True to Her Word: The Faithful Maiden Cult in Late Imperial China
- Publish Date: 2008-02-06
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Weijing Lu
This path-breaking book examines the broad cultural, social, and gender meanings of the faithful maiden cult in late imperial China (13681911). Across the empire, an increasing number of young women or faithful maidens, defied their parents' wishes and chose either to live out their lives as widows upon the death of a fianc or killed themselves to join their fianc in death. The book analyzes the familial conflicts, government policies, ideological controversies, and personal emotions surrounding the cult. Concentrating on the dramatic acts of spirit wedding and suicide, the faithful maidens' unique code of conduct, and the extraordinary life journey of virgin mothers, Lu documents the ideological, psychological, cultural, and economic aspects of these young women's mentality and behavior, and the implications of this behavior for their families and the broader society. The book's narrative of the faithful maiden cult interweaves late imperial political, cultural, social and intellectual history, thus, providing a new window onto the history of the late imperial period.