Ancient China's Culture And Customs

2399 words - 10 pages

Ancient China was a time filled with many unique customs and had a most fascinating culture. Some of the people lived like people in modern China, but some people did not. Customs have changed some but not very much. The people of China lead very interesting and difficult lifestyles.Most Chinese people lived in country villages. Peasants going to town to sell their goods at market looked in awe at the town houses with their tiled roofs, and the busy teahouses (Williams, B., 1996, pg.27). For the people who lived in the countryside, their lives were ruled by family, the seasons, and the crops. In some areas the sound of a drum called the workers together and beat out a work rhythm. The d ...view middle of the document...

, 1996, pg.28). Horses and oxen were rare and expensive, so people often pulled the plows. Even a good harvest barely supplied basic needs (Millar, H., 1996, pg.19).Most people of China were peasant farmers. Farmers were at the mercy of the weather because draught could plunge thousands into starvation (Williams, B., 1996, pg.10).The family held Chines society together. Families in China usually included many generations living together?often under the same roof. Children were taught to respect their elders (Williams, B., 1996, pg.20).Most farming villages had a simple, communal burial ground, where graves of ancestors were set out in neat rows. The Chinese honored their ancestors with many rituals and ceremonies (Williams, B., 1996, pg.11).The Chinese took baths often. Common people paid a small fee to use a public bathhouse, while the rich had private bathrooms. They used hot water, which was sold on the streets. They were much more sanitary then other ancient civilizations. They also used toilet paper, which was not common in other cultures (Williams, B., 1996, pg.29).In the beginning of the Shang Dynasty they used the shells of snails for money. But as the dynasty progressed, they started using bronze coins know as Knife money ( Early Chinese coins had holes drilled in them so that they could be hung on strings. Before round or oval shaped coins came into use, the Chinese used coins shaped as knives or spades (Williams, B., 1996, pg.17).Men were seen as superior to women. Parents believed they would become gods after they died if they had a son. They rejoiced when a son was born, but might kill a newborn female (Williams, B., 1996, pg. 21).Upper-class women followed the painful custom of foot binding. Cloth strips were wrapped around a girl's feet to bend her toes all the way under the arches, making her foot appear tiny. Over time, binding deformed the feet, and made it very difficult to walk. Small feet were considered delicate and feminine, and were thought to make a woman more eligible for marriage (Williams, B., 1996, pg. 21). Farm girls escaped the torture of foot binding because they were needed in the fields. The custom of foot binding died out in the early 1900s (Kids discover, April 1997, pg.6).Ancient Chinese society was like a stepladder. On the top were the royal family and emperor. Just below were the civil servants. Then were peasants and craft people. Peasants were poor, but they were depended on to feed China. Next down were the merchants. Even thought they were rich, they made their money off others. On the very bottom were entertainers, soldiers, and servants. People on the bottom of the social ladder had a very slim chance to rise up (Kids discover, April 1997, pg.4).One way you could tell social levels in Ancient China was clothing. Rich wore silk, and peasants would commonly wear a loose robe from a plant fiber called hemp ( fashions in men ...


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