CULTURAL heritage authorities in the south-west province of Guizhou have uncovered two stone tablets inscribed with the “do's and don’ts” of marriage more than 200 years ago.
The tablets, inscribed during the reigns of Qian Long (1736-1795) and Jia Qing (1796-1820), emperors of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), outlawed marriage between close relations, elopement, blackmail or unilateral breach of engagement and granted the widowed the right to remarry.
“They can be called a systematic marriage law,” said Wang Zongxun, head of the Archives of Jinping county, where the tablets are kept.
“It’s quite rare for the ethnic people in an underdeveloped region to make laws like this 200 years ago.”
The tablets were found in Jinping, a traditional timber production base that is densely populated by the Miao ethnic group along the Qingshuijiang River.
Wang assumed it was the booming timber trade that brought the cultural and value systems of the Han people to the Miao. – People’s Daily