Marriage, kinship, and power in northern China


Marriage, kinship, and power in northern China

Jennifer Holmgren

(Collected studies series, CS516)

Variorum, 1995

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Includes bibliographical references and index



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.


  • 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 YA1/4an 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.

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