Remarkable likenesses of Liu Xiangnü

While I don't think this is intentional at on the part of whomever put together this text, I find it hilarious that in describing its heroine, the narration accounts for the ill-conceived frontispiece illustrations that would grace so many editions of this text. "A clever illustrator would have difficulty sketching her, her remarkable likeness could…Read more Remarkable likenesses of Liu Xiangnü

Lord of Thunder, Mother of Lightning

Maybe I've been working with low cost 19th century woodblock editions of books for too long, but the truth is that I love their illustrations, probably much more than virtuoso paintings from the same era. Here, again from the Illustrated Stories of Twenty Four Filial Women , 1872 edition, are the Lord of Thunder (雷公)…Read more Lord of Thunder, Mother of Lightning

Filial modern women buy our towels!

I've included pictures from Yu Zhi's Illustrated Stories of Twenty Four Filial Women here before. Those illustrations come from the 1872 woodblock print edition, available via Google Books*. The University of Chicago library also has two editions of the text, with illustrations purportedly redrawn by none other than Wu Youru, the famous Shanghai lithographic print…Read more Filial modern women buy our towels!

Divinity and Femininity

Last week, I received word from my department that a course I proposed, called "Divinity and Femininity: Women’s Religious Lives in Pre-modern China" has been accepted and I get to teach it next year. This is particularly exciting news! The course abstract: This course focuses on the religious lives of women in pre-modern China, beginning…Read more Divinity and Femininity

Ningbo, China: The old Chen family home

Gene, his parents, and his mom's cousin are standing at the only remaining back door of the estate Gene's great-uncle had built for his still-expanding family in 1947. For much of her early childhood, Gene's mother lived there with a large pack of cousins. Great-aunt A-tai had sixteen children, thirteen of whom lived to adulthood.…Read more Ningbo, China: The old Chen family home

Ningbo, China: Tianyi ge

Tianyi Ge is the oldest extant library in China. It is also walking distance from Popo's house, which meant that one afternoon, we ventured there despite the chilly rain. The complex is beautiful. Originally built in the mid-16th century, the library then housed over 50,000 volumes. Over the centuries, the collection diminished. By the 20th…Read more Ningbo, China: Tianyi ge

Pray consult the story related in the following chapter

Sixty-three years ago, David Tod Roy was, as the New York Times puts it, "a 16-year-old American missionary kid looking for a dirty book" at a used book store in Nanjing, China. The book? The Chin P'ing Mei (金瓶梅), a 100-chapter vernacular novel from 16th century China. It relates the intricate details of daily life…Read more Pray consult the story related in the following chapter