Servants of the Dynasty: Palace Women in World History

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Anne Walthall
University of California Press, 2008 - History - 381 pages
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Mothers, wives, concubines, entertainers, attendants, officials, maids, drudges. By offering the first comparative view of the women who lived, worked, and served in royal courts around the globe, this work opens a new perspective on the monarchies that have dominated much of human history. Written by leading historians, anthropologists, and archeologists, these lively essays take us from Mayan states to twentieth-century Benin in Nigeria, to the palace of Japanese Shoguns, the Chinese Imperial courts, eighteenth-century Versailles, Mughal India, and beyond. Together they investigate how women's roles differed, how their roles changed over time, and how their histories can illuminate the structures of power and societies in which they lived. This work also furthers our understanding of how royal courts, created to project the authority of male rulers, maintained themselves through the reproductive and productive powers of women.
 

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Contents

Introducing Palace Women
1
1 Women and the Performance of Powerin Early Modern Southeast Asia
22
2 Women in Classic Maya Royal Courts
45
3 Women and Power at the Byzantine Court
65
Ottoman Royal Women and the Exercise of Power
81
5 Mughal Palace Women
96
Women and Seclusion at the Royal Courtof Benin Nigeria
115
Empresses Concubines and Aisin Gioro Daughters
137
Women and Weaving in Aztec Palaces and Colonial Mexico
215
12 Women Royalty and Indigo Dyeing in Northern Nigeria circa 15001807
232
13 Gender and Entertainment at the Song Court
261
The Anonymity of Texts and the Historicity of Subjects
280
The Case of Queen MarieAmélie
299
Bibliography
327
List of Contributors
359
Index
363

8 The Royal Women of Ivan IVs Family and the Meaning of Forced Tonsure
172
10 Women of Versailles 16821789
191

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About the author (2008)

Anne Walthall is Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. She is author of Japan: A Cultural, Social, and Political History and The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration, among other books.

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