Arnold Genthe originally called this photo "Slave Girl in Holiday Attire."
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jackson & Washington Streets were lined with cribs, makeshift twelve-by-fifteen-foot stalls where the favors of Chinese slave girls could be purchased. The cribs were generally divided into two rooms by a curtain; through the inset barred window in the narrow door, the girls enticed men by displaying their upper bodies and crying: China girl nice! You come inside, please? Two bittee lookee, flo bittee feelee, six bittee doee! Your father, he just go out! (In certain Chinese cultures it was considered an honor to fornicate with a woman immediately after one's father had done so.)
Men who wanted to actually buy a Chinese slave girl had to attend auctions held periodically at secret locations. There the girls were stripped, inspected, and examined like cattle.
Example of a contract for a concubine in the late 19th/eraly 20th centuries
Contributors to this page include:
Library of Congress - Publisher or Photographer
Genthe,Arnold - Photographer-Artist
Weirde,Dr. - Writer