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Domesticity and the Dharma: Portraits of Buddhist Laywomen in Sung China

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This article examines how literati depicted pious Buddhist laywomen during the Sung dynasty. Drawing on hundreds of funeral inscriptions for elite women, it illustrates how scholar-officials presented Buddhist practice within the ideological framework of domesticity. Pious women are seen to constitute a different sort of female exempla, displaying assertive, even defiant characters. In their diverse forms of devotion (and anti-clericalism), women both reinforce elite ideals for wives and mothers and serve as female analogues to male exempla of heroic conduct. Cet article examine la façon dont les lettrés dépeignaient les pieuses bouddhistes laïques à l'époque des Song. Basé sur plusieurs centaines d'inscriptions funéraires dédiées à des femmes de l'élite, l'auteur illustre la façon dont les lettrés-fonctionnaires représentaient la pratique bouddhiste dans le cadre idéologique de la vie domestique. Les femmes pieuses apparaissent comme constituant une catégorie différente d'exemples féminins, révélant un caractère affirmé, voire défiant. Dans leurs formes variées de dévotion (et d'anticléricalisme) ces femmes renforçaient les conceptions idéales de l'épouse et de la mère entretenues par l'élite, et en même temps servaient d'analogue féminin aux exemple masculins de comportement héroïque.


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