Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Old Age
(1,551 words)

According to Confucian ethics, piety or the love of children (xiao) was a cardinal virtue, i.e. children owed obedience to their parents and respect to older family members. Therefore it was a matter of course that in the old China the family provided not just for its young, but also for its old members. In contrast to the situation in the West, it was expected of all sons to remain living with their parents. The daughters moved out when they got married and carried the psychological burden of adapting to a new family under the reign o…

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Thorborg, Marina, “Old Age”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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