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In Ming China (1368-1644), there was an official system to select concubines for the emperor.

The age of the candidates ranged mainly from 14 to 16.

The terms concubinage and concubine are used today primarily when referring to non-marital partnerships of earlier eras.

In modern usage, a non-marital domestic relationship is commonly referred to as co-habitation (or similar terms), and the woman in such a relationship is generally referred to as a girlfriend, mistress, fiancé, lover or life partner.

Lady Yehenara, otherwise known as Empress Dowager Cixi, was arguably one of the most successful concubines in China's history.

Cixi first entered the court as a concubine to the Xianfeng Emperor, and gave birth to his only surviving son, who would become the Tongzhi Emperor.

Virtues, behavior, character, appearance and body condition would all be taken as selection criteria.