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Beyond the "Pattern of Heaven": Gender, Kinship and the Family in China by Mind Map: Beyond the "Pattern of Heaven": Gender, Kinship and the Family in China
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Beyond the "Pattern of Heaven": Gender, Kinship and the Family in China

The uterine family consisted of mothers and their children, who belonged to her husband's patriline.

By focusing her energy and efforts on her uterine family, a woman may create a future source of influence and security not found in her husband's family.

Patrilineal Surnames provided the Han Chinese with connections to a common ancestor, and family records have been kept at least as far back as the Han Dynasty.

These genealogies served to cement male hegemony as women were typically noted in family histories.


Traditional Chinese culture, with its heavy Confucian influence, is often portrayed as an example of extreme patrilineality with women playing a nearly invisible role in the family line.

The Han Chinese

Under China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang, ethnic were united and all groups shared the written language.


Founded by Kong Fuzi in the 6th century

Patrilineal Kinship

The Surname

The importance of the Han Chinese patriline is reflected in Chinese kinship terms the ( formerly) strict rules of surname exogamy.

Life stages of the Han Chinese Woman

Tradition placed the female in an extremely inferior position

Nuanced Approach to Han Chinese Gender and Kinship

Post 1949 trends

Despite the new revolutionary and institutional milieu created by the Communist party, policies are generally regarded as having strengthen the traditional Chinese Family

The Dai

The Dai are a group of 300,000, the Dai kinship is bilateral. Dai lack surnames that make lineage membership easily identifiable.

The Lahu

A Tibeto- Burman speaking group residing in the mountains of Burma.

The Mosuo

A matrilineal group residing in Southwest China