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Guifan 閨範


The Four Categories of Literature
Guifan 閨範 "Rules for the boudoir" is an educational book for women written by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) writer Lü Kun 呂坤. The book is 3 juan "scrolls" long, each juan corresponding to one chapter. In the first part Lü Kun explains in the theoretical framework how excellent women should behave to fit into the Confucian concept of society. The two other chapters imitate the Han period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) book Lienüzhuan 烈女傳 and present biographies of outstanding women to highlight each aspect of female conduct with the help of examples of the "wise women of the past" (xianzhe 先哲). Each biography is accompanied by an illustration and an explanative paragraph. A personal yet representative standpoint of the author is that women should learn how to behave, but texts like the Guifan can make it easier for women to learn what is important. To read other books was, in a Confucian's eyes, not necessary. The Guifan was very widespread during the Ming period.

Sources: Su Guoxia 蘇國霞 (1995), "Guifan 閨範", in Lu Leshan 盧樂山 (ed.), Zhongguo nüxing baike quanshu 中國女性百科全書, Hunyin jiating 婚姻家庭 (Shenyang: Dongbei daxue chubanshe), p. 72. ● Liu Shuying 劉淑英 (1997), "Guifan 閨范", in Men Gui 門巋, Zhang Yanqin 張燕瑾 (ed.), Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Hong Kong: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), p. 283.

June 20, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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