Ancient China Culture

The Ancient Chinese Culture is very fascinating and exciting.  The Ancient Chinese had different jobs, religions and ideas.

Some of them are similar to what we have today, but some of them might seem very different!

Work and School

Most of the people that lived in Ancient China worked as farmers.  Most of these people had to make food for everyone that lived in the area and they had to work hard, even harder than farmers do now.

Many of the farmers lived in areas in small villages and each of these villages normally had over 100 people on each of these farms.

The farmers would work day and night to make sure that there would be enough food to feed their families and the families that lived in the village.

Chinese School

The farmers had some equipment, but most of the work was done without equipment.

The Ancient Chinese were able to use their animals such as ox, dogs, cows, horses and other animals to help them do some of the work.  This type of work was very hard.

Government Jobs

Even if you were a farmer in Ancient China, you would have to go and work for the government for at least one month each year.

Those that worked in the government would help with projects around the village such as building walls, fixing buildings and making sure the waterways were perfect.

Sometimes the farmers were required to join the military for a month and help to do whatever was needed there.

You would think that working would be enough, but on top of that, the farmers had to pay the government taxes, and they did this by giving the government some of their crops each season.


School was not like it is today, where everyone has to attend or gets to attend some type of school.  In Ancient China, only people that had money and were boys were able to go to school.

At their school, the boys would learn how to write, how to do calligraphy, poetry, and they would be taught about Confucius and what beliefs he had.

These skills would later help the boys to be able to be part of the government or higher up positions.

Women and Children

Women were not considered to be very important in the Ancient Chinese culture.  They were often treated badly, and they were thought of as way less important than the men.

Even baby girls that were born were sometimes killed or left to die because only baby boys were considered important.

Women were married to whoever the society said they would marry; they had no choice in the matter.

Children were also not considered to be very important.  The boys were sent to school and the girls were forced to work inside the homes or work to take care of the men.

Children spent a lot of time working and had very little time to play.

Playing Cards

Girls that were small would have to have painful things done to them in order to prepare them to marry someday.

One thing that had to be done was that they had to have their feet wrapped so that their feet would not get too big.

This would cause their feet to become deformed and made it where it was almost impossible for them to walk.

This was important because girls with small feet were considered beautiful and girls with big feet were not.

Ancient Chinese Families

In an Ancient Chinese family, the father was the head of the house and all the people that lived in the house were required to do whatever he said.

Women worked and took care of the home and the children while the men worked.

Children were taught to be respectful to those that were older than them, and this was a rule that was very strict.

All children grew up to know that they must respect their mom and dad.

When it was time for a child to get married, the parents decided who and when they would marry, and they had no choice in the decision.

Most families lived together in one house and this usually included the children, parents and grandparents.

They would usually stay in the same household until the children were married and they would move on with their husband or wife.

Respect for the Dead

At a very young age, children were taught to be respectful of dead people.  They sometimes felt that their ancestors were like gods and they would pray to them, for them and even offer sacrifices to them.

Everyday Life

In Ancient China, there were many different types of jobs that people could find throughout the city.

Some of these included being a government official, a merchant, a teacher, artists, craftsmen and more.

There were many different job choices because the cities were usually very large with over a thousand people in each city.

Daily Life in Old China

The city was made of walls that were made of dirt and the walls had gates.  At night, the gates would be closed, and people were not allowed to come or go into the city when it became dark.  This helped to keep the city protected from strangers.

More Facts About Ancient Chinese Culture:

  • Most people that were poor wore clothes that were made out of a material from plants that was called hemp.
  • People that had money had clothing that was made from silk.
  • What clothes that people in Ancient Chinese wore was based on how wealthy or poor that they were.  People that were poor would be punished if they were wearing clothing made of silk.
  • Women were required to wear their hair braided and with hairpins.
  • Girls were not allowed to use hairpins or to curl their hair until they were married.
  • Most men wore their hair in a knot on the top of their heads.
  • Short hair was mostly used for punishment of prisoners.
  • Monks had no hair; they did this to show that their looks were not valuable and that they only were focusing their life on a higher power.
  • People wore jewelry to show how wealthy they were.
  • The Ancient Chinese helped to make instruments such as stringed instruments, flutes and drums.  Music was very important to them.
  • Dancing, acrobats and opera were all a part of the Ancient Chinese culture.

What Did You Learn?

  • What kind of job did most Ancient Chinese men have?  Most of the Ancient Chinese men had jobs as farmers.  They would be required to farm and to make sure all of the people in their village had the food they needed.
  • What happened at least one time a month that the Chinese farmers had to do?  The Chinese farmers were required to work one month a year in the Chinese government.
  • How were women in Ancient China treated?  Women in Ancient China were treated differently than the men.  They were considered to be not very important and they were considered to be lowly and less important than the men.
  • How were babies treated that were girls?  Many times, girl babies were left to die or were killed because only boy babies were considered important.
  • What were the walls of Ancient China like?  The walls of Ancient China were made of dirt and they had gates.  The gates would close at night time to keep people in the city and others out of the city.
  • Who attended school in Ancient China?  Only boys were allowed to attend school in Ancient China.