Although there has been a growing body of research that explores Chinese masculinities within imperial China, the connection between masculinity and physical culture has been neglected. In this article, the author argues that Chinese emperors used Confucianism and the civil service examination (keju) to rule the country, and at the same time, created a social group of sedentary gentlemen whose studiousness and bookishness were worshiped by the public. In particular, the political institution of keju played a crucial role in disciplining the body. Behavior that did not conform to the Confucian standards which stressed civility and education were considered barbaric. As a result, a wen-version of masculinity was constructed. In other words, an anti-physical culture that strengthened the gross contempt towards those who chose to engage in physical labor.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.