Common Knowledge of Chinese Culture

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Concubine

In traditional China, the law allowed only one wife for a man. However, a man could have many concubines. The main reason for this was that the wife could not bear a son for the man. Although a concubine was called "little wife", she was not a legitimate wife. The concubine had unequality with the wife. She could be dismissed for any reason as different from the wife (see divorce). A concubine's position in the family depended upon many things: whether she could bear a son; her relations with the wife, etc.

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