Han Dynasty Culture

religion and Social life (Christina Wray and Jennifer Li)


What religions/belief systems did the Han encourage? Discourage?

The Han dynasty was founded on the teachings of Confucius, a Chinese philosopher. Unlike the previous dynasty, which supported on Legalism, the Han encouraged people to be respectful to one another, but they gave consequences if necessary. In a way, leaders tried to blend Legalism and Confucianism together so that government ruling wouldn't be too harsh, nor too weak.

What was daily life like in the Han dynasty?

Daily life in China was different than it was today. Most of the people living in China were farmers. They lived in houses with thatched roofs, cooked meals with boxlike ovens, and had materials according to their wealth. Wealthy farmers worked with strong oxen to plow the field, whereas the poorer farmers stuck to working with wooden tools. People farmed many different types of crop, such as wheat and millet up in the north, and rice down in the south. People also added ginger, garlic, and onions to their food to make it taste better. Life in the city was different from living in the rural areas; the buildings that people lived in were cramped tightly like a comb. There were also street gangs, whom terrorized other people living in the city. Despite these downsides to city life, there was also a lot of entertainment. Musicians played bells, drums, and wind and string instruments. Jugglers and acrobats also made talented displays performing in the city.

What works of art, literature, or music were important during your dynasty?

A woman named Ban Zhao wrote The Admonitions of the Instructress of Court Ladies. She was a mathematician, astronomer, and a poet.

A historian named Sima Qian wrote the world's first ever complete history of China during Emperor Wudi's reign.