By Anne Behnke Kinney
Chinese language within the 20th century, rationale on modernizing their kingdom, condemned their inherited tradition partly since it used to be oppressive to the younger. The authors of this pioneering quantity supply us with the proof to think again these fees. Drawing on assets starting from paintings to scientific treatises, fiction, and funerary writings, they separate out the numerous complexities within the chinese language cultural development of formative years and the methods it has replaced over the years. hearing how chinese language said youngsters - no matter if their very own baby, the summary baby short of schooling or therapy, the proper precocious baby, or the fictitious baby - shall we us check in concrete phrases the constructions and values that underlay chinese language lifestyles. -- Patricia Buckley Ebrey, college of Illinois
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But since this trait alluded to both extreme goodness and badness, a powerful life force could not be interpreted without reference to less ambiguous indications of moral stature. Some Han thinkers construed a child’s rowdiness as a sign of an evil nature. The tyrannical nature of Zhou Xin (r. d. 27–97) argued that although goodness or badness is inborn, it is usually impossible to judge the nature of an infant based on its behavior because an infant is simply incapable of any great wickedness or virtue; a one-year-old baby will therefore not commit violent robbery, just as it will not exhibit the virtue of yielding.
The practical expression of this emphasis can be seen in the appointment of Confucian tutors for all heirs to the Han rulership from the time of Emperor Wu (r. d. 17 No source, however, states the ages of students who attended these schools. Nonetheless, it is clear that the Han saw the rise of formal institutions sponsored by the state called xiaoxue, or “elementary schools,” which, evidence strongly suggests, were devised for the education of young boys. d. d. 19 Each of these village schools was to be staffed by one expert in the Classic of Filial Piety.
99 In Later Han historical sources that recount the rise of such men, we also begin to see frequent reference to childhood as an important element of their biographies. One of the earliest and fairly thorough accounts of childhood can be found in Wang Chong’s autobiography: In the third year of jianwu, Wang Chong was born. When playing with his companions, he disliked all frivolous games. His comrades would entrap birds, catch cicadas, play for money, and gambol on stilts. Wang Chong alone declined to take part in their games to the great amazement of his father.
Chinese Views of Childhood by Anne Behnke Kinney