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10 Inventions From China's Han Dynasty That Changed the World

10 Inventions From China's Han Dynasty That Changed the World

When a commoner named Liu Bang became the first emperor of the Han Dynasty in 206 B.C., it was the start of a period of more than 400 years that was marked by advances in everything from record-keeping to agriculture to health care.

“There were major inventions and developments in science and technology,” Robin D.S. Yates, the James McGill Professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University in Montreal, explains. “As with all inventions, some of these only came into their own in later, sometimes much later times.”

Here are a few of the biggest breakthroughs of the Han Dynasty.

The Invention of Paper

The earliest scrap of paper still in existence, a crude material made mostly from hemp fiber found in a tomb in China in 1957, dates back to sometime between 140 and 87 B.C. But Cai Lun, a eunuch in the Han court in 105 A.D., is credited as the inventor of the first really high-quality writing paper, which he fashioned by crushing and combining tree bark, hemp, linen rags, and scraps from fishing nets and then treating the mixture with lye to break it down into finer fibers, according to Li Shi’s book The History of Science and Technology in the Qin and Han Dynasty.

“Administrative documents continued to be written on boards of wood and slips of bamboo for several centuries—they preserved better, perhaps,” Yates explains. But after the collapse of the dynasty, Cai Lun’s improved paper came into its own.

The Suspension Bridge

According to Robert Temple’s highly-regarded history of Chinese inventions, The Genius of China, the Han Dynasty saw the development of the suspension bridge, a flat roadway suspended from cables, which probably evolved from simple rope bridges developed to span small gorges. But by 90 A.D., Han engineers were building more sophisticated structures with wooden planks.

Deep Drilling

Han Dynasty salt miners in the First Century B.C. were the first to build derricks and use cast iron drill bits to dig holes as deep as 4,800 feet into the Earth in search of brine, which they would extract from below with tubes, according to Temple’s book. The technique they developed was the forerunner of modern oil and gas exploration.

The Wheelbarrow

The wheelbarrow was developed in China perhaps as early as 100 B.C, according to this 1994 article by M.J.T. Lewis in the journal Technology and Culture.

The Seismograph

Zhang Heng, an early Chinese scientist, explored fields ranging from astronomy to clock-making. But he’s probably best known for creating the first device for detecting distant earthquakes, which he introduced to the Han court in 132 A.D. Its design was simple—an urn equipped with a pendulum.

When it picked up a vibration, it dropped a ball from the mouth of a metal dragon into a metal frog, creating a loud clang. The first time that happened, nobody in the court reportedly felt anything, but a few days later, a messenger from a village 400 miles away arrived to inform the emperor that an earthquake had occurred there.

The Blast Furnace

Right around the beginning of the Han Dynasty in the early 200s B.C., Chinese metallurgists built the first blast furnaces, which pumped a blast of air into a heated batch of iron ore to produce cast iron, according to Chinese technology historian Donald B. Wagner.

The Adjustable Wrench

According to Temple, the First Century B.C. Chinese used a tool somewhat similar to the one used by plumbers and tinkerers, in which a sliding caliper gauge allowed the pieces to be adjusted. (Modern wrenches have a worm screw, a different mechanism, but the function is the same.) Initially, the devices seem to have been used for measuring, rather than loosening and tightening lug nuts or pipes.

The Moldboard Plow

According to Robert Greenburger’s book The Technology of Ancient China, the Chinese were using iron plows to till farm fields as far back as the 6th Century B.C. But a couple of hundred years later, some ingenious Han inventor came up with the kuan, also known as the moldboard plow. The tool had a central piece that ended in a sharp point, and wings to push the soil away and reduce the friction. The new plow helped the Chinese practice contour plowing, in which they followed the shapes of the hills, to reduce soil erosion.

The Stirrup

Ancient horsemen had to let their legs dangle as they rode, though the Romans rigged a hand-hold on saddles to help them stay on the horse when things got rough. A Han Dynasty inventor made things a lot easier by making cast iron or bronze devices that a rider could slip his foot into, according to Temple. It was such a revolutionary invention that it spread over the next several centuries across Asia to Europe, where it made it possible for medieval knights to ride their steeds in heavy armor without tumbling off.

The Rudder

The Chinese developed the device for steering a ship in the First Century A.D., according to Chinese technology historian Yongxiang Lu.

The rudder enabled ships to steer without using oars, making it a lot easier to navigate. According to Temple’s book. the invention took about millennium to reach the west, where it helped Christopher Columbus and other explorers navigate the ocean.


Achievements of the Han Dynasty

The achievements of the Han dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE), often regarded by scholars and the ancient Chinese themselves as the golden era of Chinese culture, would have lasting effects on all who followed, particularly in the areas of government, law, philosophy, history, and art. The thirst for new knowledge, ambitious experimentation, and unstinting intellectual enquiry are hallmarks of Han culture, and they helped, amongst other achievements, to develop the Silk Road trade network, invent new materials such as paper and glazed pottery, formulate history writing, and greatly improve agricultural tools, techniques, and yields.

The Silk Road

The Han Dynasty saw the first official trade with western cultures from around 130 BCE. Many types of goods from foodstuffs to manufactured luxuries were traded, and none were more typical of ancient China than silk. As a result of this commodity, the trade routes became known as the Silk Road or Sichou Zhi Lu. The 'road' was actually an entire network of overland camel caravan routes connecting China to the Middle East and hence is now often referred to as the Silk Routes by historians. Goods were imported and exported via middlemen as no single trader ever travelled the length of the routes. Eventually, the network would spread not only to neighbouring states such as the Korean kingdoms and Japan but also to the great empires of India, Persia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Besides physical goods, one of the major consequences of the Silk Road was the exchange of ideas between cultures carried not only by traders but also diplomats, scholars, and monks who travelled the routes across Asia. Languages (especially the written word), religions (notably Buddhism), foodstuffs, technology, and artistic ideas were spread so that cultures across Asia and Europe helped each other to develop.

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Philosophy & Education

Confucianism was officially adopted as the state ideology of the Han dynasty but, in practice, principles of Legalism were followed too, which created a philosophical blend aimed at ensuring the welfare of all based on strong legal principles. Taoism was another influential philosophy in politics and a hallmark of the thinking of the period is one of open enquiry into any ideology which could adequately explain humanity's position in the cosmos and forge a link between government, religion, and cosmology. Theories involving numbers were particularly popular with intellectuals who searched for an all-embracing ideology to explain all facets of the human condition.

One tangible consequence of the promotion of Confucianism and other philosophies by the state was the building of schools and colleges to promote literacy so that the classic texts of Chinese thought might be studied. An Imperial Academy was established in 124 BCE for scholars to study in depth the Confucian and Taoist Classics. By the end of the Han period, the Academy was training an impressive 30,000 students each year. In general, the state held the view that education was a mark of a civilised society, although the expense of sending young people to school severely limited access to education in practice. Society remained highly stratified but, at least for those who had the means to an education, there was now the possibility of access to the state bureaucracy.

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In addition to the promotion of philosophy, the destruction of many books on all manner of topics by the Qin emperor Shi Huangti (259-210 BCE) necessitated a massive rewriting project to preserve from memory the accumulated knowledge within those lost works. Inevitably perhaps, while reformulating the past, Han writers were selective according to their own ideas and those of their patrons but, so too, they very often put on record contemporary thought so that the Han dynasty is one of the best-documented periods of Chinese history.

