Boudoirs were their whole world for the traditional Chinese women. They were not allowed to go beyond the gate, and since the age they were expected to be 'sensible'. They started the life which was bound by the rules such as 'ignorance is a virtue for women', 'no move of shoulders when walking', 'no showing of teeth when smiling' etc.
Confined in her boudoir, every day she has only her own in the dressing table mirror to watch and talk to, when she get slowly dressed up. One day she suddenly finds that she is no longer that innocent child but a coy girl, the youthful beauty is replaced by an ice-cold blank and pale face. This means she has to hurry up to prepare her dowry, besides obtaining some consolation from playing the Qin (a kind of string musical instrument). Only if she can produce nice embroiders will she be treated with some respect and be thought to deserve a good husband and family life and will both families feel honored.
At last the Big Day of marriage comes. Yet unexpectedly she flees the maiden's chamber and finds another dark, empty boudoir waiting for her in the family of her husband's. She gets trapped again in the old miserable days. She returns to the dressing mirror again and ages as days dawdle by. Snow whitens her hairs. Qin music has long been unheard in the boudoir, leaving but one sigh after another echoing in the empty chamber.
In front of a carved wooden bed, two Qins were laid aside. What accompany her are a dim oil-lamp, a shaking feet-binding rack, a shallow bronze basin, a heavy locker, a cold vase and hard treadle.
Collected from: Jiangxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Henan.
Time span: Qing Dynasty to the Modern Times, about 400 years.