Ancient China's Toilets Built Separately for Men, Women

Xinhua, 17 August 2001

BEIJING, August 17 (Xinhua)—Chinese women and men have used separate toilets for at least 1,800 years, according to archeologists.

Their conclusion has been reached upon the finding of two antique toilet models, which are currently on display at the Agriculture Museum of China in Beijing.

The model toilets, built on top of pigpens, stand about 20 centimeters high and feature windows and doors. Units for both genders have sloping paths leading to the ground. Ridges on the roofs are clear.

One of the two toilets was made of yellow ceramic glaze and the other grey.

The pair of toilets were discovered in 1,800-year-old tombs of the Han Dynasty in Henan province, buried with the dead. Ancient Chinese people believed the dead could use the things buried with them—even toilets.

The finding indicates the high-level civilization of China's Han Dynasty, said Jia Wenzhong, a relics expert with the Agriculture Museum.

In some places in the countryside nowadays, toilets are still built on manure heaps and similar to the two models, said Jia.