Daily Life of Ancient China

Being a Farmer

Peasant farmers made up the majority of the population in ancient China. They led hard, terrible lives despite being valued for the food they produced for the rest of the Chinese population.

A little village of about 100 families was home to the typical farmer. They labored on modest family farms. Despite having plows and occasionally using animals like dogs and oxen, the majority of the work was done by hand.

Get Free Counseling

Government employment

Every year, farmers were required to work for the government for around one month. They worked on building canals, palaces, and city walls, as well as military construction projects. Additionally, farmers were required to pay taxes by giving the government a portion of their harvest.


Where people lived had an impact on the kind of food they ate. Rice was the predominant crop in the south, while millet, a grain, was the main crop in the north. Over time, rice took over as the primary food source for much of the nation. Additionally, farmers raised chickens, pigs, and goats. Fish was consumed by locals who lived near waterways.

The City Life

The way of life in the city was really different. In the cities, people held a range of jobs, including those of merchants, artisans, public servants, and intellectuals. Ancient China saw the rapid expansion of many cities, some of which reached population heights of hundreds of thousands.

The cities of China were enclosed by strong, compacted-dirt walls. No one was permitted to enter or exit the city after dark each night, and the city gates were locked.

Family Life

The father of the house was in charge of the Chinese family. His wife and kids had to follow his orders at all times. Traditionally, women took care of the household and brought up the kids. The parents chose the marriage partners, and the preferences of the children who were being married frequently had little bearing on the parents’ choice.

The respect for their elders played a significant role in Chinese family life. All children, including adults, were expected to show their parents respect. Even after someone had passed away, there was still respect. The Chinese frequently offered sacrifices and prayers to their ancestors. Confucianism included respect for elders as a component of its religion.


In ancient China, only boys who could afford it went to school. They studied calligraphy to learn how to write. They studied poetry and learned about Confucius’s teachings. Both the aristocrats and those in government needed these abilities.

Women’s Lives

Women’s lives in ancient China were particularly challenging. They were valued considerably less than men. If the family objected, a newborn girl was occasionally left to die outside. Their culture regarded this as acceptable. Women were not allowed to choose their spouses.

Interesting Details about Ancient Chinese Daily Life

Merchants were regarded as the lowest rung of the social ladder. They were not permitted to travel in carriages or wear silk.

Because little feet were deemed desirable, young ladies had their feet cruelly tied to stop them from growing. They frequently had malformed feet as a result, which made walking challenging.

Typically, three generations—grandparents, parents, and kids—lived together in the same home.

In the midst of most houses in the city was an open-air courtyard.

Around the second century, tea started to play a significant role in Chinese culture. It was known as “cha”.