SONS AND MOTHERS IN WARRING STATES AND HAN CHINA, 453 BCE-220 CE

in NAN NÜ
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Abstract

This article examines the startling attention accounts of Eastern Han (24-220 CE) mourning give to depictions of the mother-son bond. Such attention can be explained in terms of the rise of cultural stereotypes about the bonds between mothers and sons, as well as fathers and sons, from the first century BCE. Whereas elite thinkers and statesmen claimed that the relationship between fathers and sons was more analogous to official duty, they regarded the relationship between mother and son as emotional, personal (si), and close (qin). As such, the mother-son bond came to represent an ideological alternative to the early Han ethos of official service, an ethos epitomized by the slogan, "duty to lord and father" (junfu zhi yi).

NAN NÜ

Men, Women and Gender in China

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