Emperors: The Emperors held a very important status within the society. They had the most honored position. They would create the laws and enforce them. They were said to have the Mandate of Heaven. They were appointed by god to rule the society. However, if things started going wrong in the society for example, natural disasters, it was believed they lost the Mandate of Heaven and they could be overthrown and a new royal family would take over.
Aristocrats: Aristocrats held high importance as well. They were usually military allies of the Shang and Zhou rulers. The aristocrats had extensive land and worked as military administrators. The aristocrats lived a very comfortable lifestyle.
Free Artisans and Craftsmen: Both artisans and craftsmen were very important to the civilization. Some worked exclusively for privileged classes. These people lived comfortably. They lived in modest but very sturdy houses that were expensive to build. Jewelers, jade workers, embroiders, and manufacturers of textile all benefited socially because of their importance to the ruling elites.
Peasants: Peasants held an important role as laborers in the Huang He civilization. They did not own land but provided agricultural, military, and labor services in exchange for plots to cultivate, security, and a portion of the harvest. Peasants lived in very small and poorly built houses.
Slaves: Slaves were mainly enemies of war. They performed hard labor such as clearing the fields or building city walls. During the Shang Dynasty many slaves became victims of sacrificed during funerary, religious, and other rituals.
NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art
NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art
This ancient work is of the meeting between Zhou Emperor Wen and Fisherman Lü Shang. Disregarding the appearance of Lü Shang, you may notice the treatment given to Emperor Wen. Two of the three attendants shown in this painting are fanning and shading the Emperor. They are also both dressed in less regal and fantastic wear, signifying a class difference between the Emperor and his attendents. This class difference may explain their actions toward the Emperor. Although this is dramatic, it signifies the difference in treatment between those of higher class and those of lower class. Assuming the king is high class, this is the most obvious example of treatment toward higher class by lower class. The background with the "sumptuous gold leaves covering the ground and sky," and the "scallop edged descending mists" all signify the holiness given to the Emperor's appearance, further justifying the fanning and the shading.

This artifact was chosen to be the example for the Class Systems section of the Huang He river valley civilization, because I feel that it clearly emphasizes on how the high class people are treated when compared to those of a lower class. Such an obvious act toward a King by attendants should act as a great example for such a section in a museum. This artifact was also chosen because it can easily convey those previous points to a reader/observer.