SHS Web of Conf.
Volume 174, 20232023 2nd International Conference on Science Education and Art Appreciation (SEAA 2023)
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Section||Landscape Management and Socio-Environmental Planning|
|Published online||11 August 2023|
Eunuchs: Angels or Devils in Disguise?
1 The Hill School, 860 Beech Street, Pottstown PA 19464, USA
2 Department of Anthropology, Yale University, 10 Sachem St, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
The contradictory role of eunuchs in ancient China has remained a long-term debate in history. Often viewed as either holy or profane, eunuchs occupied a unique space in society that defied easy categorization. This study challenges the prevailing negative perception of eunuchs in ancient dynastical China by re-examining historical records and highlighting their positive contributions to society. The historical portrayal of eunuchs as wicked and cunning individuals has been heavily influenced by Chinese literati who sought to defame their rivals in order to gain political influence. Eunuchs, who played crucial roles in the imperial court, have had a significant impact on China’s development both positively and negatively. By focusing on notable eunuchs such as Zheng He, Cai Lun, and Sima Qian, this paper demonstrates that their contributions to Chinese culture, technological advancement, and historical documentation significantly outweigh the harm caused by a few power-hungry individuals. Ultimately, the paper calls for a more nuanced understanding of eunuchs’ roles in ancient Chinese society and their impact on the country’s development.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2023
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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