Women and jewlery

Here is a great picture of Madame Chiang Kai-shek via Getty it’s an interesting picture,  at least for me, since it ties in with a couple of interesting things. One, it’s from an Indian woman, and very little has been done with GMD attempts to connect with Indian nationalists during the war, although they were […]

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Oriental Women

I have been reading about Lee Ya-Ching, who is billed (incorrectly) by Wikipedia as the “First Chinese civilian aviator.” In her various tours of North and South America to raise money for the Chinese war effort she of course attracted a lot of attention as a symbol of China. She was… Well I am not […]

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Zhuangzi’s brain

I have been reading Wilt Idema The Resurrected Skeleton: From Zhuangzi to Lu Xun.  The book is a translation of various versions of the story of Zhuangzi and the skull, ranging from the original text to Lu Xun. Idema has been collecting these stories for a long time, and this is the only English language […]

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Exemplary Women

A new translation of the Lienu zhuan is out, under the title Exemplary Women of Early China The book was compiled by Liu Xiang, mostly from older sources, so it is both an anthology of Pre-Han stories about women and one of the most important influences on post-Han women’s education. The translator, Anne Behnke Kinney, […]

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Manchu underwear

So, I was reading the 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, specifically the entry on China. For those of you who don’t know it, the 1911 edition is considered to be a classic because it had a higher level of really well-known contributors than any before or since. Given the date it was published, it also […]

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The Birth of Chinese Feminism

Columbia University Press sent me a copy of a really good book, Lydia Liu, Rebecca Karl and Dorothy Ko. The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2013. The core of the book is a set of translations of essays by He-Yin Zhen, although we also get a […]

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Tears and sincerity

A while back I was wondering why people in classical Chinese texts seemed to cry so much. Was being able to shed tears on demand something that people were supposed to be able to do? It turns out that Qian Zhongshu had already written about tears and their role in partings, which were an important […]

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The Lady's Army

In teaching the Tang dynasty one thing I like to talk about is the Princess of Pingyang, d. 623 who assisted her father the Tang founder Gaozu in setting up the empire by recruiting an army of 70, 00o bandits (the Lady’s Army 娘子軍) who assisted in the overthrow of the Sui and the establishment […]

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