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Literature

The earliest surviving literature from ancient China dates to the Han period, although the possibility that earlier writings were deliberately destroyed or have simply been lost over time is not to be discounted. The most famous Han work is undoubtedly the Shiji (Historical Records or Records of the Grand Historian) by Sima Qian (135 - 86 BCE) who is often cited as China's first historian. Qian was actually the court's Grand Astrologer, but as this also meant he had to compile records of past omens and create guides for future imperial decisions, he was, in effect, a historian. The Shiji draws on both oral and written records, including those in the imperial archives, and was begun by Qian's father Sima Tan. The Shiji goes much further than recording astrological phenomena and documents the imperial dynasties in sequence, beginning with early legendary emperors and ending in Qian's own time. Thus, the 130 chapters cover two and a half millennia of history. With a new systematic approach and including descriptions of technological and cultural developments as well as biographies of non-royal famous figures and foreign peoples, the work would hugely influence the official Chinese histories that followed in subsequent dynasties.

Another important Han work and another first is the Canon of Medicine credited to the Yellow Emperor, which is a record of medicine in Han China. The writer Ban Gu (32-92 CE), besides writing his famous history Hanshu (History of the Western Han Dynasty), created a new genre, rhapsody or fu, most famously seen in his Rhapsody on the Two Capitals. Involving dynamic dialogues between two characters, his works are valuable records of local customs and events. By the 1st century CE, the surge in Han literature meant that the imperial library boasted some 600 titles which included works of philosophy, military treatises, calendars, and works of science.

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The stability provided by the Han government and consequent accumulation of wealth by its more fortunate citizens resulted in a flourishing of the arts. Wealthy individuals became both patrons and consumers of fine art works. This demand led to innovations and experimentation in art, notably the first glazed pottery and figure painting. The latter was the first Chinese attempts at realistic portraiture of ordinary people. Capturing natural landscapes became another preoccupation of Han artists. Art was previously concerned with religion and ceremonies but now came to focus on people and everyday life activities such as hunting and farming. Tomb paintings, especially, sought to pick out the individual facial characteristics of people and depict narrative scenes.

Paper

One invention which greatly helped the spread of literature and literacy was the invention of refined paper in 105 CE. The discovery, using pressed plant fibres which were then dried in sheets, was credited to one Cai Lun, the director of the Imperial Workshops at Luoyang. Heavy bamboo or wooden strips and expensive silk had long been used as a surface for writing but, after centuries of endeavour, a lighter and cheaper alternative had finally been found in the form of paper scrolls. The combination of brush, ink, and paper would establish painting and calligraphy as the most important areas of art in China for the next two millennia. One other Han innovation was to use paper to produce topographical and military maps. Drawn to a reasonably accurate scale they included colour-coding, symbols for local features, and specific areas of enlarged scale.

Science & Technology

The Han period witnessed a number of important technical inventions and improvements which helped make agriculture much more efficient than in previous times. Better metalworking skills and the wider use of iron meant tools were more effective. The plough, in particular, was greatly improved, and now had two blades instead of one. It was more easily directed, too, with the addition of two handles. The arrival of the wheelbarrow helped farmers shift loads more efficiently. Fans were used to separate kernels from the chaff, and hand mills ground up the flour. Irrigation was greatly improved by mechanised pumps - worked either by a pedal or using a pole with a counterweighted bucket - and wells were made more efficient reservoirs by lining them with bricks. Meanwhile, crop management became more sophisticated with greater care taken over the timing of planting and the sowing of alternate crops in successive rows to maximise yields.

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Another area which benefitted from Han investment was the construction of a more extensive road and waterways network, as well as better built harbours. Weaving greatly improved under the Han, especially of silk which, using new foot-powered looms, could have as many as 220 warp threads per centimetre of cloth. Innovations were also made in science such as the use of sundials and primitive seismographs. In medicine, one popular development was the use of acupuncture.

In warfare, the crossbow became much more widely used and now came in more sizes from heavy mounted artillery to light handheld versions. The Han made a far greater use of cavalry than their predecessors, too, making the battlefield a more dynamic and deadly arena. Han swords, halberds, and armour were noted for their craftsmanship and benefitted from the use of iron and low-grade steel.

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Social Changes

Although not necessarily 'achievements', the Han government did pass laws which resulted in several significant changes in the ordinary lives of its citizens. Universal conscription had been a feature of an unsettled China for centuries but, in 31 CE, the Han abolished it. Finally recognising that forcing farmers to fight was not the best way to achieve a disciplined and skilled fighting force, they instead (more or less) created a professional army. The sheer size of the Han empire necessitated a huge number of soldiers to defend the borders, but these were now recruited from available mercenaries, conquered tribes, and released prisoners instead of full-time farmers. In addition, the Han government invested some 10% of its revenue on extravagant gifts to rival states. Many states sent tribute in return, and the establishment of strong diplomatic relations ensured that less investment was needed in military defence.

One of the notable changes in the family's dealings with the state was the government's decision to nominate and deal with only one representative of each family unit. Typically, this role went to the most senior male but it could be temporarily held by a woman if her sons were not yet of age. Family ties were strengthened by making everyone responsible for the conduct of each other member in the unit. If one family member was convicted of a serious crime, for example, then the other family members could be enslaved as a wider punishment. Another change was inheritance. Whereas previously the senior male inherited everything, the Han changed the rules to equally distribute inheritance among all male siblings. Daughters still got nothing, though, and their only hope for some financial independence was the dowry their family might provide for them.

An unfortunate consequence of the changes in inheritance was that, over time, farms became smaller and smaller as they were parcelled out to brothers, and it became more difficult to support a family on a single plot. This, in turn, led to small farmers selling out and preferring to work for larger landed estate owners, eventually concentrating land ownership in fewer and fewer hands. Ultimately, the combination of the loss of tax revenue this caused, the general disaffection of the peasantry, and the increase in wealth and power of the aristocracy would lead to the overthrow of the Han dynasty and the splitting of China into three warring kingdoms.


10 Inventions From China's Han Dynasty That Changed the World - HISTORY

Many would claim that the Han dynasty was one of the most powerful of all of China’s dynasties, not only in terms of economic growth and border expansion but also because of its trendsetting technology. The Han dynasty inventions were some of the greatest contributions not only in the Chinese society but even across the globe. Some of the lesser known innovations developed during this period include the creation of the wheelbarrow and the seismograph. Stirrups were also believed to have been used first during this time.

There are several major Han dynasty inventions that have been famously credited to this period. These inventions have in one way or another shaped the way our world is lived in right now. The first and perhaps the most popular is the invention of the paper making process during the Han dynasty. Although historians claim that the oldest piece of wrapping paper can be traced back to the Chinese during the 2nd BCE, the process of making paper was invented during the Han period. The eunuch Cai Lun was credited for this invention. His process used mulberry bark as the main ingredient.

The invention of cast iron tools can also be credited to the people of the Han dynasty. It was during the Han dynasty that the cast iron processing was perfected. Furnaces which are able to convert iron ore into pig iron and later into cast iron were operational in China during the Han dynasty period. This resulted in vastly improved weapons, tools and domestic wares. More importantly, it paved the way for the creation of new agricultural tools which in turn helped increase the agricultural tax revenue of the empire.

Also the Han dynasty, credited for inventing the loom, set the tone for silk weaving during that era. It was because of their invention that silk could be marketed as an expensive piece of article. Their science of weaving also paved the way for the creation of the Silk Road. This meant increased revenue for the people of the Han dynasty.

True enough, the people of the Han dynasty pioneered some of the most important advancements in human history. The Han dynasty inventions are solid proof of the intellectual prowess of the Han dynasty people another testimony to the power that was the Han dynasty.


#2 Paper money, the Chinese creation that changed the world

Paper money! The Chinese introduced the first banknotes under the Tang dynasty (618 – 907). The invention of paper money stems from creating the printing block, which made possible the printing of many banknotes. At that time, carrying coins began to be too heavy, and merchants thus decided to create banknotes as a means of currency instead. The banknotes were meant to record how much money the people had in their pockets. Smart, isn’t it?

