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A Discussion of Women’s Status in Yuan Dynasty

2020-04-15 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文-A Discussion of Womens Status in Yuan Dynasty,供大家参考学习。这篇论文讨论了元代处于原始部落和奴隶社会向封建文明的过渡地带,这为女性在社会中新地位的出现提供了社会语境。探讨在这样一个朝代中,大多数女性处于什么样的地位是关键。本文试图从婚姻权、财产继承、家庭保护等方面探讨元代妇女的地位。受蒙古族传统的影响,元代汉族妇女的法律地位也与前代有所不同。元代进入中原时,仍保留着大量原始遗存和部落遗存。元代妇女享有婚姻独立的权利。元代,婚姻形式解体,女性人格得到一定程度的尊重。对蒙古族来说,征婚是一种婚姻形式,已经成为一种普遍的做法,法律上有很多规定。在内蒙古,人们承认征税作为一种婚姻形式被接受,但它受到了汉族婚姻观念的影响。它的实施方式已经改变。例如,妇女可能有权遵守道德规范,除年龄差异等特殊情况外,不得结婚。正是由于汉族人的强烈反对,政府被迫在某些方面做出妥协和限制。蒙古国采用婚姻的做法,一方面限制了妇女的再婚,另一方面也对妇女的婚姻选择作出了一定程度的法律规定,体现了元代妇女的婚姻自由(石端2003),对妇女的法律保护也体现在禁止当押妻子的不良习惯上。




The Yuan Dynasty is in the transitional zone from the primitive tribe and the slave society to the feudal civilization, which provides a social context for the emergence of new status of female in the society.  It is key to explore what kind of position does the majority of women have in such a dynasty. This article tries to discuss the status of women in the Yuan Dynasty from the aspects of marriage rights, inheritance of assets, and protection in the realm of the family.

Affected by the Mongolian tradition, the legal status of the Han women in the Yuan Dynasty also differed from previous generations. .During the Yuan Dynasty, when it entered the Central Plains, it still retained a large number of primitive relics and tribal legacy. Women in Yuan Dynasty enjoy the right to marital independence. In the Yuan Dynasty, the form of marriage was dissolved and the woman's personality was respected to some degree. For the Mongolian people, a form of marriage---- Levirate that has become a common practice and there are many legal provisions. In Inner Mongolia, it was acknowledged that Levirate as a form of marriage was accepted, but it was influenced by the concept of Han marriage. Its implementation has changed. For example, the woman may have the right to observe the ethics and not to marry, except for special circumstances such as the age difference. It was because of the strong opposition of the Han Chinese that the government was forced to compromise and restrict certain aspects. The practice of adopting marriage within Mongolia has on the one hand restricted the remarriage of women, and on the other hand, it also imposes a certain degree of legal provisions on women’s choice of marriage, which reflects the freedom of marriage of women in the Yuan Dynasty(Shiduan 2003),. The legal protection given to women is also shown in the prohibition of bad habits of the pawn wife. In the Song and Yuan Dynasties, such phenomenon was even more serious. Most of them pawned their wives for a specified period of time due to poverty or debt, or received royalties or repayments. The majority of women had no right to make decisions. They become a victim of society, completely lost the self. The laws to prohibit it is the removal of bad social conditions, which have provided achievable soil for the majority of disadvantaged women to seek emancipation.

In marriage, women are valued and their status is universally recognized by society. When the woman have the groom live with one's family after the marriage, it reflects a certain social reality at that time. The woman have the groom live with one's family after the marriage to make them as male heirs, inherit family business, passes on behalf of the family, support the elderly and help young people, and maintain their livelihood. This reflects the purpose of such form of marriage and the man's entry into the women’s family is nothing more than a choice made under the life force, lust for power. It has become a means to get rid of the once hardship of life. As a variation of family marriage in the matriarchal society, it has no difference in its essence compared with the past. But legal protection of women’s families is a concentrated expression of women’s personal protection. The Yuan Dynasty changed the status of unequal status of men and women in the family in the Tang Dynasty. There is the awakening consciousness of women subject in the Yuan Dynasty as shown in Miscellaneous Drama of Yuan DynastyWang, 2011. On the one hand, the widows in the family are protected to a certain degree. The in-laws must not abuse the wives or kill the widows. On the other hand, the status of the wife in the family is protected by law. The husband is not allowed to beat his wife and force her to have an abortion. The women can not be killed because of his wife's slightest fault. The law punishes this behavior. In this way, the right to life of the wife has been guaranteed at this time, which has led to a change in the thinking of the husband as the wife's rulers in ancient societies. The status of men and women in the Yuan Dynasty was relatively equal, which reflected that women in the Yuan Dynasty enjoyed more equal legal status that Chinese women had never enjoyed, and opened up a new pattern of equal status for men and women in the future. At the same time, it also shows that under the purpose of the law of Yuan dynasty at the time, and an important manifestation of the continuous improvement of the status of women. It also hinted at the role and status of women in social and economic life at that time.

