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Performing GriefBridal Laments in Rural China$
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Anne E. McLaren

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832322

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832322.001.0001

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The People of the Sands

The People of the Sands

(p.34) Chapter 2 The People of the Sands
Performing Grief

Anne E. McLaren

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter considers the historic, social, and economic factors that shaped the Nanhui lament repertoire and the bride's distinctive interpretation of the Chinese kinship system. It covers the history of the Nanhui region, the breakdown of the region's social order, the changing demography of Nanhui, kinship and marriage, and gender demographics. In Nanhui, the “people of the sands” form the folk community in which bridal laments circulate. These are populations who migrated to the area in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and toiled as tenant laborers on land painfully reclaimed from silt left deposited at the very mouth of the ocean. Women of the sands communities tilled the fields together with their men, and spun yarn and wove cloth for additional cash income. In an area that historically had a chronic shortage of women, the laboring wives of Shuyuan had a definite market value.

Keywords:   Chinese bridal laments, Nanhui region, brides, Chinese kinship system, gender demographics, marriage

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