13. The artisans were a class above merchants, though usually poorer
The artisans were considered to be socially above the merchants in Chinese society, though they typically were paid for commissioned works and made less money than all classes other than the peasants. Artisans made products such as furniture and outbuildings, working as carpenters and woodworkers. They also created pottery, cooking pots, products from bamboo, products from iron, products from paper, pens for calligraphers, and essentially were the industrial base for the Chinese people. Though they were selling their services, it was for the purpose of benefits being realized by their customers rather than themselves, which elevated them above the merchant class in the eyes of Chinese society.
As with the other classes, the general rule and way of life was that the son of a carpenter became a carpenter, the son of a painter learned to paint, and the son of a potter learned the art of pottery from childhood, to practice it as an adult. Artisans too were subject to conscription, but not as readily as peasants and merchants, since there were fewer of them than of the former and the services they provided were beneficial and often essential to the rest of the community. Artisans also made the weapons which armed the professional warriors and in times of warfare the peasant army, often under supervision of the civil servants who held sway in their community.