However, Han women in Yuan dynasty are still marked with a relatively weak position as a result of gender discrimination. Han women played similar family roles with women in the former Dynasty in different life cycles and obeyed different roles under the strong influence of Confucianism(Zhang,2013). Most of the ancients were poor, with bad living conditions. Also, the female labor force was weak, whose production income was low. Thus, when women were numerous, the family economy was even worse. In terms of family life of most Han women, traditional ethics also play an important role in shaping their status in the society. This period in history emphasized widow chastity, and female stereotypes emerged, such as the filial daughter, a faithful wife, and willing but stoic sufferer(Yuan, 2017). The ancient Chinese family is a family system that emphasizes hierarchy, sequence, and identity. The most basic roles of women in the system were daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, mother, and mother-in-law. The position of women in the family hierarchy is determined by their role in the family. Their roles, identities, and statuses are different. From the relaxed and happy time of “being a girl” to the “beautiful wife”, she then enjoys the utmost respect and enjoyment of “being a mother” and “being a man-in-law”. Women’s status is not simple. In order to comply with the ethical principles of the Confucians' respect for seniority’ ethics and filial piety to ethics of women, women especially han women have to behave according to social ethics on women. In the Yuan Dynasty, child bride was a form of civil legal marriage. Before marriage, the child is not only the cheap labor of the male family, but also has a poor living standard. What is more, the girl is sold as a slave when she is not married. The custom of drowning the female baby in the Yuan Dynasty still exists. It is cruel and immoral things, and there are a few rulers who have forbidden it, but most parents think that it is normal. Also, the Chinese practice of foot binding` originated around this period(Smith, 2014). Yuan ruling on the criminal wife was to make the wife become husband’s private property, which was unique in the history of the legal system. In addition, there is a practice of buying a wife through its bride-price practice It shows a intensification of commodification of women during the Yuan Dynasty(Bossler 519). This also shows the backward side of Yuan legal system.

However, a special group of women, namely female writers and artists enjoyed a rise of social position during Yuan dynasty in ancient Chinese history. In Yuan Dynasty some women possessed real political power and became the empress dowagers and various military leaders(Lee, and Wiles 618 ). The establishment of the Yuan Dynasty made the original ritual law system suffer. The idea of cultivating solider and reducing the focus on the literary language has reduced the social status of many Han scholars. This ethnic contradiction has led many literati to be associated with happiness, enabling them to reach out to women at all levels of society and to see their lives. With the sadness of the times, they can use pens as a sword to reflect the social status quo and reflect the lives of women. At the same time, in the Yuan Dynasty, a woman in a certain sense can be said to have obtained a temporary "release." This "liberation" enables them to be relatively active in society. In the Song and Yuan Dynasties, a large number of communities of different ethnics emerged in the city, prompting a considerable number of women to become professional women into society. The appearance of actresses in the Yuan Dynasty showed that women’s economic status has changed. From the family’s entry into society, the experience has been enriched; the horizon has opened up; and the social status has also increased. It also pays attention to the prostitutes' right to life and must not arbitrarily kill them. It breaks down their status and provides legal protection to the bottom-level women who are discriminated against by society. This can not avoid providing conditions for self-liberation for the majority of women at the bottom of society. The prostitutes and courtesans had become the most-educated class of women during this time without social restrictions imposed on them and the intersection of art, theater, and literature with the commodification of women and the commercialization of prostitution(Ditmore,2006). A bright light shines before them and gives them infinite hope.

