Society and Culture of The Han Dynasty - Social Class - Other Occupations

Other Occupations

In addition to officials, teachers, merchants, farmers, artisans, and retainers, there were many other occupations. The pig-breeder was not seen as a lowly profession if it was merely utilized by a poor scholar to pay for a formal education. For example, the first chancellor in Han to lack either a military background or a title as marquess was the pig-breeder Gongsun Hong (公孫弘) of Emperor Wu's reign. Physicians who practiced medicine and studied medical classics could not only make a decent income, but were also able to gain an education and become officials. The physician Hua Tuo (d. 208 CE) was nominated for office while another became Prefect of the Gentlemen of the Palace (郎中令). Those who practiced occult arts of Chinese alchemy and mediumship were often employed by the government to conduct religious sacrifices, while on rare occasions—such as with Luan Da (d. 112 BCE)—an occultist might marry a princesses or be enfeoffed as a marquess. While it was socially acceptable for gentry scholars to engage in the occult arts of divination and Chinese astrology, career diviners were of a lower status and earned only a modest income. Other humble occultist professions included sorcery and physiognomy; like merchants, those who practiced sorcery were banned from holding public office. Being a butcher was another lowly occupation, yet there is one case where a butcher became an official during Emperor Gaozu's reign, while Empress He (d. 189 CE) and her brother, the regent He Jin (d. 189 CE), came from a family of butchers. Runners and messengers who worked for the government were also considered to have a lowly status, yet some later became government officials.

Read more about this topic:  Society And Culture Of The Han Dynasty, Social Class

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Famous quotes containing the word occupations:

    Whatever events in progress shall disgust men with cities, and infuse into them the passion for country life, and country pleasures, will render a service to the whole face of this continent, and will further the most poetic of all the occupations of real life, the bringing out by art the native but hidden graces of the landscape.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    A few ideas seem to be agreed upon. Help none but those who help themselves. Educate only at schools which provide in some form for industrial education. These two points should be insisted upon. Let the normal instruction be that men must earn their own living, and that by the labor of their hands as far as may be. This is the gospel of salvation for the colored man. Let the labor not be servile, but in manly occupations like that of the carpenter, the farmer, and the blacksmith.
    Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893)