Nowadays, we use paper money for everything almost everywhere around the world. Even though credit card use now tends to surpass the use of paper money, banknotes are still rocking! Let’s jump to the third Chinese creation that is going to leave you voiceless!

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8 inventions of the Han Dynasty of China that changed the world

China is such a country that is always in the news, sometimes because of its great wall, sometimes because of policies, and currently due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Han Dynasty was a famous dynasty of ancient China that ruled China from 206 BC to 220 AD. In terms of power and prestige, the Han dynasty in the east competed with their almost contemporary Roman Empire in the west. The foundation of the Han dynasty was set up by a rebel leader named Liu Bang.

The Han Dynasty is considered a golden age in Chinese history, especially in art, politics, and technology. Let us know about some of the great discoveries made by the Han Dynasty in this article.

1. Seismograph:-

Chinese scientist Zhang Heng worked from astronomy to watchmaking, but he is best known for making the first instrument to detect distant earthquakes. Zhang Heng introduced this device to Han's court in 132 A.D.

This device was simple an urn equipped with a pendulum. Whenever this dragon type instrument feels an earth vibration, it used to drop a ball from the mouth of a metal dragon into a metal frog, creating a loud clang that cautions the occurrence of an earthquake somewhere in the country.

2. Suspension Bridge:-

According to Robert Temple, the Genius artisans of the Han Dynasty carried out the development of the suspension bridge. This was a flat roadway suspended from cables, which probably evolved from simple rope bridges made to cover small gorges.

The suspension bridge developed around 90 A.D and later on became more sophisticated structures with wooden planks.

Such a suspension bridge is still built in the northeastern states of India with ropes and roots of plants.

3. The invention of Paper:-

Cai Lun, a eunuch in the Han court in 105 A.D., is credited to be the inventor of the first high-quality writing paper.

The earliest scrap of paper still exists, this scrap was found in 1957 in a tomb found in China. Investigation revealed that this scrap was dated to 140 and 87 BC.

Cai Lun used hemp, linen rags, crushing and combining tree bark and scraps from fishing nets and then treating the mixture with lye to break it down into finer fibers.

4. Deep Drilling:-

The salt miners in the Han Dynasty used to dig holes 4,800 feet into the earth with the help of cast iron bits to search brine and then extracted brine with the help of a tube. The technology they developed is a pioneer in the search for modern oil and gas exploration even today.

Horse Stirrup was also invented during the Han dynasty regime in China. Ancient horsemen had to let their legs hang as they rode. But Han dynasty inventor searched the solution for this problem. They made a Stirrup with the help of cast iron or bronze. Now the riders were able to put their foot into it.

This revolutionary invention helped the riders rode with heavy armour without tumbling off.

6. Wheelbarrow:-

M.J.T. Lewis's article was published in the Journal of Technology and Culture in 1994. According to this article, the invention of the one-wheel cart or wheelbarrow taken place in China as early as 100 B.C.

After the invention of this cart, a person could carry a lot of weight from one place to another place with ease because this wheelbarrow reduced the weight on the user's arms.

7. The Moldboard Plow:-

According to Robert Greenberger's book 'The Technology of Ancient China', Chinese peasants used to plow the field with iron plows up to 6th Century B.C. But a few hundred years later, the inventors of the Han dynasty developed a moldboard plow.

This plow tool had a central piece that ended in a sharp point and facility to push the soil away to reduce the friction. This tool also helped in making the filed as hill shaped to reduce soil erosion.

8. The Rudder:-

The inventors of the Han Dynasty of China also invented the steering wheel (The Rudder) which enabled ships to steer without using oars. The Chinese developed the device for steering a ship in the First Century A.D.

According to Temple’s book, this invention took around 1000 years to reach the west, where it helped Christopher Columbus and other explorers to navigate the ocean.

So above mentioned inventions of the Han dynasty has proved that this dynasty has done great contribution in making life easy for many around the world. These inventions are still helping human beings.


10 life-changing inventions from Ancient China

From the early ages until today, the Chinese are known as innovative and determined individuals. They created some of the most important tools in history that helped civilization. The Ancient Chinese inventions date back to the Paleolithic period and were always ahead of other countries when it comes to innovation. Besides the four great inventions (papermaking, printing, gunpowder, and the compass) that greatly promoted China’s economy and culture, they have plenty of other innovations that changed and made our life easier today and revolutionized the world.

Here are the top 10 most famous inventions you won’t believe came from the Ancient Chinese:

Before paper was invented, writing materials were extremely scarce and expensive. People used clay tablets and rocks which were unwieldy wax and palm leaves which were fragile. Truly the world changed when the paper was invented as it is now abundant, affordable, and accessible. The invention of paper was a major step up in the literacy of the people and how history was recorded. Paper already existed in China since 105 A.D, but a eunuch named Cai Lun was the one who was able to make it significant which helped drive its widespread adoption. The word “paper” was derived from papyrus which was a type of reed discovered by the Egyptians. Papyrus was used as a writing material by overlapping thin strips after being soaked in water.

Before the emergence of the printing technique, manuscripts were all manually handwritten by scholars. The first kind of printing ever invented was the Woodblock Printing during the Tang Dynasty. Woodblock Printing was expensive and time-consuming and so it was improved by a man named Bi Sheng of the Song Dynasty, also known as “Father of Typography.” He innovated the Movable Type Printing which works by carving individual characters into fire-hardened clay. These type pieces are then glued to an iron plate to print a page and then redistributed for another page. Soon after, this kind of printing was introduced to Europeans which led to its renaissance and then spread out around the world.

Gunpowder was said to be accidentally invented by Chinese Taoist alchemists in the Tang Dynasty when they tried to find a potion to obtain immortality by mixing sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter. It wasn’t until the Song Dynasty (about 1000 A.D.) in the 11th century that the formula was documented. The Chinese used this accidental discovery for firecrackers and Europeans were able to take the invention and create weapons that were used to dominate China in the mid-1800s.

Before compasses were invented, people used the position of the sun, moon, stars, and the planet orientation to tell directions. The compass was invented by the Chinese estimated between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It was originally used only for Feng Shui and it wasn’t until the Song Dynasty when they enhanced the compass and discovered they could actually use it for navigation. Arab traders that have been to China might have learned of this invention and brought it to the West. Compasses were made using a lodestone, a type of mineral magnetite that aligns itself with the earth’s magnetic field, to point south. The ancient Chinese discovered that a floating lodestone could freely turn and point towards the magnetic poles. Interestingly, it was used for geomancy and fortune-telling during the Han dynasty.

Silk is one of the oldest fibers that was discovered by the Ancient Chinese 6,000 years ago when a silk cocoon was found cut in half. They mastered the art of sericulture, the production of silk, and the West paid a fortune to get their hands on silk. It was considered a very important item made in China and for years, trades have been made from China to the West which formed the known Silk Road today. Besides clothing, silk was also used for writing, fishing, and musical instruments. It was predominantly used only by emperors and the upper class but soon spread to the commoners as well. During the Han Dynasty, silk is considered more than just a commodity and used to reward worthy Chinese citizens or government officials. This resulted in a rise in their economy and silk soon started to decrease in value and exports. Despite its decrease, China still dominates the luxurious silk market of today.

The abacus, also known as suan pan, was actually started by hunters (surprisingly not by scholars) through collecting trophies from animals they killed. The hunters used wooden sticks to string wooden beads to it to count the animals. The abacus is the oldest calculator that is still used today. Most Chinese learned how to use suan pan when they were young. The structure of the suan pan is simple: It is composed of stone beads, which represent numbers, and wooden sticks, which represents the decimals. The abacus is the living fossil of the Chinese mathematical discovery. Up to this day, some believe that the abacus is superior to modern calculators, especially for simple calculations.

