Ancient China Villages

Ancient China villages were important to families and the country. Most ancient China villages were occupied by farmers.

Farmers were the life blood of the country. The more food produced by farmers helped ancient China society grow rapidly.
Ancient China villages were all very similar in layout and purpose.

Layout of ancient China villages

Villages in ancient China had a similar layout. There were several communal items necessary for all ancient China villages.

The communal features in a village included a well, an area for washing clothes and an area for preparing millet or rice.

There was not any type of sanitation within ancient China villages. Residents went to the bathroom in the fields. Human waste was the main fertilizers used in ancient China farming.

Villages were also constructed around fields or agricultural space. The fields acted like a garden in an ancient China house. The garden was the center piece.
Lijiang Old Town
Agricultural fields were the garden in ancient China villages. Homes were built around the perimeter of the fields.

Houses in ancient China villages

Ancient China houses in rural villages were constructed of compacted dirt, mud bricks and wood. Most homes were two large rooms.

The rooms were large enough to be partitioned off with portable screens for privacy. Kitchens were located near or in the garden area.
The front door or gate of ancient China house always faced south. There were no bathrooms in rural ancient China homes.

Village size

Ancient China villages varied in size but were generally small. Small villages may contain 50 to 100 families or around 500 residents.

Larger villages contained up to 200 families with almost 1,000 residents. Families in ancient China villages were often all related or from the same clan as one another.

Generations of family members lived in ancient China houses. It was not uncommon for three generations of family members to live in the same house. Homes contained parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Ancient China villages were generally self-sufficient. There would be enough rice or millet grown to feed to community.

In the southern portion of the country fishing also provided food. Other meat products like pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese were raised in ancient China villages.

Hemp was grown in ancient China villages to make clothes. Hemp was durable but not very comfortable on the skin. Most villagers were poor and wore clothes that were black or blue.


Loyalty was an important factor in ancient China villages. Most residents in an ancient China village were born, raised, married, and died in the same village. Residents in ancient China villages felt a stronger connection with the village than with the country.

If the agricultural land was owned by a noble person, then the villagers protected the noble person at times of war.

Important facts about ancient China villages

  • Ancient China villages were built around the perimeter of agricultural fields.
  • Small villages were composed of 50 families or 500 people. Larger villages had up to 100 families and 1,000 people.
  • Ancient China villages had a communal well, communal washing area and communal area to prepare grown crops like millet and rice.
  • Houses in ancient China villages contained up to three generations of family.
  • Ancient China villages were mainly self-sufficient.
  • Most ancient China villages had residents from the same clan or extended family.
  • Residents in an ancient China village had a strong connection to the village.
  • Homes in ancient China villages were made of dirt, mud bricks and wood with thatched roofs.


1. How many families lived in a small ancient China village?


2. What communal features did an ancient China village contain?

Well, clothes washing area and an area to prepare grown crops

3. How many generations lived in an ancient China house?

Up to three

4. What were ancient China villages constructed around?

Agricultural fields