Primary Source #2 – The House Instructions of Mr. Yan

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Below is a link to a document from 6th century China. It’s sort of similar to a journal entry but also similar to a letter in other ways.

First read the introduction then the first two excerpts. Use the questions after each section as a chance to think through this one Big Question: How did men, women, and children relate to each other in China during the 500’s AD? 


The House Instructions of Mr. Yan

[I have paper copies of the document on my desk which you can use if you’d like to underline or highlight or write notes.]

(You don’t actually have to answer the questions following each excerpt but they might be helpful.)

As you read and consider use the Library of Congress Primary Source Analysis Tool, which we used yesterday to record your observations, reflections (inferences), and questions. In the Further Investigation section at the bottom answer the Big Question above.When you’ve finished if you have extra time try to add more detail or questions to any or all of the sections. You can also attempt to look up more information about 6th century China, house instructions, or any other related topic. Write what you find out in the Further Investigation section below you answer to the Big Question.

Use the email link at the bottom of the form to send me a copy of your analysis at  


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