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7 - Grandfathers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2022

Diana Lary
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
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Summary

Grandfathers took great pride in their grandchildren and in the continuation of the family line, but they contributed far less to their families than did their wives. As they aged they moved into a pleasant, quiescent stage of life. There were/are many gentle, calming pursuits to pass the time: keeping songbirds, practising taiji, doing calligraphy, writing poetry. Old men spent time in the company of other old men, often in teahouses or parks. Their remaining family responsibilities were agreeable. The literate ones taught their grandchildren calligraphy. They were responsible for the complex practices of choosing the grandchildren’s names. They passed on family history and lore.

Affluent men could practice polygamy. A woman could only marry once, but her husband could take as many concubines as he wanted – and could afford. He might have children who were younger than his oldest grandchildren. Polygamous families were usually full of conflict, far from the men’s ideal. Formal polygamy is now outlawed, though the practice of keeping a ‘little wife’, in a separate establishment, is not.

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China's Grandmothers
Gender, Family, and Ageing from Late Qing to Twenty-First Century
, pp. 109 - 127
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Grandfathers
  • Diana Lary, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: China's Grandmothers
  • Online publication: 14 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009064781.009
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  • Grandfathers
  • Diana Lary, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: China's Grandmothers
  • Online publication: 14 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009064781.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Grandfathers
  • Diana Lary, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • Book: China's Grandmothers
  • Online publication: 14 April 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009064781.009
Available formats
×