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Woman and Mirror in Ancient East Asian Literature

  • The Journal of Study on Language and Culture of Korea and China
  • Abbr : JSLCKC
  • 2022, (65), pp.295-320
  • DOI : 10.16874/jslckc.2022..65.010
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Study on Chinese Languge and Culture
  • Research Area : Humanities > Chinese Language and Literature
  • Received : July 10, 2022
  • Accepted : August 20, 2022
  • Published : August 31, 2022

Lee Kyung Mi 1

1동서대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper delves into various types of narratives about women and mirrors portrayed in the East Asian classical literature. A mirror was not only a cultural product with long history by women in the ancient East Asia but also an artistic prototype that demonstrated their literary imagination. By looking into mirrors, women in the East Asian classical literature activated their femininity and sometimes foretold their future with the mystical power of mirrors based on religions and indigenous beliefs. While they reflected on themselves as their true selves were reflected on the mirrors, their images with desires projected were the seeds of forthcoming tragedies. Moreover, these mirrors served as keepsakes for commitment and love, tokens that reminded separated couples of their reunion someday and symbols for salvation. As stated, for the women in the classical literature, the act of looking into a mirror was an opportunity to experience beginnings and ends of countless separations. Mirrors, as partners and even allies, developed women into better beings and transformed them throughout their lives. At some point, women themselves resembled the mirrors as they also reflected the era they were living in.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.