Warriors, Grannies, and Geishas of the Ming
By (author) Victoria B. Cass
Publication date:01 December 1999
Length of book:184 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
Grannies, geishas, warriors, mystics, recluses, and predators_these are the dangerous women of traditional China. Through her exploration of the myth and history of the Ming, Victoria B. Cass brings their world brilliantly to life. In a culture that is resoundingly patriarchal, these women are a vivid counterpoint. Violating state-sponsored orthodoxies, the granny mocks and mimics, the geisha charms with her intellect, the warrior rules in icy superiority. Using new and freshly interpreted sources, the author leads us confidently into this surprising world, bolstering her erudite and engaging text with stunning color and black and white art of the period.
The narrative is fast paced, the stories gripping, the accompanying illustrations quite lavish. Most strikingly, the language of the book itself pulsates with life, rendering history immediate and figures of bygone times almost tangible. Locating the portraitures of Ming women within patterns of myth and culture, the book provides a taxonomy of feminine types (or antifeminine types, as the case may be). This is a very useful book to students of Chinese history, especially for those interested in the representation of the feminine in late imperial China.