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The Changing Role of Textile Making: Text Analysis of Digitized "Lienü Zhuan"
Presenter Lightning Session(s)
Western University, Canada
As more and more digital sources are accessible and digital tools become more useful in recent years, scholars who work with East Asian languages have begun to incorporate digital research methods into their studies. Yet the application of digital tools to East Asian scripts remains a challenge. This case study examines the roles of female textile making in "Lienü zhuan" found in digitized Chinese official histories from the Han to the Qing dynasties. By analyzing word frequencies and correlations my research suggests that the elite-encouraged womanly skills changed over time from spinning and weaving to miscellaneous skills including fabric making, sewing, and embroidery, which reflects the changing role of textile – from a symbolic virtue of ladies to a livelihood of chaste widows. This study employs some of the popular text analysis tools in digital humanities (Open Refine, Voyant) and explores the possibilities and potentials of analyzing wiki-styled Chinese sources.