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zhen_shuai

Maids and servants in ancient China

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zhen_shuai

Okay, kind of a weird request but:

Does anyone know of any books or scholarly articles that cover the topic of maids and/or servants in ancient China? As in, how one became a maid, what responsibilities maids had to their employers, what personal interests did they have, did they typically serve for life, or just until marriage, what kind of hierarchy existed among servants, etc, etc.

Specifically Tang dynasty, but really any time period would be helpful.

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studentyoung
Does anyone know of any books or scholarly articles that cover the topic of maids and/or servants in ancient China?

I highly recommend the book “宫女谈往录 / Maid of Honor to the Queen Cixi talking about the past”, which tells people in details about how maids and ladies in waiting, and even eunuch servants lived their life in late Qing Dynasty.

  她极不愿意谈起往事,常常说:“我是由天上掉下来的,没掉在地上,掉到茅房坑子(厕所)里了。谈起过去的事,惹人伤心。”必须屋里没人,安安静静,心情又好,人又合得来,才肯断断续续地谈上一点,次数多了,凝聚在我的记忆里,渐渐地联缀成四条线:

  一、宫女的生活;

  二、慈禧的起居;

  三、光绪的佚事;

  四、其他琐屑。

  40多年了,往事如烟,言犹在耳,逼取便逝。孔老夫子说:“述而不作,信而好古,窃比于我老彭。”这位彭先生可能是“正确对待史实,如实反映情况,不添油,不加醋”,于是才得到孔老夫子的表扬吧。我愿向这位老彭先生学习!

http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kz=189518548

唉~~!这本书比较苦。曹雪芹说《红楼梦》是哭出来的,我觉得这本《宫女谈往录》是老宫女连眼泪都快哭不出来,带着欲哭无泪的心情,向金易老先生诉说她前半辈子的苦。感谢金老先生,才让老宫女的哀哀怨怨、坎坎坷坷都已细细腻腻、温温润润的笔触表达出来!执笔者对诉说者的着意爱护在字里行成的暖流,才让人不至于因为书中的某些描述太过悲郁而读不下去。

这是一本好书,是我很喜欢的书之一。不过,我很少向别人推荐这本书——总怕别人因为经历不够丰富,或根本没有对细腻情感的体验,而读得过于粗疏,把好书给生生糟蹋了。——那就太对不起诉说者和执笔者了!

Cheers!

Edited by studentyoung

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eatfastnoodle

Well, let's just say that in many cases, female maids have to satisfy sexual whims of their master.

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skylee

there were no male maids, I suppose. :)

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HashiriKata
Well, let's just say that in many cases, female maids have to satisfy sexual whims of their master.
But this is not peculiar to the society or period that the OP is looking into, is it?

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chrix

Also, it seems that the OP was asking about servants in general, be they male or female.

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