A History of Chinese Marriage
Author: Wang Panling Uploaded Time: 2017-04-30

A History of Chinese Marriage outlines the two thousand years of developmental history of the marriage relationship in China. It reviews and analyzes the various forms of marriage of all ethnic groups in China in different historical periods, and explores ethnic intermarriage, marriage customs and habits and their cultural role in ethnic fusion. More importantly, this book traces the historical evolution of China's social system to reveal that the feudal system and the feudal marriage system are the reasons for thousands of years of inequality between men and women.




Chapter One  Marriage in the Primitive Clan Society (about 2 million years ago – 21st Century BC)

Section One  Marriage in the matriarchal society and consanguineous marriage

Section Two  Polygamy and dual marriage in the transition period from matriarchal clan society to patriarchal clan society

Section Three  Polygamy in the patriarchal clan society


Chapter Two  Marriage in the Xia, Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties (2070- 771 BC)

Section One  The Xia Dynasty (2070- BC 1600)

Section Two  The Shang Dynasty (1600- BC 1046)

Section Three  The Western Zhou Dynasty (1046- BC 771 years)


Chapter Three  Marriage in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period (221 BC 770- BC)

Section One  Bride kidnapping prevails

Section Two  Chinese system of queen and maids of honour and the concubine system

Section Three  Concept of fornication in the historical book “Zuozhuan”

Section Four  The origin of prostitution

Section Five  Connotations of ancient marriage and the purpose of marriage

Section Six  People with the same surname are forbidden to get married

Section Seven  The six ceremonies of betrothal and marriage

Section Eight  Man's privilege of divorce


Chapter Four  Marriage in the Qin and Han Dynasties (221- BC 220 AD)

Section One  The enslavement and sacrifice of women in the Qin Dynasty

Section Two  Female educational books and the praise of chastity in the Han Dynasty

Section Three  The establishment of the queen and maids system in court; a vicious and brutal Empress

Section Four  The princess’ peace-making marriage and  national fusion in the Han Dynasty

Section Five  Marriage autonomy and famous women in the Han Dynasty

Section Six  Marriage customs in the Han Dynasty


Chapter Five  Marriage in the Wei, Jin and Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 220-589 years)

Section One  Marriage of a couple from families of equal social rank

Section Two  Concubines and positive family traditions

Section Three  Seeing ethnic fusion in marriage customs

Section Four  The influence of religion on social practices and marriage of the Wei and Jin Dynasties


Chapter Six  Marriage of the Sui, Tang and Five Dynasties (589-960 AD)

Section One  Governance and abuse of the emperor

Section Two   Emperor Taizong and Empress Zhangsun

Section Three  Empress Wu's marriage and performance

Section Four  Emperor Xuanzong and his favorite concubine Yang Guifei

Section Five  The perfection of the concubine system in court

Section Six  The marriage law of the Tang Dynasty

Section Seven  Heqin policy (policy to make peace with rulers of minority nationalities in the border areas by imperial marriage) in the Tang Dynasty

Section Eight  The open social atmosphere around marriage in the Tang Dynasty

Section Nine  The reform and development of marriage customs in the Tang Dynasty

Section Ten  The start of women's foot binding in the Five Dynasties


Chapter Seven  Marriage in the Song Dynasty (AD 960-1279)

Section One  City's prosperity and flourishing market

Section Two  Marriage customs in the Song Dynasty

Section Three  Property in marriage and freedom to remarry

Section Four  Chastity views of neo-Confucianism scholars in the Song Dynasty

Section Five  Female poet Li Qingzhao and her marriage

Section Six  Love tragedy of Tang Wan and poet Lu You


Chapter Eight  Marriage in the Liao and Jin Dynasties (AD 916-1271)

Section One  The matriarchal period of the northeast ancient minorities

Section Two  Khitan uxorilocal marriage

Section Three  Legacy of Khitan matriarchal marriage

Section Four  The performance of the Empress Xiao

Section Five  Jurchens’ marriage in the Jin Dynasty

Section Six  Reform of Jurchens’ marriage customs


Chapter Nine  Marriage in the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368 years)

Section One  Deceased mothers Ajianhuo’a and Ke’elun

Section Two  Bride kidnapping of Genghis Khan and his son

Section Three  Madam Chechen and Madam San

Section Four  Uxorilocal marriage and customs in the grasslands

Section Five  Marriage policy and concepts in the Yuan Dynasty

Section Six  Evolution of marriage customs

Section Seven  Imperial concubines in the Yuan Dynasty

Section Eight  Strengthening of foot binding and the chastity concept in the Yuan Dynasty


Chapter Ten  Marriage in the Ming Dynasty marriage (AD 1368-1644)

Section One  The marriage policy and chastity memorial arch

Section Two  Choosing a wife for the emperor in the Ming Dynasty

Section Three  Concubine Wan and Sacrificial burial in the Ming Palace

Section Four  Concubines and marriage bans

Section Five  Extravagance and the miserable life of prostitutes at the end of the Ming Dynasty

Section Six  "Women without talent are virtuous” and the chastity concept

Section Seven  The rise of anti-Confucianism thoughts


Chapter Eleven  Marriage in the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1912)

Section One  Marriage customs at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty and Nur Ha Che's political marriage

Section Two  Empress Xiaozhuang and politics at the beginning of the Qing Dynasty

Section Three  Emperor Shunzhi and his concubine Dong

Section Four  The religious concept of chastity in the Qing Dynasty

Section Five  Social sympathy for women in the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Section Six  Women's movement in the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom


Chapter Twelve  Modern Marriage (AD 1900 -)

Section One  Anti-footbinding and the rise of women’s education before the revolution of 1911

Section Two  The feminist movement before and after the May 4th Movement

Section Three  The promulgation of the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China

Section Four  Divorce and re-marriage

Section Five  Western thoughts of sexual liberation

Section Six  Significance of a stable marriage


Chapter Thirteen  Ethnic Marriage Customs in China

Section One  Han marriage customs

Section Two  Manchu marriage customs

Section Three  Mongolian marriage customs

Section Four  Korean marriage customs

Section Five    Hui marriage customs

Section Six  Naxi marriage customs

Section Seven  Pumi marriage customs

Section Eight  Tibetan marriage customs

Section Nine  Yi marriage customs

Section Ten  Miao marriage customs

Section Eleven  Yao marriage customs

Section Twelve  Buyi marriage customs

Section Thirteen  Zhuang marriage customs

Section Fourteen  Dai marriage customs

Section Fifteen  Change and reform of marriage customs

Main References