It is widely believed that the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula were the first brewers. However, a discovery in Pingshan County of Hebei Province in 1970 revealed large amounts of wine-storing and drinking vessels. Some of these vessels contained a drink made from wheat dating to around 2,280 BC which is the oldest liquor yet discovered in history. Alcohol is called Jiu in Chinese and is often used as an offering to the gods or their own ancestors. The early Chinese used rice, hawthorn, honey, and grapes to make liquor which was popularized by Yi Di and Du Kang of the Xia dynasty. Different civilizations outside of China have also proven that liquor was consumed thousands of years ago. Whether they discovered them independently or not is unknown up to this day. But, it is a big possibility that the secret of making liquor may be passed from East to West.

In 132 AD, Zhang Heng of the Han dynasty invented the first seismograph called “Houfeng Didong” to measure the earth’s movements. The early seismograph looks like an urn made of copper with a central pendulum. On the surface, there are eight dragons with each one holding the copper in its mouth, pointing out the eight different directions: east, south, west, north, southeast, northeast, southwest, and northwest. When there is an earthquake, the dragon’s mouth that was closest to the earthquake’s source will be opened, causing the ball to drop into the mouth of the frog which would produce a sound. This invention would let people know the direction of the earthquake. In 138 AD, this seismograph was able to sense an earthquake occurring in Longxi which is a thousand kilometers away from its location. It was the first time that mankind was able to detect an earthquake. It wasn’t until 1848 when Europe was able to develop a modern seismograph.

The bristled toothbrush was invented in 1498 by the Chinese who made toothbrushes with coarse animal hairs that are attached to a bone or bamboo handles.

Paper money was first developed by the ancient Chinese between the 8th or 9th century AD. It was originally used as privately issued bills of credit or exchange notes. A person could deposit his cash in return receiving an “exchange certificate” which he could exchange for metal coins in other cities.

The Ancient Chinese revolutionized the way the world works today. The world would truly be a different place without these ancient Chinese inventions.


14. The Seed Drill (250 BC)

The Babylonians in ancient Mesopotamia invented single tube drills around 1500 BC, but these never reached Europe or Asia. Chinese farmers generally planted seeds by hand which was time-consuming and ineffective. Most of the seeds never germinated because of pests and the elements. The ancient Chinese found an alternative to this problem. During the Zhou dynasty, they discovered the seed drill that allowed … However, it wasn’t until the second century BC that they invented a multi-tube iron seed drill that helped them to produce food on a larger scale.


Main keywords of the article below: 11th, intermediary, chinese, cast, han, dynasty, carbon, create, song, ancient, innovations, 202, inventions, steel, bce, figured, bce-220, 1st, together, smelting, ce, wrought, century, china, iron.

KEY TOPICS
The Chinese of the ancient Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) figured out how to create steel by smelting together the carbon intermediary of wrought iron and cast iron by the 1st century BCE. However, there were two new Chinese innovations of the Song dynasty to create steel during the 11th century. [1] The Song dynasty ( Chinese : 宋朝 960-1279 CE) provided some of the most significant technological advances in Chinese history, many of which came from talented statesmen drafted by the government through imperial examinations. [1] MusicMusic The Chinese developed a sophisticatedThe Chinese developed a sophisticated understanding of the musical quality ofunderstanding of the musical quality of timbre during the Song Dynasty.timbre during the Song Dynasty. [2] By the end of the Song Dynasty, the Chinese invented multiple-stage rockets. [3]

Tang and Song Dynasty Inventions Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. [2] How did gunpowder move from East to West? Although the Song Dynasty was not particularly strong, its invention of gunpowder enabled the Chinese to repel the Mongols for decades. [4] This attitude of invention and discovery is what makes the Song Dynasty one of the most dynamic eras in Chinese history. [5]


The 14th century Huolongjing was also one of the first Chinese texts to carefully describe to the use of explosive land mines, which had been used by the late Song Chinese against the Mongols in 1277, and employed by the Yuan dynasty afterwards. [1] In 1161, gunpowder bombs and paddle wheel crafts were used effectively by the Song Chinese at the Battle of Tangdao and the Battle of Caishi along the Yangtze River against the Jurchen Jin dynasty during the Jin-Song Wars. [1] In 1132, at the Siege of De'an, Song Chinese forces used fire lances against the rival Jurchen -led Jin dynasty. [1]

Although the mechanically driven mile-marking device of the carriage-drawn odometer had been known in China since the ancient Han dynasty, the Song Shi (compiled in 1345) provides a much greater description and more in-depth view of the device than earlier Chinese sources. [1]

After these innovations, the windmill was finally introduced to China in the early 13th century via the Jin dynasty in northern China, during the late Song dynasty. [1] Confirming Zhu Yu's writing on Song dynasty ships with bulkhead hull compartments, in 1973 a 78-foot (24m) long, 29-foot (8.8m) wide Song trade ship from c. 1277 was dredged from the water near the southern coast of China that contained 12 bulkhead compartment rooms in its hull. [1] One of the other major developments in the Song Dynasty was the rapid expansion of the canal and of the waterway system, which was particularly true in the southeast and southern parts of China. [3] During the Song Dynasty, the population of China grew to about 100 million people, which made it a very large country. [3] During the early half of the Song dynasty (960-1279), the study of archaeology developed out of the antiquarian interests of the educated gentry and their desire to revive the use of ancient vessels in state rituals and ceremonies. [1] A canal lock system in modern-day France which uses the pound lock system developed during the Song dynasty. [1] Although scholars often consider the Song Dynasty to have been very weak, its use of gunpowder was the reason it was able to hold off the Mongols for many decades. [3] Magnetic Compass Adapted for Navigation Magnetic compass had existed for centuries, but Song Dynasty began to use it to guide their fleets. [6] Paper Money Song Dynasty first in world to adopt paper currency instead of coin. [6] During the Song dynasty that the pound lock was first invented in 984 by the Assistant Commissioner of Transport for Huainan, the engineer Qiao Weiyue. [1] He doesn't mention paper money and the bank note, which were both invented during the Song Dynasty. [3] This detail of a Song Dynasty painting called An Elegant Party shows a small banquet hosted by the emperor for scholar-officials. [3] CompassCompass The earliest reference to a specific magneticThe earliest reference to a specific magnetic direction finder device is recorded in a Songdirection finder device is recorded in a Song Dynasty book dated to 1040-44. [2] During the Song dynasty there was also great amount of attention given to the building of efficient automotive vessels known as paddle wheel craft. [1]

The Song Dynasty was one of the most prosperous and complex periods in Chinese history. [5] The Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE) was a period of dramatic growth and innovation in Chinese history. [5]

It was first described by great Chinese polymath Shen Kuo of Song Dynasty in his 1088 work Dream Pool Essays. [7] By the end of the Song Dynasty the Chinese had invented multi-stage rockets. [4]

The Bei Song (also known simply as the Song) was the last major Chinese dynasty to be founded by a coup d’état. [8]

An even earlier Chinese text of the Wujing Zongyao ("Collection of the Most Important Military Techniques"), written in 1044 by the Song scholars Zeng Kongliang and Yang Weide, described the use of three spring or triple bow arcuballista that fired arrow bolts holding gunpowder packets near the head of the arrow. [1] The early Song cannons were at first termed the same way as the Chinese trebuchet catapult. [1] In 1176, Emperor Xiaozong of Song (r. 1162-1189) issued an imperial order to the Nanjing official Guo Gang (who desired to convert damaged paddle wheel craft into junk ships and galleys ) not to limit the number of paddle wheel craft in the navy's dockyards, since he had high esteem for the fast assault craft that won the Chinese victory at Caishi. [1] A Song era junk ship, 13th century Chinese ships of the Song period featured hulls with watertight compartments. [1]

