Concubinage in Seventeenth-Century Chinese Literature: A Historical Study of Xing-shi yin-yuan zhuan

Yifeng Zhao

Abstract


This study explores the subtle patterns, variety, and changes in Chinese concubinage during the seventeenth century by focusing on cases described in Xing-shiyin-yuan zhuan, a seventeenth-century Chinese novel, and other literary and historical sources. It argues that the various social practices of concubinage in late Ming China diverged from government regulations. Chinese concubinage underwent remarkable changes by the seventeenth century in comparison with earlier periods. Even as concubinage was widely accepted, certain Confucian intellectuals of this period criticized the institution.

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