Rare photographs from the early 1920’s of eunuchs from the late Imperial Court in Beijing
Chinese eunuchs (太監, Taijian) were not only castrated, they were fully emasculated. The penis as well as the testicles were removed - cut off with a knife at the same time. The ‘victim’ would be held down by several men while another did the procedure. This was all done with no anesthesia, and it would take months to heal before one could even walk again. However most of the time they just died of blood loss, infection or the extreme pain. The boys “package” was then wrapped up and placed in a case which was then placed on a roof beam in the boy’s house. When he died, his goods would then be buried with him.
At the end of the Ming Dynasty, there were about 70.000 eunuchs employed by the emperor, with some serving inside the Imperial palace.