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Nü sishu 女四書

Mar 4, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Nü sishu 女四書 "Four books for girls" is a collection of four writings especially compiled for elementary learning of girls. The title is derived from the Four Books (sishu 四書) of the Confucian Canon which had to be studies by young boys. The main content of the "female parallels" is the social position of women, which is subordinated to that of men.

The four books for girls are the Nüjie 女誡 by the Han-period 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE) female writer Ban Zhao 班昭 (c. 45-c. 117 CE), the Nü lunyu 女論語 by the Tang-period 唐 (618-907) sisters Song Ruoxin 宋若莘 (d. 820?) and Song Ruozhao 宋若昭 (761-828), the Nüxun 女訓 by Empress Xu 徐后 (Empress Renxiao 仁孝皇后, 1362-1407), and the Nüfan jielu 女範捷錄 by Ms. Liu 劉氏, both from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644).

The four books for girls are also known as Guige sishu jizhu 閨閣四書集注 "Collected commentaries to the four books of the boudoir" and were printed and published in this edition in 1624 by Wang Xiang 王相.

女四書 Nü sishu
(Ming) 王相 Wang Xiang (comp.)
書名, length in juan Title Author(s)
女誡 一卷 Nüjie (Han) 班昭 Ban Zhao
女論語 一卷 Nü lunyu (Tang) 宋若莘 Song Ruoxin, 宋若昭 Song Ruozhao
女訓 (內訓) 一卷 Nüxun (Neixun) (Ming) 徐后 Empress Xu (仁孝皇后 Empress Renxiao)
女範捷錄 一卷 Nüfan jielu (Ming) 劉氏 Ms. Liu
Sources:
Chen Renxiong 陳人雄 (1996). "Nüjie 女誡", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名着提要, Vol. Jiaoyu 教育 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 149.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1547.
Li Zhitian 李稚田 (1993). "Nü sishu 女四書”, in Zhongguo xiaoxue jiaoxue baike quanshu 中國小學教學百科全書, Vol. Yuwen 語文 (Shenyang: Shengyang chubanshe), 91.
Sun Xinmei 孫新梅 (2013). "Nü sishu de bianzuan yu liuchuan 《女四書》的編纂與流傳", Lantai shijie 蘭台世界, 2013 (11).
Zhang Chunhua 張春花, Wei Zhanbin 韋占彬 (2007). "Cong Nü sishu kan woguo gudai funü de shenfen yishi 從《女四書》看我國古代婦女的身份意識", Lantai shijie 蘭台世界, 2007 (8).
Zhang Mingqi 張鳴岐 (1992). "Nü sishu 女四書", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Vol. Jiaoyu 教育 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 270.
Zhao Hankun 趙含坤, ed. (2005). Zhongguo leishu 中國類書 (Shijiazhuang: Hebei renmin chubanshe), 185.