The northern Chinese under the rule of the Jurchen Jin dynasty became acquainted with the windmills of the Islamic world in the early 13th century. [1] The Ming Dynasty, which fought the Manchus, employed Jesuit priests to cast cannons that were more advanced than the Chinese had at that time. [3] In the early part of the Ming Dynasty, after the Mongols, the Chinese Admiral Zheng He led several significant expeditions around to India and even as far as Africa. [3] These windmills were used to operate the square-pallet chain pumps used in Chinese irrigation since the ancient Han dynasty. [1] The Chinese previously had invented the sternpost rudder, actually in the Han Dynasty, but the sternpost rudder was very, very important for controlling a vessel. [3] There was also an intricate Chinese rotary fan winnowing machine depicted in Wang Zhen's agricultural treatise of the Nong Shu of 1313 (although the earliest depiction of a winnowing machine was from a Han dynasty tomb model dated from the 2nd century BCE to the 2nd century). [1]

The many uses for manufactured iron products in the Song period included iron for weapons, implements, coins, architectural elements, musical bells, artistic statues, and components for machinery such as the hydraulic -powered trip hammer, which had been known since the 1st century BCE during the ancient Han dynasty, and used extensively during the Song. [1] This massive increase in output of the iron and steel industry in China was the result of the Song dynasty's needs for military expansion, private commercial demands for metal products such as cooking utensils found in the market and a wide variety of agricultural tools, and by new canals linking major centers of iron and steel production to the capital city's bustling market. [1] TeaTea Different types of tea were grown inDifferent types of tea were grown in different regions during the Tang Dynastydifferent regions during the Tang Dynasty Tea farms covered 242 counties in theTea farms covered 242 counties in the Song Dynasty.Song Dynasty. [2]

Tang and Song Inventions Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. [6] The Han dynasty artisan Ding Huan ( fl. 180) not only pioneered the invention of the cardan suspension, but also the rotary fan, which could be used as a simple air conditioner. [1]

There were certain administrative prefectures during the Song era where the Chinese iron industry was mostly concentrated. [1] In the Song period (and once during the earlier Tang period), the odometer device was combined with the south-pointing chariot device, which was probably first invented by the ancient Chinese mechanical engineer Ma Jun (200-265). [1]


The first half of this is referred to as the Northern Song period (960-1127), the second half (when the empire was threatened by outside forces and moved its capital south) was the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). [5] Indeed the earliest known illustration of a cannon dating from around 1127 was found in China, the time of the changeover from the Northern Song Dynasty to the Southern Song Dynasty. [4] D uring the Song dynasty, China became the most advanced country in the world -- attaining a level of development that Europeans found hard to believe at the time (as described by Marco Polo who only saw late remnant of the Song glory). [9] During the three century reign of Song dynasty, China experienced sustained growth in per capita income. [7] Taizu managed to reunite nearly all of China under his empire and the Song Dynasty ruled China for the next three hundred years. [5] It was during the Song Dynasty that a permanent, standing navy was first established in China in 1132, primarily to fight the Jin Dynasty. [7] A popular general from one of these kingdoms became Emperor Taizu, who reunited China under what he named the Song dynasty. [5] The earliest known endless power-transmitting chain drive in the world was used by polymath Su Song of the Song Dynasty in his famous hydraulic-powered astronomical clock tower. [7] Jia Xian of Song Dynasty invented the Jia Xian triangle, which was a version of Pascal’s triangle used to determine binomial coefficients. [7] The first mention of the compass was in a book entitled "Dream Pool Essays" dated 1086 by Shen Kuo, in the Song Dynasty. [4] Starting in 960 and ending in 1279, the Song Dynasty consisted of the Northern Song (960-1127) and the Southern Song (1127-1279). [10] After 1127, however, the empire was threatened by outside forces and moved its capital south, establishing the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). [5] During the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and Song Dynasty (960-1279) many varieties of paper were developed, including bamboo paper, hemp paper, hide paper and xuan paper. [4]

During the Song dynasty, the Chinese stuffed a paper tube with gunpowder and attached this tube to an arrow that they could launch with a bow. [11] Chinese navigators began to use it in ships not earlier than during the Song dynasty, that is around the 10 th century AD. [11] Although the Phoenicians are thought to have implemented the first drydocking system, the Chinese during the Tang and Song Dynasty perfected a basin system using a locking mechanism so that a ship could be effectively repaired. [12] When Emperor Taizu reunified the country after the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, establishing the Song dynasty, it looked like nothing could stop the Chinese. [13] During the Song dynasty, Chinese emperors started royal factories to produce porcelain for their palaces. [14] The large number of foreigners who couldn’t speak the Chinese language is said to be the reason for inventing… a restaurant menu as early as the times of the Song dynasty (960-1279). [11]

The earliest documentation palaces the invention of the first land mine during the time of the Song dynasty, who used a bomb called a (Huo Pao) to fight the Mongols during their invasion of china. [15] The earliest illustrations in the Wujing Zongyao places the invention of the arrow launcher some time during the Song dynasty in the 11th century. [15]

The Song played a major role in creating iconic China, and many of the world’s greatest inventions were brought about by the great innovators of this dynasty. [13]

In addition to all the inventions and reforms, the Song left behind a wealth of architecture that you can visit in many Chinese cities. [13]

The Chinese philosophy of Confucianism has ancient roots in China, predating the Song by over a millennium, but up until this point it was rarely actually applied in politics. [5] Over time, the quality of the bureaucracy deteriorated, and when the Juchen (Chinese: Nüzhen, or Ruzhen)--tribes from the North who overthrew the Liao--burst into the northern Song state, it was easy prey. [8] Qin Jiushao of Song was the first to introduce the 0 symbol into Chinese mathematics. [7] If the Tang was the golden age of Chinese poetry, Song was China’s golden age of painting. [9] Thanks to the establishment of a Song imperial painting academy, Chinese landscape murals were developed and elevated as a national art form. [5]

The compass was probably invented in the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC) by Chinese fortune-tellers who used the lodestones to construct their fortune telling boards. [4] In 1279, the army of the Yuan Dynasty captured Lin'an, putting the Southern Song to an end. [10] The Bei Song was founded by Zhao Kuangyin, the military inspector general of the Hou (Later) Zhou dynasty (last of the Five Dynasties ), who usurped control of the empire in a coup. [8] Pottery produced at the Guan kilns, near the Nan Song capital, was the finest of an enormous number of celadons of the dynasty. [8] It is commonly divided into Bei (Northern) and Nan (Southern) Song periods, as the dynasty ruled only in South China after 1127. [8]

The dynasty, expanded trade networks, developed major urban and commercial centers, propagated the arts, and dedicated itself to scientific invention and discovery. [5] Two of China's four great inventions - typography and compass were both invented and the application of gunpowder also developed rapidly. [10] The Chinese flame-thrower (or Pen Huo Qi) developed along with the invention of gunpowder during china's five dynasties and ten kingdom period, was superior to the Byzantine model in that it emitted a continues stream of flame, and was more powerful due to the use of two gunpowder activated pistons, while the Byzantine's flame-thrower had only one piston. [15] The Chinese are credited with the invention and development of gun powder and its first recorded use is in china's five dynasties and ten kingdoms period (907-960) period. [15]


In the Song Dynasty, the government set up gunpowder workshops, where flammable or explosive weapons like "fire cannon", "rocket" and "missile" etc were produced in various periods. [14] People of the Song Dynasty used gunpowder in stunning performances like spraying fire, invisiblizing stage characters and conjuring up things etc. The audience couldn’t help but marvel the magic. [14] The Song Dynasty developed fire arrows, rockets, and even bombs with gunpowder which helped them during battle. [16]

Many of the things people today associate with China originated in the Song dynasty. [13] One of the first recordings of using a compass for navigation was during the Northern Song dynasty (960 CE - 1126 CE). [17] The Song Dynasty was divided into two eras including the Northern Song, from 960 to 1127, and the Southern Song, from 1127 to 1279. [16] The Song Dynasty included two equal-length eras: the Northern Song and the Southern Song. [18]

