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Transportation in Ancient China: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Kathleen Hogan
Getting around ancient China was no easy task. They surely did not have it as easy as we have it today. This lesson will take you on a journey on what it was like to get around China over 2,000 years ago.

Ancient Chinese Transportation

The modern conveniences we know of today, such as cars with heat and air conditioning, highways, paved streets, and buses, was not what the ancient Chinese dealt with. The average summer temperatures in China are around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average winter temperatures are -4 degrees Fahrenheit. Can you imagine having to travel in those conditions? Most people in ancient China got around by walking or by bicycle. Those with more money could use animal carts.

Animal Carts

Animal carts are described as wooden carts carried by animals. The wooden carts usually had a canopy or top that protected the passengers. The height of the canopy determined the beauty of the cart. The animal carts that didn't have canopies were known to criminals or warriors. The first animal carts were actually standing room only. Imagine that, standing to get places! Once seats were added to the carts, the seats were assigned to certain people. The seat on the left was for important people, the middle seat was the driver's, and the seat on the right was for the driver's attendant.

There were two common animal carts in ancient China: ox carts and horse carriages. The ox cart was pulled by none other than an ox! Ox carts mostly transported freight, but they were occasionally used to transport people.

Animal Cart
Carriage

Horse carriages were a second type of animal cart that was used in ancient China. These were used by the military to transport themselves and supplies. Horse drawn carriages were also used by people of nobility. People of nobility are those people such as lords, aristocrats, and noblemen/women.

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