Architecture: The Summer Palace is the grandest building of the Qing emperors. It was a sign of wealth and taste of the Manchu rulers. The hills, trees, temples and walkways contributed to a sense of harmony in the way they were placed to make a single impression of completeness.
Fashion: Clothes made of cheap materials like sheepskin were worn by servants, actors and labourers. The women's dress code was correlating with the rank of their husbands. The imperial family wore court robes with dragon medallions. Civil and military officials wore a robe with a certain bird or animal badge. The robes were made out of silks, satins, fine wool and furs, with jewels.
Hair: In 1644 Shunzhi Emperor first conquered China and established Qing rule in China. To show their obedience to the new ruler, Shunzhi made all Chinese men wear their hair in the Manchu style. The style was a shaved front and a long braid at the back which was called a ‘queue’. People who did not change to his hairstyle would be hunted down and killed, they were like a bandit.
Foot Binding: Foot binding was an accepted and encouraged practice in the Qing Dynasty. Both women and men saw it as a sign of beauty. Foot binding began around the age of five and stopped after 10 years. Mothers or female relatives would wrap tight cloth strips around the girls small feet, for the rest of the ten years the girls wore the strips all day and all night.
Women: Women were not seen as equals of men, they always held much lower positions than men did. They could not inherit property and had to completely rely on their fathers or husbands for everything. A ‘virtuous’ woman was expected to be loyal and obedient to her father or husband. They cooked, cleaned and raised children. Daughters were not worth much to their families, and so girls were often killed at birth.
Extended Families: Normally, Chinese families all lived under the one roof. Confucian belief said that it was best for at least five generations to live together. One house typically included the head of the house (male), his wife, his sons and their wives and children and any unmarried daughters.
Confucius: China’s main belief system during the Qing Dynasty was Confucianism. Confucius (as shown above) lived from 551 to 479 BC in eastern China. He was a teacher and a philosopher who argued that people should live ‘virtuous lives’. He believed that everyone should respect their elders and rulers and live up to their assigned roles.