Concubines who gave birth to male offspring were elevated to imperial consorts, with the empress at the top of the pecking order.

For Forbidden City concubines in imperial China, beauty was more of a curse than a blessing

  • A select group of concubines was tasked to bear children for the emperor – as many as he could father
  • Most would spend their lives in bitter loneliness and, unsurprisingly, jealousy was rife
Topic |   Infographics

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Concubines who gave birth to male offspring were elevated to imperial consorts, with the empress at the top of the pecking order.
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Marcelo Duhalde

Marcelo Duhalde

Marcelo Duhalde joined the Post as its infographic designer in 2016, having worked previously as the deputy infographic editor at the Times of Oman. Duhalde has won more than 50 Society for News Design awards, 12 Malofiej medals, one Peter Sullivana's best of show (2015) and four gold medals at the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers awards. His work has been published in several books, magazines, and infographic and data visualisation websites in Europe, Asia and the Americas.