Kama Sutra

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Anonymous artist from Northern India, around 1900. A king in the company of his multiple wives or harem of courtesans.

The question of why a king is allowed multiple wives has been discussed by numerous scholars, but the prevailing (and most pragmatic) explanation is simply that a king had to father the maximum possible number of male heirs during his reign. As a result, if a wife could not bear a male heir, then the king had full right to not only bring a new woman into court, but also to demand that his old wife take care of her. The Kama Sutra suggests that polygamy was freely practiced in the court, and even encourages the wives to make love to each other in the absence of the king.