The Mongols provided artisans with a higher status than was the case in many societies.

Traditional Chinese officials, for example, had prized the goods made by craftsmen but accorded the craftsmen themselves a relatively low social status. The Mongols altered this perception of craftsmen and offered them special concessions and privileges [also see The Mongols in China: Life for Artisans under Mongol Rule].

In addition, the Mongols in China established a tremendous array of government offices to supervise the production of craft articles. About one half of the 80 agencies in the Ministry of Works during the Mongol era dealt with the production and collection of textiles. There were also offices for bronzes, and offices of gold and silver utensils.

© 2004 Asia for Educators, Columbia University
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