Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ Mobile

Traditional Chinese bride. Source: Jeronimo Ramos / Adobe Stock.

Choosing a Chinese Emperor’s Bride Required Intense Scrutiny (Video)


The selection of a bride for a Chinese Emperor involved meticulous scrutiny, a process far from ordinary. The privilege of making this crucial choice belonged to the Emperor's mother, the most senior woman in the court. The chosen candidate underwent rigorous examination. Blemishes, foul breath, or any hint of body odor were unacceptable. Virginity was not assumed. One such candidate, Nara, received an engagement present, sparking jealousy among many for her perceived beauty. However, the Dowager did not concur. Nara was appointed as a concubine of the lowest grade, while the first rank went to another girl who would become the Emperor's bride.

She held the destiny of providing an heir to the dynasty, setting the stage for a relentless rivalry for the Emperor's favor. The wedding ceremony marked a momentous occasion. Chinese culture viewed marriage as the union of yin and yang, the nourishing and creative forces. Harmony between these dual forces was imperative to maintain order in the universe, a principle echoed throughout the Forbidden City.

Top image: Traditional Chinese bride. Source: Jeronimo Ramos / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

Next article