The Song Dynasty had the first standing navy in the history of the world, complete with large 300 foot long ships and catapults for weapons. [16] During the late Song dynasty while they were trying to defend against the Mongol invasion, they also deployed the first type of multistage rocket which was in practice a form of primitive torpedo. [15] When the Mongols conquered the Song Dynasty in 1279, they used the Song's own weapons advancements against them, including gunpowder-powered weapons. [16] At the end of the Song Dynasty in 1277, the Song army used landmines against the Mongols. [18]

The Song Dynasty thought that if they could regain the land of the Western Xia, they could perhaps reestablish the lucrative Silk Road trade that benefited the Han and Tang dynasties. [18] The Song Dynasty followed the Tang Empire, which fell in 906. [16]

Making a comparison among the Chinese dynasties, it is confirmed that the Song Dynasty together with the Tang (618 - 907) and the Han (206BC - 220AD) dynasties achieved immense levels of nation-wide prominence. [19] It is proved that the earliest Chinese reference recording a magnetic device used as a "direction finder" is in a Song Dynasty book dated during from 960 to1279. [20] In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the skill of making porcelain was perfected, while in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the art of Chinese porcelain reached its peak and became popular and famous throughout the world. [20]


The earliest descriptions of a hand grenade type weapon being used by Chinese soldiers is written in the Wujing Zingyao the same military text compiled by the Song to catalog the use and creation of the flame-thrower, gunpowder, and incendiary bombs. [15] Zhou Dynasty bronze castings of complex bronze socketed hinges with locking slides and bolts, which could have been used for parasols and umbrellas, were found in an archeological site of Luoyang, dated to the 6th century BCE. An even older source on the umbrella is perhaps the ancient book of Chinese ceremonies, called Zhou Li (The Rites of Zhou), dating 2400 years ago, which directs that upon the imperial cars the dais should be placed. [14] During the 14th century (Ming Dynasty), around the same time the Chinese developed the exploding cannonball, they found a way to take what made the exploding cannonball great and make it smaller, thus the first small scale fragmentation bombs were invented. [15] Used in Ancient China as early as the Qin dynasty (221 BCE - 207 BCE) or before, Chinese compasses were invented for more than just helping people find their way when traveling. [17] There was a pivotal point in Chinese history when the Ming Dynasty fell, the Qing rulers were terrified of the gun powder weapons that was used against them. [14] The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting dynasty in Chinese history. [11]

The subsequent two years of war pushed the Song south and separated the dynasty into two distinct periods: the Northern Song (pre-Jurchen) and the Southern Song (post-Jurchen). [13] When the second Jin Dynasty (1115�) supplanted the Liao, they drove the Song south, dividing the dynasty into the Northern Song (960�) and the Southern Song (1127�) eras. [18]

The Mongol Khaganate didn’t take kindly to this affront, and Mongol leader Möngke Khan began a campaign against the Song that ended with the infamous Kublai Khan declaring the beginning of China’s first foreign dynasty: the Yuan. [13] The Song made a fatal mistake when it decided to retake the former capitals of Kaifeng, Luoyang, and Chang’an after the Mongols toppled the Jin dynasty. [13]

Italians who traveled to China during the Mongol dynasty brought the invention to Europe in the 14th century. [14] The best of China goes way back than the recent 300 years, all the invention were invented way before Qing dynasty. [14]

Chinese literary records, such as Zhao Ye: The Romance of Wu and Yue, place the invention of the crossbow in China during the Warring States period in the kingdom of Chu about 500 BCE. Many contemporary writers, for example Yang Hong and Zhu Fenghan contend the that the often cited inventor, Ch’in, improved upon a trigger mechanism, and that the crossbow may have existed from the seventh century BCE or even much earlier. [14] In the year 1161, the Chinese used explosives for the first time in warfare with the invention of cannons and guns. [14] This invention, one that did not appear in the West until 400 years later and one without which military and non-military equestrian use would never have progressed, led to the development of another unique Chinese invention: water polo. [14] The counter-force, required to set a rocket in motion, was produced by ignited gunpowder, which is actually another Chinese invention. [11] If you've read a book or newspaper, flown a kite, regained your sense of direction by using a compass, enjoyed a fireworks display, worn a soft silk shirt or eaten spaghetti, you've encountered a just a few amazing Chinese inventions. [14] The compass is one of the greatest ancient Chinese inventions. [11] What’s more, the influence of all those ingenious ancient Chinese inventions can be tracked even in the 21 st century. [11] Joseph Needham enthusiastically described dozens of ancient Chinese inventions which were (and remain) widely used in the Western world that one couldn’t even imagine they actually had come from the Far East. [11]

The first major well-documented flowering of Chinese music was for the qin during the Tang Dynasty, though the qin is known to have been played since before the Han Dynasty. [14] The Chinese probably made the first true porcelain during the Tang dynasty. [14]

The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty in Chinese history. [11] Chinese ships had sailed to India as early as the Han Dynasty. [14]


The Song dynasty era is divided into two time periods of almost equal length, referred to as the Northern Song era (960-1126 AD) and the Southern Song era (1127-1279 AD). [21] Then those loyal to the original Song dynasty moved south and started the Southern Song dynasty, with Hangzhou as its capital, and Zhao Gou as its first emperor. [21] Song Dynasty military forces as early as 904 A.D. used gunpowder devices against their primary enemy, the Mongols. [22] Gunpowder One of the revolutionary contributions of the Song dynasty was gunpowder, for use in guns and explosives, rockets, bombs and chemical-warfare weapons. [21] Currency Back in the Song dynasty, today&aposs U.S. dollars won&apost be any use in the market place, but gold, silver and jewelry will be acceptable at the pawnshop in exchange for coins or "jiaozi", which was the earliest paper money in the world. [21] Before the Song dynasty, people had explored methods of artificial magnetization and how to use magnetic needles. [21] Wujing Zongyao, written by Zeng Gongliang and Ding Du in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), is the earliest treatise recording three formulas for making gunpowder. [20]

The earliest alcohol makers in Chinese legend were Yi Di and Du Kang of the Xia Dynasty (about 2000 BC-1600 BC). [20] The oldest silk, which was found in Henan Province, came from the Chinese Neolithic period and dates to around 3,630 BC. Silk excavated from the Liangzhu culture site in Zhejiang Province date to roughly 2570 BC. In ancient China, silk was not only a vital invention for life but also a bridge connecting China to the outside world. [20] The invention of gunpowder led to cannons, which were mounted on Chinese ships to protect from pirates. [23] Bi Sheng's invention was recorded by Shen Kuo (1031-1095), the Chinese polymath, scientist and statesman, in his book The Dream Pool Essays' in 1088 AD. [24]

During the Song, they made further significant progress with the invention of the compass and its widespread application. [21]

The application of new weapons employing the use of gunpowder enabled the Song to ward off its militant enemies--the Liao, Western Xia, and Jin with weapons such as cannons --until its collapse to the Mongol forces of Kublai Khan in the late 13th century. [1] The Song also used gunpowder to make fire lances - actually flame throwers - and many other gunpowder weapons, such as anti-personnel mines, which are thankfully now being taken out of general use. [3] Southern Tang forces attempted to use flamethrowers against the Song navy, but were accidentally consumed by their own fire when violent winds swept in their direction. [1] The westerners (i.e. Turks ) there use windmills ( feng mo ) just as the people of the south (i.e. the Southern Song) use watermills ( shui mo ). [1] The Song people used the turntable trebuchet, the single-pole trebuchet and the squatting-tiger trebuchet. [1]

