Exceptional Mothers in Ancient Times

Four historical mothers remembered for their wisdom, virtue, and famous sons

Today is Mother’s Day. Most people have prepared flowers, gifts or a handwritten card for their beloved mothers. In a Confucian society where filial piety plays a huge role in family dynamics, the ancient Chinese paid plenty of respect to mothers and widely acknowledged their influence in the families, especially on children. Being a virtuous mother one of few ways a woman in ancient China could leave her name in history.

Most of these women are well known because they had famous sons, and relevant historical records and folk tales go great length to demonstrate that it’s their virtuous and far-sighted mothers who were responsible for these men’s success. Here are the four most well-known great mothers of ancient times:

Mencius’s mother moves three times 孟母三迁

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author Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

Sun Jiahui is a freelance writer and former editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about Chinese language, society and culture, and is especially passionate about sharing stories of China's ancient past with a wider audience. She has been writing for TWOC for over six years, and pens the Choice Chengyu column.

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