The improvement of social status of women in the Yuan Dynasty has a series of social backgrounds. The Yuan Dynasty was a nation that advocated the freedom and was in an era of transition from a slave society to a feudal society. At this time, it still retained the remnant thoughts of the nation itself, and it could not resist the impact of primitive relics of the original society in the social system. This will inevitably reduce the restraint of women in etiquette and marriage, and customs, and this will provide broad space for women. It is precisely in this historical context that the Yuan Dynasty apparently appeared to be more open in certain aspects of the social system than the dynasty under Han rule, providing the social soil for the majority of women to seek self-liberation. This is also the main reason for the improvement of the status of the majority of women. The policy adjustment of the rulers is also an important reason for the improvement of the status of women. As early as the Mongol period, the status of women cannot be underestimated. They often play an important role in political life. As upper-level women, they have actively participated in military affairs, or exercised state decrees, or played important roles in the transition of certain major historical events, becoming a special highlight of the Yuan Dynasty. Even in the history of the Yuan dynasty, there emerged events in which the Queen assisted the emperor in his administration of the political affairs. The women was forever on the political history and made great contributions to the prosperity of the dynasties. It can be seen that their female noble status has been deeply improved.  It is because of the participation of women from the upper classes in political life that it is in fact liberation for the lower people and political protection for the improvement of their social status.

Most importantly, the majority of women are economically independent given the differing ruling philosophy of the Yuan rulers. During the Mongolian period, the Mongolians took a nomadic way of life and women occupied an important place in economic production. Some women even supported their family members by raising sericulture after their husbands died, which provoked the burden of life. Assuming the responsibility of the family under such special conditions, women will certainly enjoy a higher status in the family. In particular, with the cotton industry of the Yuan Dynasty and the development of the textile industry, women not only participated in social production, but also participated extensively in the exchange of products, creating wealth for the family and becoming an important income for the family. The traces of women permeates all aspects of social production, the economic foundation determines the upper structure, and the natural and general women’s social status is improved. Also the rulers of the Yuan Dynasty with the Mongolian aristocracy at their core were not influenced by Confucianism nor were they bound by the traditions and customs of ancient China. Although this explains to a certain extent the lagging nature of the ideological and cultural communication in the Yuan Dynasty, it is precisely because of this that despite the ideological and cultural imprisonment and open and inclusive rule policies at that time, it provided opportunities for the Yuan Dynasty women to seek emancipation. The improvement of women’s social status is escorted. In the Yuan Dynasty there was a strict concept of chastity, and the social atmosphere that came to an end was not completely formed at the time. Therefore, the degree of persecution against women in the Yuan Dynasty was not deep, and there was room for its own choice. The whole society even took such actions, which is absolutely inseparable from the ideas of society at that time.

The male superiority reflects the basic situation of the relationship between men and women in traditional Chinese society and is a basic criterion for men and women to live together. It implies the status of inequality between men and women. However, in the special cultural background of the Yuan Dynasty, the legal status of women was certainly increased. The feminine status in Yuan Dynasty was different from that of other dynasties. The Yuan Dynasty was an era when women enjoyed higher legal and social status. In the legal level, women in the Yuan Dynasty enjoy certain autonomy in marriage. This was in itself a challenge of an inherent form of the legal system of ancient Chinese marriage and family - "male superiority". However, in the daily life, the discrimination against women is still ubiquitous.






Works cited

Bossler, Beverly. “Courtesans, Concubines, and the Cult of Female Fidelity: Gender and Social Change in China, 1000-1400.” Journal of Song-Yuan Studies, vol. 44, 2014, pp. 519-528.


Ditmore, Melissa Hope. Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work, vol. 1. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.


Lee, Lily Xiao Hong, and Sue Wiles. Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women: Tang through Ming, 618-1644. M. E. Sharpe, 2014.


Smith, Bonnie G. Women’s History in Global Perspective, vol. 2. University of Illinois Press, 2004.


Shiduan, X. U. "Research on the Marriage of Common Women in Yuan Dynasty." Journal of Southwest China Normal University (2003).


Wang, R. J. (2011). On the awakening consciousness of women subject in the yuan dynasty from the image of tan ji-er. Journal of Xichang College.


Yuan, Xingpie. An Outline of Chinese Literature. Routledge, 2017.


Zhang, Bin. A Preliminary Study on the Role of Han Women in the Yuan Dynasty and Its Status. Diss. Inner Mongolia University, 2013.





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