writings.


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