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The Female Chastity Cult in Huizhou during the Late Imperial Era: Demographics, Books, and Monuments

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This essay introduces the region of Huizhou famed for its scenery, its commercial agriculture, its merchants who traded local products all over the empire, and the lineages to which these men belonged. Huizhou was also known for the high numbers of its chaste women who during the Ming dynasty came under the scrutiny of the local community. The female chastity cult in Huizhou was manifested in various ways, and the three articles in this special Nan Nü theme issue examine how demographic data based on lineage records, special Huizhou printed editions of the classic ‘Biographies of Women’, and chastity arches built during the High Qing era (1680–1830) reveal the endorsement, complexities, and contradictions of the cult in this locale. The Appendix to this issue reviews the historiography of Huizhou studies in Chinese.

Affiliations: 1: University of California, Irvine
; 2: Leiden University

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