Marriage, Kinship and Power in Northern China: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Marriage, Kinship and Power in Northern China

1st Edition

By Jennifer Holmgren


352 pages

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Hardback: 9780860785545
pub: 1995-11-30
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This volume focuses on changing marriage practices and kinship structures in a setting of interaction between the ruling elites and their Chinese subjects. The collection covers three major themes: the unique adaptability of steppe society in the face of threats to its politcal dominance; the way shifts in inheritance procedure (including rights of office) induce a radical shift in attitudes to marriage as well as change in the parameters of kinship solidarity; and the enduring importance of affinal ties (connections through the mother, wife and sister) in Chinese society.


'Holmgren’s essays offer us a fresh look, a new interpretative perspective on patterns of political action in the context of imperial Chinese history…these essays demand serious attention from all students of Chinese and North Asian history.' T’oung Pao, Vol. LXXXV

Table of Contents

Contents: The making of an elite: local politics and social relations in northeastern China during the 5th century AD; The economic foundations of virtue: widow-remarriage in early and modern China; Observations on marriage and inheritance practices in early Mongol and Yüan society, with particular reference to the Levirate; The harem in northern Wei politics, 398-498 AD; Marriage, kinship and succession under the Ch’i-tan rulers of the Liao dynasty; Family, marriage and political power in 6th-century China: a study of the Kao family of northern Ch’i, c. 520-550; Imperial Marriage in the native Chinese and non-Han state, Han to Ming; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General