|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
THE reader will have been struck by the many references in the Than Kung to the degrees and dress of mourning; and no other subject occupies so prominent a place in many of the books of the Lî Kî that follow. It is thought well, therefore, to introduce here, by way of appendix to it, the following passage from a very valuable paper on 'Marriage, Affinity, and Inheritance in China,' contributed, on February 8th, 1853, to the China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, by Mr. W. H. Medhurst, jun., now Sir Walter H. Medhurst. The information and subjoined illustrative tables were taken by him mainly from the Ritual and Penal Code of China, a preliminary chapter of which is devoted to the subject of 'The Dress of Mourning:'--
'The ideas of the Chinese as to nearness of kin, whether by blood or marriage, differ widely from our own. They divide relationships into two classes, Nêi khin (內親) and Wâi yin (外因), terms analogous to our "consanguinity" and "affinity," but conveying, nevertheless, other associations than those which we attach to these words. The former (Nêi khin) comprehends all kindred derived from common stock with the individual, but only by descent through the male line; the latter (Wâi yin) includes what the Chinese designate mû tang (母黨), khi tang (妻黨), and nü tang (女黨), three terms best translated, perhaps, by "mother's kin," "wife's kin," and "daughter's kin," and understood by them to mean a mother's relatives, relatives of females received into one's kindred by marriage, and members of families into which one's kinswomen marry. Thus, for example, a first cousin twice removed, lineally descended from the same great-great-grandfather through the male line, is a nêi-khin relative; but a mother's parents, wife's sister, and a sister's husband or child, are all equally wâi-yin kindred. The principle on which the distinction is drawn appears to be, that a woman alienates herself from her own kin on marriage, and becomes a part of the stock on which she is grafted; and it will be necessary to keep this principle distinctly in mind in perusing any further remarks that may be made, as otherwise it will be found impossible to reconcile the many apparent contradictions in the theory and practice of the Chinese Code.
'The indication of the prohibited degrees (in marriage) depends then upon a peculiar genealogical disposition of the several members of a family with respect to the mourning worn for deceased relatives; and this I shall now proceed to explain. The Ritual prescribes five different kinds of mourning, called wû fû (五服), to be worn for all relatives within a definite proximity of degree, graduating the character of the habit in proportion to the nearness of kin. These habits are designated by certain names, which by a species of metonymy come to be applied to the relationships themselves, and are used somewhat as we apply the terms "Ist degree," "2nd degree," and so on; and plans, similar to our genealogical tables, are laid down, showing the specific habit suitable for each kinsman. The principal one of these tables, that for a married or unmarried man, comprises cousins twice removed, that is, derived by lineal descent from a common great-great-grandfather, that ancestor himself, and all relatives included within the two lines of descent from him to them; below the individual, it comprehends his own descendants (in the male line) as far as great-great-grandchildren, his brother's as far as great-grandchildren, his cousin's as far as grandchildren, and the children of his cousin once removed. In this table nêi-khin relationships will alone be found; mourning is worn for very few of the wâi-yin, and these, though actually, that is, in our eyes, ties of consanguinity; and deserving far more consideration than many for which a deeper habit is prescribed, are classed among the very lowest degrees of mourning.
'Six tables are given in the Ritual to which the five habits are common; they prescribe the mourning to be worn by
'A seventh table is given, exhibiting the mourning to be worn for step-fathers and fathers by adoption, and for step- and foster-mothers, &c.; but I have not thought it necessary to encumber my paper by wandering into so remote a portion of the field.
'To render these details more easily comprehensible, I shall class the relationships in each table under their appropriate degrees of mourning, and leave the reader to examine the tables at his leisure. It need only be borne in mind, that, excepting where otherwise specified, the relationship indicated is male, and only by descent through the male line, as, for example, that by "cousin" a father's brother's son alone is meant, and not a father's sister's son or daughter.
'The five kinds of mourning, the names of which serve, as has been said, to indicate the degrees of relationship to which they belong, are:--
1st, Kan-zui (斬衰), nominally worn for three years, really for twenty-seven months;
2nd, Dze-zui (齊衰), worn for one year, for five months, or for three months;
3rd, Tâ-kung (大功 ), worn for nine months;
4th, Hsiâo-kung (小功), worn for five months;
5th, Sze-mâ (緦痲), worn for three months.
'The character of each habit, and the relatives for whom it is worn, are prescribed as follows:--
'1st, Kan-Zui indicates relationships of the first degree. The prescribed habit for it is composed of the coarsest hempen fabric, and left unhemmed at the borders. It is worn:--
'By a man, for his parents; by a wife, for her husband, and husband's parents; and by a concubine, for her master.
