Concubines in Ancient China
Conventional wisdom has it that in ancient China it was common for men who were successful to have several concubines. Concubines are women who live with men but are not married to them. Although it is said that concubinage was only present within the upper-class of Chinese men, it was actually an establishment that was presented in all classes of Chinese society. This is prime example of how women in China were viewed more as possessions, than as actual people. Wealthy men could have many different concubines, but the women in China could only be with one man. Concubines were mostly born into poor families, and were purchased by the man. This is why the men had to make sure they were financially stable before they could have a concubine.
In ancient China, the concubine was classified as being inferior to the wife, and was very dependent on the character of the wife. Concubines could improve themselves by producing a son, but he would not be as important as the son produced by the husband and wife. For a concubine it was very important for them to have beauty because this was their means of attracting and winning the man. It also helped out a great deal if the woman was youthful. They were considered property of the men, and could be purchased by someone else or given away as gifts. It was probably very natural in the homes for the wives to get jealous, especially if there more many concubines living with the family. It seems as if the wives were very selfless in ancient China because they allowed this to take place, and allowed for their husband to basically be shared with another woman.
It was very natural after the concubines grew older and lost their beauty for the men to murder them. In the passage “How Dong Xiaowan Became My Concubine,” it discusses Mao Xiang and his experience with Concubines. There are a few different concubines it briefly names that he loved and it also states the dates from which they born to when...
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