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Women in China during the Qing dynasty Ideal Moral Values for Chinese Women We have seen that Confucius regarded filial piety as the root virtue from which all others derive Later developments in Chinese thought on morality and ethics continued to reaffirm this view For men filial piety was clearly the root virtue Women too were expected to be filial but by late imperial times chastity zhen received even greater emphasis as the foundational female virtue Indeed the Qing rulers promoted chastity to the point where it became virtually a cult The Han dynasty was a time when several important morality books for and about women were published These books became classics and were reprinted revised expanded on and read in upper class households in all later dynasties especially during Qing dynasty One of these classical morality texts was Biographies of Exemplary Women Lienu zhuan Even a brief analysis of this text would be too lengthy for this assignment Owing however to the tremendous importance of chastity in Qing dynasty let me consider two typical biographies that illustrate this virtue I begin with the biography of Chaste Jiang Jiang was the wife of King Zhao of Chu One day the king departed for a trip and left his wife behind at the Jian Terrace While he was away the king heard that heavy rains were causing the river near the terrace to rise so he sent an official to take Jiang to a safer location In his rush however the official neglected to bring his seal of commission a badge to indicate that he was on official business When the official arrived and asked Jiang to come with him she replied The king has an agreement with his palace ladies that if he sends a summons he must use a seal of commission Now you do not carry the seal with you and so I dare not leave with you The river is
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