'2nd, Dze-zui indicates relationships of the second degree. The prescribed habit for it is composed of coarse hempen fabric, with hemmed borders. It is worn for one year:--
'By a man, for his grandparents; uncle; uncle's wife; spinster aunt; brother; spinster sister; wife; son (of wife or concubine); daughter-in-law (wife of first-born); nephew; spinster niece; grandson (first-born son of first-born); by a wife, for her husband's nephew, and husband's spinster niece; by a married woman, for her parents, and grandparents; and by a concubine, for her master's wife; her master's parents; her master's sons (by wife or other concubine), and for sons. It is worn for five months:--
'By a man, for his great-grandparents; and by a married woman, for her great-grandparents. It is worn for three months:--
'By a man, for his great-great-grandparents; and by, a married woman, for her great-great-grandparents.
'3rd, Tâ-kung indicates relationships of the third degree. The prescribed habit for it is composed of coarse cotton fabric 1. It is worn:--
'By a man, for his married aunt; married sister; brother's wife; first cousin; spinster first cousin; daughter-in-law (wife of a younger son, or of a son of a concubine); nephew's wife; married niece; and grandson (son of a younger son, or of a concubine's son); by a wife, for her husband's grandparents; husband's uncle; husband's daughter-in-law (wife of a younger son, or of a concubine's son); husband's nephew's wife; husband's married niece; and grandson; by a married woman, for her uncle; uncle's wife; spinster aunt; brother; sister; nephew; spinster niece; and by a concubine, for her grandson.
'4th, Hsiâo-kung indicates relationships of the fourth degree. The habit prescribed for it is composed of rather coarse cotton fabric. It is worn:--
'By a man, for his grand-uncle; grand-uncle's wife; spinster grand-aunt; father's first cousin; father's first cousin's wife; father's spinster first cousin married female first cousin; first cousin once removed; spinster female first cousin once removed; second cousin; spinster female second cousin; grand-daughter-in-law (wife of first-born of first-born son); grand-nephew; spinster grand-niece; mother's parents; mother's brother; mother's sister 2; by a wife, for her husband's aunt; husband's brother; husband's brother's wife; husband's sister; husband's second cousin; spinster female second cousin of husband; husband's grand-nephew; and spinster grandniece of husband; by a married woman, for her spinster aunt; married sister; first cousin; and married niece; and by a concubine, for her master's grandparents.
'5th, Sze-mâ indicates relationships of the fifth degree. The prescribed dress for it is composed of rather fine cotton cloth. It is worn:--
'By a man, for his great-grand-uncle; great-grand-uncle's wife; spinster great-grand-aunt; married grand-aunt; grandfather's first cousin; grandfather's first cousin's wife; spinster first cousin of grandfather; married female first cousin of father; father's first cousin once removed; wife of father's first cousin once removed; father's spinster first cousin once removed; first cousin's wife; married female first cousin once removed; first cousin twice removed; spinster first cousin twice removed; married female second cousin; second cousin once removed; spinster second cousin once removed; grand-daughter-in-law (wife of son of a younger son, or of son of a concubine); grand-nephew's wife; married grand-niece; third cousin spinster third cousin; great-grandson; great-grand-nephew; spinster great-grand-niece; great-great-grandson; aunt's son; mother's brother's son; mother's sister's son; wife's parents; son-in-law; daughter's child: by a wife, for her husband's great-great-grand-parents; husband's great-grand-parents; husband's grand-uncle; husband's spinster grand-aunt; father-in-law's first cousin; father-in-law's first cousin's wife; spinster first cousin of father-in-law; female first cousin of husband; husband's second cousin's wife; married female second cousin of husband; husband's second cousin once removed; husband's spinster second cousin once removed; grand-daughter-in-law (wife of own or a concubine's grandson); husband's grand-nephew's wife; husband's married grand-niece; husband's third cousin; spinster third cousin of husband; great-grandson; great-grand-daughter-in-law; husband's great-grand-nephew; spinster great-grand-niece of husband; and great-great-grandson: and by a married woman, for her grand-uncle; spinster grand-aunt; father's first cousin; spinster first cousin of father; spinster first cousin; second cousin; spinster second cousin.'
1. In the very brief account of this preliminary chapter in the Penal Code, given by Sir George Staunton, in his translation of the Code (page lxxv), he gives for the material 'coarse' linen cloth. The Chinese character is simply 'cloth.' I suppose the material originally was linen; but since the use of cotton, both of native and foreign manufacture, has increased in China, it is often substituted for linen. I have seen some mourners wearing linen, and others wearing cotton.
2. These names and others farther on, printed with spaced letters, all belong to the Wâi-yin relationships.
|<Previous Section>||<Next Section>|
|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|