During the Tang Dynasty most people in China were peasant farmers, providing most of the food for the population of the people living in that nation. The lives that they lead were extremely difficult consisting of tough times that consisted of living in villages that contained approximately 100 families. These family farms were quite small, and they did have access to plows and also used animals like oxen to perform the work. However, most of the difficult physical labor was performed by hand, including work done by children (Ancient China: Daily Life.). Because of this, the lives of China’s youth were very difficult for the most part, although in the cities, the children had an easier time.. This paper will discuss the lives of young people in ancient China, specifically the Tang Dynasty.
The leadership of China was known as the Tang Dynasty around 600 CE, during which various factions in China pulled together as a united country. During this time, people were happy because wars were essentially over. This Dynasty was well known because it encouraged literature, music, dancing, painting, and art, and therefore was extremely advantageous for citizens, including the youth (Tang Dynasty.) Young people in the cities during this period were able to learn trades that involved gold, copper, bronze, and silver. Children were able to study pottery that was painted with extremely ornate scenes portraying daily life as well as bridges and carriages as well as signs of the zodiac. However, under the leadership of the Tang Dynasty, only boys were able to attend school. They were not forced to go, but since school was free it was strongly encouraged. On the other hand, girls were taught at home, and only were free to leave home when they got married and went to live with the family of their husbands.
There were significant differences between the lives of children of rich families as opposed to those of peasant farmers during the Tang Dynasty. In the cities, there was a great deal of wealth, and on the streets there were a wide range of shops containing jewelry, cakes, unique foods, and other interesting features. Outside, there were often street acrobats and storytellers as well as street bazaars, activity that occurred on every block (Tang Dynasty.) The elites were also free to attend many entertainment events, such as concerts, art performances, and other entertainment. This contrasted with the young people growing up in the country where as described, life was very simple and difficult.
During the Tang Dynasty, children lived with their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (Tillotson.) Frequently, generations of a family lived within the same residence. Even after they were grown, the boys in China remained with their families. Marriages were arranged but involved much careful consideration. The daughters would marry men who were chosen by their fathers, and they were taught to be subservient to the males in their families, both their families of origin and their in-laws. Boys were celebrated to a much greater extent than girls, a phenomenon that has lasted into modern China as well. Women were certainly not equal to men. Teachings of Confucius involved the message that girls were not able to have their own hopes and ambitions but rather had to focus on their activities in the home. Those roles included preparing food, making clothing, and taking care of younger children. Girls also were able to do domestic chores like sewing, weaving, and spinning. The boys, rather, were raised to be both educated and destined to assume positions in the government. The roles of the children of the Tang Dynasty mimicked those of the adults in their lives: males were dominant, and females were expected to be dependent and subservient.
- “Ancient China: Daily Life .” 2017. History: China. Web. 9 April 2017.
- “Tang Dynasty.” n.d. China.org. Web. 9 April 2017.
- Tillotson, Catherine and Christin Solon. Ancient Chinese: Family Life.” 2017. Prezi.com. Web. 9 April 2017.