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|Other Titles:||The Representation of Women in Zeng Gong’s Classical Writings: A Reflection of the Confucian Life|
National Taiwan Normal University
Zeng Gong, a classicist of the Northern Song, faithfully embraced Confucianism and emphasized the development and cultivation of the Confucian virtues of humanity（仁）andrighteousness（義）. How Zeng Gong represented women in his time warrants in-depth study.According to my close reading of Zeng Gong’s classical writings, Zeng Gong largely used epitaphs as a medium to delineate the virtues of women. Inheriting the concept of Rites（《禮》） from the Han Dynasty, and follows the notion of “Three Obediences”（三從）, namely that a woman must be good behavior of the filial daughter, the help her husband’s wife, the mothers who can take care of sons and daughters, and the notion of “Four Virtues”（四德）, namely that a woman must keep good moral qualities, speech, appearances, and affirmed her household management in her family. Zeng Gong held these beliefs because of his social background, which was nurtured and influenced by the evolution of Confucianism. In addition to his inheritance from Han Confucianism, which led him to appreciate fidelity and a deferential manner in women, Zeng Gong affirmed diligence, frugality, and competent housekeeping as feminine values. Although these criticisms of women were largely voiced by a male member within a patriarchal society, Zeng Gong’s narration is reliable and authentic, and his classical composition moderates. When he articulates a tragic story, his narration is even, equitable, and not vehement, thereby forming his own unique style. My discussion of the representation of women in Zeng Gong both illuminates the dissemination of the influence of Confucian didacticism in the Song Dynasty, and clarifies how Zeng Gong applied his classical learning and understanding to real life.
|Appears in Collections:||師大學報|
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