Today we are touring Bada Hutong, an area a half mile square that is just south of Tiananmen Square and was the Chinese capital’s red-light district from the time of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) until the communists took over in 1949. In its heyday, this warren of lanes housed more than 300 brothels and 700 opium dens.
There were whorehouses to cater for every taste and budget. In the fanciest, fresh-faced girls sang songs, poured tea and entertained men in much the way geishas do in Japan. These women’s bodies were not bought outright; instead, would-be suitors wooed them with gifts over time. For those leaving such places unsated, however, there were also spots where heavily perfumed and thickly made-up street-walkers openly sold sex.
Via PunterPress, Gracie Passette