The Song employed the earliest known gunpowder-propelled rockets in warfare during the late 13th century, its earliest form being the archaic Fire Arrow. [1] When the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng fell to the Jurchens in 1126, it was written by Xia Shaozeng that 20,000 fire arrows were handed over to the Jurchens in their conquest. [1] Going back yet even farther, the Wu Li Xiao Shi (1630, second edition 1664) of Fang Yizhi stated that fire arrows were presented to Emperor Taizu of Song (r. 960-976) in 960. [1]

In the suppression of the Southern Tang state by 976, early Song naval forces confronted them on the Yangtze River in 975. [1] To move goods from place to place in the open seas the Song developed the mariner's compass. [3] There were paddle wheel ships in the Song that were so large that 12 wheels were featured on each side of the vessel. [1]

By the end of the 11th century the Chinese discovered that using bituminous coke could replace the role of charcoal, hence many acres of forested land and prime timber in northern China were spared by the steel and iron industry with this switch of resources to coal. [1] This ancestor to the gun was complemented by the ancestor to the cannon, what the Chinese referred to since the 13th century as the 'multiple bullets magazine erupter' ('bai zu lian zhu pao'), a tube of bronze or cast iron that was filled with about 100 lead balls. [1] In the field of manufacturing textiles, Joseph Needham (1900-1995) wrote that the Chinese invented the quilling -wheel by the 12th century, and wrote the mechanical belt drive was known since the 11th century. [1] The Tang government thought that theThe Tang government thought that the political system should be guided bypolitical system should be guided by Confucian teachings that had been anConfucian teachings that had been an important part of Chinese thinking sinceimportant part of Chinese thinking since they were developed about 1,000 yearsthey were developed about 1,000 years earlier.earlier. [2] The Chinese Examination System underThe Chinese Examination System under the Tang encouraged more people tothe Tang encouraged more people to become educated in China.become educated in China. [2] The word "china" is appropriate for porcelain, because the Chinese developed the technology for its production. [3] He noted that in and around the seas of China, only the distinct Chinese junks were used to sail the waters. [1] The Chinese used gunpowder for more than mere entertainment. [3] In the Battle of Langshan Jiang in 919, the naval fleet of the Wenmu King from Wuyue defeated a Huainan army from the Wu state Wenmu's success was facilitated by the use of 'fire oil' ('huo you') to burn their fleet, signifying the first Chinese use of gunpowder in a battle. [1] The Mongols were able to capture Chinese artisans and use the latest gunpowder technology against the Chinese. [3] The Chinese applied the use of double- piston bellows to pump petrol out of a single cylinder (with an upstroke and downstroke), lit at the end by a slow-burning gunpowder match to fire a continuous stream of flame. [1] The first art depiction of the Chinese ' fire lance ' (a combination of a temporary-fire flamethrower and gun) was from a Buddhist mural painting of Dunhuang, dated circa 950. [1] The first European to view Chinese windmills was Jan Nieuhoff, who spotted them in Jiangsu while traveling along the Grand Canal in 1656, as part of the Dutch embassy to Beijing. [1]

Due to the enormous amount of production, the economic historian Robert Hartwell noted that Chinese iron and coal production in the following 12th century was equal to if not greater than England's iron and coal production in the early phase of the Industrial Revolution during the late 18th century. [1] LiteratureLiterature The Tang period was a golden age ofThe Tang period was a golden age of Chinese literature and art.Chinese literature and art. [2] The Arab or Persian Commissioner of Merchant Shipping for Quanzhou, the Muslim Pu Shougeng (who served from 1250 to 1275) noted that paddle wheel ships were also used by the Chinese as tugboats for towing. [1] There were plenty of descriptions in Chinese literature of the time on the operations and aspects of seaports, maritime merchant shipping, overseas trade, and the sailing ships themselves. [1] Mechanical Clock Early 700s Chinese developed clocks run by water that kept accurate time. [6]

It's rather ironic that Gutenberg was recently voted the man of the millennium, when it was the Chinese who actually invented the technology. [3] The Chinese political philosophy held that the emperor and his officials were responsible for the welfare of the people - and that included the country's economic welfare. [3] He noted that the largest type of Chinese ships boasted a total of twelve sailing masts, while the smaller ones had three. [1]

It is uncertain when the ancient Chinese used their very first inflatable bellows as wind-blowing machines for kilns and furnaces. [1]

They were certainly used since the advent of the blast furnace in China from the 6th century BCE onwards, since cast iron farm tools and weapons were widespread by the 5th century BCE. In 31 the Han dynasty governmental prefect and engineer Du Shi (d. 38) employed the use of horizontal waterwheels and a complex mechanical gear system to operate the large bellows that heated the blast furnace in smelting cast iron. [1] The latter had been known in China perhaps since the 5th century, and certainly by the Tang dynasty in 784 with the successful paddle wheel warship design of Li Gao. [1] There was the ' sailing carriage ' that appeared by at least the Ming dynasty in the 16th century (although it could have been known beforehand). [1]

GunpowderGunpowder Used as an entertaining accessory in theUsed as an entertaining accessory in the Tang Dynasty.Tang Dynasty. [2] They existed perhaps as far back as the Shang dynasty (1600 BCE-1050 BCE), due to the intricate bronze casting technology of the period. [1] At the beginning of the dynasty (c. 965) the two Zhe provinces (now Zhejiang and southern Jiangsu ) presented (to the throne) two dragon ships each more than (60.00m/200ft) in length. [1]

Hong Mai (1123-1202) used ancient Han dynasty era vessels to debunk what he found to be fallacious descriptions of Han vessels in the Bogutu archaeological catalogue compiled during the latter half of Huizong's reign (1100-1125). [1] Tea leaves have been eaten as vegetables,Tea leaves have been eaten as vegetables, used as medicine, and, since the Hanused as medicine, and, since the Han dynasty, infused in boiling water, the newdynasty, infused in boiling water, the new drink making tea into a major commodity.drink making tea into a major commodity. [2] In ancient China, the sluice gate, the canal lock, and flash lock had been known since at least the 1st century BCE (as sources then alluded that they were not new innovations), during the ancient Han dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE). [1]

The papermaking process had been perfected and standardized by the Han dynasty court eunuch Cai Lun (50-121) in 105, and was in widespread use for writing even by the 3rd century. [1] Originally, the compass had been developed for divination purposes, a sort of magnetic spoon going back as early as the Han Dynasty 1,000 years before. [3]

Accompanying the invention of the compass were other inventions, such as the development of new types of locks along the canals. [3]

The oldest surviving rotating book case dates to the Song period (12th century), found at the Longxing Monastery of Zhengding, Hebei province. [1] There were nine prominently known revolving repositories during the Song period, and one of them was even featured in an illustration of Li Jie's book Yingzao Fashi ('Treatise on Architectural Methods') of 1103. [1]

There were many other important figures in the Song era besides Shen Kuo and Su Song, many of whom contributed greatly to the technological innovations of the time period. [1] Polymath geniuses - that is, people knowledgeable across an encyclopaedic range of topics - such as Shen Kuo (1031-1095) and Su Song (1020-1101) embodied the spirit of early empirical science and technology in the Song era. [1]

