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Strange Encounters on the Cantonese Frontier: Region and Gender in Kuang Lu's (1604-1650) Chiya

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This article analyzes Chiya, a short text produced in the 1630s that describes the southwestern province of Guangxi. In assessing the motivations of the author, Kuang Lu, this article takes a number of perspectives related to region and gender. Kuang was a pioneering Cantonese travel writer who visited Guangxi under unusual circumstances. He describes in exotic and fantastical terms an area largely inhabited by indigenous peoples that was nevertheless in the process of being incorporated into a Cantonese-centered regional economy. In passages on witches and a female warrior, however, Kuang entertains readers with gender, ethnic, and regional inversions. These inversions ultimately functioned as a means of constructing an image of masculine eccentricity.


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