Ancient Chinese Dynasty

The Han Dynasty

A lot of new things were introduced in the Han Dynasty.

One of the most important was the trade that had begun with ancient Rome via the 'silk road'. There was a demand in the Roman Empire for Chinese silk. That brought new wealth into China, along with gold, silver, and valuable gems.

Another was the invention of paper. Paper changed everything! Scroll painting began. Things began to be written down. So much was lost during the book burnings ordered by Emperor Qin. When the Han took over, people tried to remember and write down the literature and the 'Teachings of Confucius'.

Education was important in Han times. Public school was started. It was only for boys, but it was free. Schools were started in every province. The Grand School was the big one in the capital city.

The rich people did't send their kids to public school. Most were taught at home, or in small groups. The rich imitated the behaviour and clothing worn in the imperial palace. The wore silk robes with belts.

Most people in Han times were peasant farmers.

In the cities, the poor lived in crowded tenements. They had little food. Gangs roamed the streets in the cities. They were often at war, which made walking in the city rather dangerous.

In the countryside, the poor were much better off.