By Wei Zhou
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Money similarly has a tendency to come and go. Land and rank could be counted on to endure for some time; money, by contrast, can be quickly earned or quickly squandered. As these anecdotes attest, when women and money are crossed, the potential for discontinuity is multiplied. THE VIEWS OF SIMA GUANG ON WOMEN AND THE FAMILY Sima Guang had a reputation as a man of austere and upright character, one of the least likely of any of the great men of his age to succumb to the attractions of women. The only stories told about him in which women played a part concerned his indifference to them.
He not only wanted men to avoid these embarrassing circumstances, he also wanted to protect both the daughters of shidafu families who might become victims of the market, and the families themselves, as wives with property could pose threats. He wished to demarcate a sphere into which money would not intrude. 47 He had a well-developed sense of hierarchy. He believed that in all social groups there should be a clear division of tasks and clear lines of authority. Discipline and ritual were the means to create and maintain this hierarchy.
Sima Guang wished to overcome this structural problem by moral education and moral effort: parents-in-law should not be greedy; brides should not be haughty. The basis for a structural solution to this problem was provided by advocates of the revival of zong principles. Cheng Yi had argued for redirecting attention away from the jia to the zong. In the zong women are minor actors. Wives are needed to bear heirs and assist in rites, but the family they came from and the property they bring do not directly effect the zong.