The use of the Naginata was common among women. It is ideal for people of smaller stature to engage enemies outside their intimate space, and keep them there. There are stories of the Naginata being hung just inside the doorway of Samurai houses, so that if intruders attempt to enter while the head of household is away, his wife can take care of the children and family.
If the intruders could not be subdued, women have their own form of ritual suicide opposite seppuku, called jigai:
In jigai, women had a method in which death would occur relatively quickly. The nature of the wound was not likely to cause an ugly distortion of the features or disarrangement of the limbs that would offend the woman’s dignity after death. The dagger was used to cut the jugular vein.
-Women Warriors of Japan, Ellis Amdur
Reading about the People Power Revolution that happened in 1986.
his just simple demonstrates that to prove a point and make a stand, can all be achieved without any violence.It’s beautiful in a way to think that so many people can just come together, strangers can come together, and fight for themselves and what they believe is right. It’s even more inspiring because these huge demonstrations were all led by one persistant woman: Corazon Aquino, who later became the 11th president of the Philippines.
Also Sondok and originally known as princess Deokman.
Her father was the king of the Silla kingdom, which had emerged in the south about 250 and 350 AD, and by the end of the 7th century would manage to unify the whole peninsula. Having no sons, he chose as his heir his daughter Sondok, which was no great surprise for a number of reasons. One was that women in this period had a certain degree of influence already as advisers, queen dowagers, and regents. Throughout the kingdom, women were heads of families since matrilineal lines of descent existed alongside patrilineal lines. The Confucian model, which placed women in a subordinate position within the family, was not to have a major impact in Korea until the fifteenth century. During the Silla kingdom, women’s status remained relatively high.
There were other reasons, too, that led the king to favor Sondok. Early in her life she had displayed an unusually quick mind. One anecdote tells of the time the king received a box of peony seeds from China accompanied by a painting of what the flowers looked like. Looking at the picture, seven year old Sondok remarked that while the flower was pretty it was too bad that it did not smell. “If it did, there would be butterflies and bees around the flower in the painting.” Her observation about the peonies lack of smell proved correct, one illustration among many of her intelligence, and thus ability to rule.
In 634, Sondok became the sole ruler of Silla, and ruled until 647. She was the first of three females rulers of the kingdom, and was immediately secceeded by her cousin Chindok, who ruled until 654.
Sondok’s reign was a violent one; rebellions and fighting in the neighboring kingdom of Paekche filled her days. Yet, in her fourteen years as queen of Korea, her wit was to her advantage. She kept the kingdom together and extended its ties to China, sending scholars to learn from that august kingdom. Like China’s Empress Wu Zetian, she was drawn to Buddhism and presided over the completion of Buddhist temples. She built the “Tower of the Moon and Stars,” considered the first observatory in the Far East. The tower still stands in the old Silla capital city of Kyongju, South Korea.
Sondok’s respect as a ruler may have been reinforced by the ancient tradition of female shamanism, which was prominent in Korea, and among some peoples still is. Up until Sondok’s time, the word shaman was assumed to apply to women. Shamans had great power as recognized intermediaries between gods and humans. Some presided over national ceremonies, but most were a kind of family priestess, whose role usually was inherited. Through spirit possession, shamans performed healings and exorcisms, revealed causes of family strife and advised on their resolution, picked auspicious days for weddings or burials, conducted rituals to guarantee continual prosperity, and healed those who were broken in body or soul. As foretellers of the future, shamans had enormous power. Histories tell us that Sondok was revered for her ability to anticipate advents. Might it have been this more than any other attribute that led to her popularity as a ruler? If so, it is a prime example of a way time honored female tasks have helped women assume leadership roles.
A main resource is: Yung-Chung Kim, Women of Korea - A History from Ancient Times to 1945, Seoul: EWHA Women’s University Press, 1997.
Via Women in World History
Anyone interested in a humorous reaction (condensed liveblog) to the children’s book - The Royal Diary of Queen Sondok?
Were there any women calligraphers?
Like many professional trades, skill in calligraphy tended to be passed down through families, from father to son. In most of the societies in which Arabic script calligraphy was practiced, it was relatively uncommon for women to practice a trade, so we find fewer examples of their calligraphic work.
There were, however, a few women practicing calligraphy as early as the 10th century. In fact, the great calligrapher Yaqut al-Musta‘simi studied calligraphy with a woman named Shuhda Bint Al-‘Ibari, a student in the direct line from Ibn al-Bawwab.
Princesses during the Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) in Iran were taught calligraphy. Princess Ziya al-Saltanat, in particular, possessed great skill and was placed in charge of her father’s correspondence. She also wrote many fine Koranic manuscripts.
Today it is common to find women studying calligraphy, especially in Turkey and Iran.
Queen Manduhai the Wise, recalling the vengeance of
the former khans,
set out on campaign.
She set in motion her foot soldiers and oxen-troops, and
after three days and nights she set out with her cavalry.
Queen Manduhai the Wise, putting on her quiver
and composing her disordered hair,
put Dayan Khan in a box and set out.
On an unknown day in the late thirteenth century, an unidentified hand clumsily cut away part of the text from the most politically sensitive section of The Secret History of the Mongols. The censored portion recorded words spoken by Ghengis Khan in the summer of 1206 at the moment he created the Mongol Empire and gave shape to the Government that would dominate the world for the next 150 years. Through oversight or malice, the censor had left a single short sentence of the mutilated text that hinted at what had been removed: “Let us reward our female offspring.”-
The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Ghengis Khan Rescued His Empire. By Jack Weatherford.
Finally checked this out of the library. So. Excited.
Via Lapham’s Quarterly.
When Mongolian men wrestle in the Naadam games held annually since Genghis Khan founded the nation in 1206, they wear a particular vest with long sleeves but no shoulder covering and a completely open front exposing the whole of the chest, thereby allowing each wrestler to be certain that his opponent is male. At the end of each match, the winner stretches out his arms to display his chest again, and he slowly waves his arms in the air like a bird, turning for all to see. For the winner it is a victory dance, but it is also a tribute to the greatest female athlete in Mongolian history, a wrestling princess whom no man ever defeated. Ever since she reigned as the wrestling champion of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, however, male wrestlers have only wrestled men.
The princess, a great-great granddaughter of Genghis Khan, was born about 1260 and is known by several names: Khutulun, Aiyurug, or Aijaruc, all referring to moonlight. In opposition to her cousin, the emperpr Khubilai Khan, who enjoyed the luxury of the Chinese court, Khutulun rejected the temptations of sedentary civilization and sought to maintain the hardy Mongol way of life. She was a large and powerfully built woman, and she used her size and strength in the three Mongol sports of horsemanship, archery, and wrestling, as well as in the primary Mongol vocation of warfare.