Women In The Late Ming Dynasty

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Chinese artist Wang Shi created a series of ink and color hand scrolls on silks titled “Women and Children” during the late Ming dynasty. One of these paintings depicts a woman reading a book to three children in a garden. The painting was perhaps meant to be heartwarming and straightforward, but also gives insight on the role of women in 17th century China, suggesting that women not only embraced the traditional familial role of being a mother, but also received sufficient education to be literate. As such, several questions regarding women of the late Ming and early Qing dynasties arise. Some examples include what the role and status of women in a traditional household was, how valued female education was, and whether traditional views, such as Confucianism, have…show more content…
Li Zhi was a prominent Chinese philosopher who lived during the late Ming Period. He is worth mentioning for challenging the widely accepted idea that women were inferior to men and for advocating equality between the genders. Li Zhi proposed that such equality would provide solutions regarding skewed relationships between husband and wife, widows, and jealous concubines. He was also keen on the idea of allowing women to participate in politics and receive education on the same level as men, notably claiming that women such as Empress Wu Ze Tian were actually superior to many other male Emperors. However, Li Zhi he did not believe women should be completely independent of their husbands, especially because of economical reasons, and even commended widows who chose suicide over remarriage. Unfortunately for Li Zhi, his ideas were were perhaps before his time, and deemed heretical by the Conserate. He committed suicide after being arrested and imprisoned. Even so, his assertions and philosophies may have helped shape the traditional perception of women in China as it entered a more modern

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