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Women of the Conquest DynastiesGender and Identity in Liao and Jin China$
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Linda Cooke Johnson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834043

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834043.001.0001

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date: 20 August 2017

Widowhood and Chastity

Widowhood and Chastity

Five Widowhood and Chastity
Women of the Conquest Dynasties

Linda Cooke Johnson

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines conventions pertaining to widowhood and chastity in Liao and Jin states. In Liao and Jin society, options for women were to remain chaste as an unmarried woman, as a betrothed woman whose intended spouse has died, or as a widow. Other than in levirate, a widowed woman could not remarry. Divorce, on the other hand, was available to women, and remarriage after divorce carried no stigma. This chapter considers the practice of levirate remarriage and other options that slowly developed for widows, including chaste widowhood and retreat into Buddhist sanctuaries. It then discusses the challenges faced by widows in Kitan and Jurchen societies with respect to remarriage, along with the issues of adultery and divorce. It also tackles the question of whether widows could engage in sexual relations.

Keywords:   widowhood, chastity, Liao society, Jin society, levirate, remarriage, divorce, following in death, widows, adultery

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