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A yiji (Chinese: 艺妓) was a high-class courtesan in ancient China. Yiji were rarely involved in direct sex trade but rather performed music and arts such as poetry to please dignitaries and intellectuals.
Evolution of Yiji
Before the Ming Dynasty, yiji were performers who also offered spiritual interaction to their clients. Sexual activity between them and their clients was rare and when it existed, it was usually based on affectionate affairs rather than money.
After the Ming Dynasty, merchants started to patronize yiji and compensated sex became more common. Many lived in houses called flower houses and men went there to have company. Although sexual activity was not always expected, they often engaged in it to earn more money.
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