China’s historical women warriors hailed from the northeast (Manchuria) during the Liao (907–1125) and Jin (1115–1234) dynasties. Celebrated in the Liao History, they were “unprecedented.” They rode horseback astride, were good at hunting and shooting, and took part in military battles. Several empresses—and one famous bandit chief—led armies against the enemy Song state. Women of the Conquest Dynasties: Gender and Identity in Liao and Jin China, by Linda Cooke Johnson, represents a groundbreaking effort to survey the customs and lives of these women from the Kitan and Jurchen tribes who maintained their native traditions of horsemanship, militancy, and sexual independence while excelling in writing poetry and prose and earning praise for their Buddhist piety and Confucian ethics. Although much work has been devoted in the last few years to Chinese women of various periods, this is the first volume to incorporate recent archaeological discoveries and information drawn from Liao and Jin paintings as well as literary sources and standard historical accounts.
July 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3404-3 / $52.00 (CLOTH)