Qing Dynasty Social Structure
Emperor and His Advisors
The highest social ranking during the era of the Qing Dynasty was the emperor. Emperors could have multiple wives and they typically spent more time with their favorite ones. They also had a group of advisors with whom they typically discussed important issues and decisions.
The advisors were next in line in the Qing social structure. This particular class was superior to nobles, soldiers, and officials. They could also assume the emperor role in his absence. But being so close to the top of the command chain also led to abuses and plots to take down the emperor.
Generals, Nobles, and Workers
The rest of the population was divided by their role in the society. Many parents tried to get their children the best education so they could become a scholar official, one of the most prosperous social rankings at that time. They were still lower in rank than nobles and generals, but it was the most accessible social status for an average citizen.
Artists and Peasants
Peasants were at the bottom of the hierarchy. All other ranks were above them and this social ranking also had the largest number of members. They would often become the subject of abuse and violence of the government officials and soldiers.
Artists were more fortunate as they were highly respected by society during the Qing Dynasty. Nobles would often be seen enjoying the company of artists or pay for their services.
Slaves and Servitude
The common trait of all these social classes was servitude. Each social rank would have to serve and respect the ones above it with the emperor at the top of the chain. Rich families often had slaves and the wealthiest ones had slaves who in turn had their own slaves. During that time, having slaves was seen as an important avenue for social advancement.