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Life in Ancient China. 6 th Grade Standards Review Part II Standards 6.6.3 & 6.6.4 Mrs. Rand University Preparatory School. Chinese Society: Aristocrats. Landowning Aristocrats Aristocratic families owned large estates in early China

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life in ancient china

Life in Ancient China

6th Grade Standards Review Part II

Standards 6.6.3 & 6.6.4

Mrs. Rand

University Preparatory School

chinese society aristocrats
Chinese Society: Aristocrats
  • Landowning Aristocrats
    • Aristocratic families owned large estates in early China
    • They lived in large houses with tile roofs, courtyards, and gardens.
    • Fine furniture and silk hangings filled their rooms, and their houses were surrounded by walls to keep out bandits.
    • Each aristocrat divided his land among his sons.
    • As a result, sons and grandsons owned much less property than their fathers and grandfathers owned.

chinese society farmers
Chinese Society: Farmers
  • Aristocrats relied on farmers to grow the crops that made the aristocrats rich.
  • About 9 out of 10 people in China were farmers.
  • They lived in simple houses inside village walls.
  • Farmers in northern China grew wheat and a grain called millet.
  • Farmers in southern China (where the climate was warmer and wetter) were able to grow rice.

chinese society farmers1
Chinese Society: Farmers
  • Most farmers owned a small piece of land where they grew food for their family
  • A typical family ate fish, turnips, beans, wheat or rice, and millet.
  • Farmers had to pay taxes and work one month each year building roads and helping on other big government projects.
  • In wartime, the farmers also served as soldiers.
chinese society merchants
Chinese Society: Merchants
  • In Chinese society, farmers ranked above merchants.
  • The merchant social class included:
    • Shop keepers
    • Traders
    • Bankers

Merchants lived in town and provided goods and services to the landowners.

  • Even though merchants became quite rich, they were still looked down on by by landowners and farmers.

activity one illustrations of daily life in ancient china
Directions: In your Interactive Notebook, draw colorful illustrations to show what life was like for Aristocrats, Farmers, and Merchants in Ancient China. Label each drawing with the headings “Landed Aristocrats”“Farmers” and “Merchants”.

Use the descriptions in the notes in slides 2-5 to help you decide what items to include in your three pictures.

Activity One: Illustrations of daily life in ancient china
chinese thinkers

Chinese Thinkers

Three Chinese philosophies—Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism—grew out of a need for order during the Zhou Dynasty.

confucianism overview
Confucianism: Overview
  • Founder: Confucius
  • Main Ideas: People should put the needs of their family and community first.
  • Influence on Modern Life: Many Chinese today accept his idea of duty to family. His ideas helped open up government jobs to people with talent.
key points confucianism
Key Points: Confucianism
  • Confucius was China’s first great thinker and teacher.
  • He wanted to end the problems in China and bring peace to society.
  • Confucius believed that people needed to have a sense of duty.

key points confucianism1
Key Points: Confucianism
  • Duty meant that a person must put the needs of family and the community before his or her own personal needs.
  • Confucius believed that if each person did his or her duty, society as a whole would do well.

daoism overview
Daoism: Overview
  • Founder: Laozi
  • Main Ideas: People should give up worldly desires in favor of nature and the Dao, or the “way”.
  • Influence on Modern Life: Daoism teaches the importance of nature and encourages people to treat nature with respect and reverence.
key points daoism
Key Points: Daoism
  • Philosophy that promotes peaceful society
  • Based on the teachings of the “Old Master” Laozi (LOWD ZOO)
  • Laozi lived around the same time as Confucius

key points daoism1
Key Points: Daoism
  • The ideas of Daoism were written in the Dao De Jing (the Way of the Dao).
  • Daoism tells people how to behave.
  • Daoists believe that people should give up worldly desires.
  • Instead they should turn to nature and the Dao – a force that guides all things.

confucianism vs daoism
Confucianism vs. Daoism



Daoism teaches that you should give up concerns about the world.

People should instead seek inner peace and live in harmony with nature.

  • Confucius taught that hard work would improve the world; respecting relationships would create and maintain peaceful society.
legalism overview
Legalism: Overview
  • Founder: Hanfeizi
  • Main Ideas: Society needs a system of harsh laws and strict punishment to maintain order.
  • Influence on Modern Life: Legalists developed laws that became an important part of Chinese history.
legalism the school of law
Legalism: the “School of Law”
  • Unlike Confucianism and Daoism, this philosophy taught that humans were naturally evil.
  • The founder of Legalism, Hanfeizi, taught that government needed to issue harsh laws and stiff punishments to force people to do their duty to society.
  • Followers of of Legalism believed that a strong ruler was needed to maintain order in society.
  • Many aristocrats liked Legalism. Why???
    • It favored force and power
    • It didn’t require rulers to show kindness or understanding
    • Its ideas led to cruel laws and punishments for Chinese farmers.
activity two
  • In your Interactive Notebook (on the same page as your illustrations), answer the following question.

“Which of these philosophies (Confucianism, Daoism, or Legalism) do YOU think would be the most popular in the world today? Explain your answer.

  • Write down the prompt and answer using complete sentences.