Women on the Threshold in the First Chapter of Liu Xiang’s Lienü Zhuan: The Gendered Concepts of Nei 内/Wai 外 and the Way of Women (Fu Dao 婦道)

  • Sabrina Ardizzoni University of Bologna
Keywords: Womanhood, Confucian ethics, Lienü Zhuan, Liu Xiang


Enquiring into the first chapter of Liu Xiang’s Lienü Zhuan 列女傳, this paper points out the consolidation of the spatial distinction of nei/wai and the ethical construction of womanhood in the Former Han period. In this analysis we will underline the “in-between” position of women depicted by the author and consider their position as based on a metaphorical—but sometimes even physical—threshold. It highlights six categories in Liu Xiang’s work that help us understand a traditional vision of woman that is reviving in modern times. Even today, the Way of Women (fu dao 妇道) is one of the principles on which social harmony is based; breaching the Way of Woman leads to disruptive consequences both within the family and outside, within society


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How to Cite
ArdizzoniS. (2020). Women on the Threshold in the First Chapter of Liu Xiang’s Lienü Zhuan: The Gendered Concepts of Nei 内/Wai 外 and the Way of Women (Fu Dao 婦道). Asian Studies, 8(3), 281-302. https://doi.org/10.4312/as.2020.8.3.281-302