The Song people also used gunpowder to make fire lances, or flamethrowers, and anti-personnel mines (for which we might be less grateful!). [4] In China, Song Ci is considered the Founding Father of Forensic Science and his book was later translated in several languages to be used as reference. [7] In music the Bei Song adopted a two-stringed fiddle from the northern tribes, and music was widely used for ceremonies, sacrifices, and other court events. [8] The Southern Song was set up by Zhao Gou, son of the last emperor of Northern Song. [10] They thrived in this southern city for another century before the Mongol Empire, then under Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan) managed to defeat the Song emperors. [5] The Song got so good at refining and using gunpowder that they could use it to make bombs, landmines, and even very early versions of guns by the 12th century. [5] Not only did Song scholars discover the concept of true north, but they were also the first to discover the potential of gunpowder. [5] Incidentally, this technology let the Song become the first government in the world to formally issue paper money. [5] The first account of using scientific methods to solve criminal cases is attributed to the book of Xi Yuan Lu (Washing Away of Wrongs) by Song physician and judge Song Ci. [7] Song mathematician Yang Hui is the first known person in whose work quadratic equations with negative coefficients of "x’ appear. [7] Son of Emperor Taizong In his reign, the military power of Song was strengthened but he signed the first humiliating treaty with the Liao (916 - 1125). [10] The ninth son of Emperor Huizong who escaped the capture of the Jin court He founded the weak Northern Song in Lin'an (currently Hangzhou). [10] The last of the Northern Song emperors was himself perhaps the most noteworthy artist and art collector in the country. [8]

Song or Tang: Acupuncture was invented in the ____________. [25] Short of copper, Song government turned to other type of materials, including paper banknotes. [7]

By the 9th century, Chinese craftsmen had developed a way to mass produce books by carving words and pictures into wooden blocks, inking them, and then pressing paper onto the blocks. [26] China has a long history, but a few eras stand out for their dramatic role in Chinese history. [5] The administration developed a comprehensive welfare policy that made this one of the most humane periods in Chinese history. [8] We call this the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period of Chinese history. [5] Starting in this period, non-Chinese states from the north would deeply impact Chinese history. [9]

Learning from Arab seafarers, the Chinese were the first to build multi-masted ships and use the magnetic compass as a navigational aid on sea. [9] Xuan paper is used in Chinese painting and calligraphy because of its smoothness and durability, and its whiteness. [4] GUNPOWDER was accidentally discovered earlier in the 9th century by Chinese alchemists looking for the elixir of life. [9] The Chinese experts were employed in the Mongol army, and as the Mongols expanded their empire gunpowder went with them. [4] Eventually the Mongols were able to capture Chinese gunpowder makers and turn gunpowder back on the Chinese. [4]

The Mongols established their own dynasty, the Yuan, and incorporated China into their massive empire. [5] The Southern Sung dynasty (1127-1279) dated their coins on the reverse with regnal years, and the T’ang and Ming dynasties (618-907 and 1368-1644, respectively) put the mint name on the reverse, as did the Ch’ing dynasty (1644-1911/12), this last giving it in Manchu characters. [8]

It was started as early as the Han Dynasty and was built into a comprehensive system during the Tang era. [7]

The invention of paper as we know it came in China around 105 AD. In fact the earliest paper is very similar to modern paper in concept and technology. [4] Over thousands of years China has produced a great stream of inventions, ranging from the mundane chopstick and wheelbarrow, to sophisticated earthquake detectors and the advanced concept of bank notes. [4] It took a thousand years after its invention for proper paper to reach Europe. [4] Invention first used to arrange furniture to give houses a positive chi. [25] Landscape painting approached perfection, and cultural achievement was stimulated by the invention of movable type (first made of earthenware, then of wood and metal). [8] Invention that allowed people to tell time without a sundial. [25]

During the Song period, commerce developed to an unprecedented extent trade guilds were organized, paper currency came into increasing use, and several cities with populations of more than 1,000,000 flourished along the principal waterways and the southeast coast. [8] The first half of this is referred to as the Northern Song period (960-1127). [5]

During the Southern Song the capital was moved to Lin'an (today Hangzhou) because it lost the northern section of China. [16] Other archaeological remnants include Yue Wang Temple in the city of Hangzhou, the modern-day name of the Southern Song capital Lin’an the Iron Pagoda in Kaifeng, the capital of the Northern Song and Longhua Temple in Shanghai. [13] This ended the period known as the Northern Song and began the period known as the Southern Song. [16] The early period of the Southern Song was a time of prosperity. [18]

It lasted from 960 to 1279 A.D. Song China was the most advanced civilization of its time. [27] The Tang and Song Dynasties in China, great advancements occurred that would forever change the way the world interacted with one another, conducted warfare, and even traveled around the world. [12]

Since Song rulers were not interested in expanding their borders, they made little use of gunpowder. [27] The Song inventors were especially good at concocting varieties of gunpowder to use for different purposes. [18]

Kaifeng Tours : The Northern Song capital was known for it&aposs grand architecture. [18] After about two decades of warfare, the Song capital was taken in 1276, and after three more years of fighting with remnants of the dynastic court, the empire ended in 1279. [18] In 1232, the Southern Song allied with the Mongols to attack the Jin empire. [18] Hangzhou tours : The former Southern Song capital has Song-era ruins and tombs. [18]

Around 1023 CE, in order to indicate what money they had on deposit, people were issued with a paper certificate by the Song government. [28]

Umbrellas in China were not simply used to protect the skin from the sun's rays: made from oil paper produced by the bark of the mulberry tree, the first practical umbrella, invented in China during the Wei Dynasty (386-532 AD), was designed to protect from both the rain and the sun. [14] The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty in the history of China. [11] Around 16th century BC in the middle of the Shang Dynasty (17th 11th century BC), the early-stage porcelain appeared in China. [14] Under the Qing Dynasty, China was forced to remain in isolation so they won't reveal any of its country's secrets to the world, as it was the most advanced country at the time. [14]

The Imperial Music Bureau, first established in the Qin Dynasty (221-07 BC), was greatly expanded under the Emperor Han Wu Di (140-87 BC) and charged with supervising court music and military music and determining what folk music would be officially recognized. [14] The legend has it that Yi Di, the wife of Yu the Great, who was the emperor of the mystical dynasty Xia, was the first to prepare an alcoholic drink for her husband. [11]

During the Ming dynasty naval mines were first made out of wrought iron, in-closed in an ox's bladder in order to make it water proof. [15]

This dynasty was a long one - it was established during the 3rd century BC and lasted all the way until the 3rd century AD. It was. [11] It was also the shortest-lived dynasty, lasting only 15 years between 221 BC and 206 BC. Nonetheless, it was hugely important,. [11]

The finds from the recent excavation of the tomb of Qin Shihuang, the first non-mythical emperor of China (259 BC - 210 BC), prove that the Chinese created forks of quite a modern design many hundreds of years ago. [11] The Chinese used 'black earth', which contained iron phosphate, to reduce the melting temperature of iron from 1130 C to 950 C. In the third century BC the Chinese were able to hold iron at a high temperature for a week, which made it almost as good as steel, good enough to produce iron plowshares and in the year 1105 to build an iron pagoda 78 feet high. [14] Note: While the first documentation of a Chinese Abacus has been dated around the 14th century, some form of the abacus or counting rods have appeared in history as early as 2700 BC in ancient Sumaria. [14] The coinage of ancient Korea (pre-13th century CE) first employed Chinese coins, known locally as the oshuchon. [28] While the earliest cannonballs were simply iron, the Chinese would be the first to expand upon the cannonballs potential for more than just a blunt force projectile, and in the mid 14 century to early 15th century we have the first descriptions of exploding cannonballs. [15] The Chinese were probably the first to waterproof the umbrella for use in the rain they used wax and lacquer (a type of paint) to repel the rain. [27] While the Byzantine Empire is said to have used a type of flame-thrower based of the works of the ancient Greeks before the Chinese, the Chinese were able to construct a better more fully functioning flame-thrower based of the same ancient Greek designs. [15]

The most popular style of the first Chinese compass used a lodestone (which automatically points to the south) and a bronze plate. [17] Compass : Recognized in Chinese as Si Nan, this early version of today's compass came in the form of a two-part instrument, the first one a metal spoon made of magnetic loadstone, the second one a square bronze plate, which featured, in Chinese characters, the main directions of North, South, East, West, etc., symbols from the I-Ching oracle books, and the finer markings of 24 compass points with the 28 lunar mansions along the outer edge. [14]

Needham’s admiration for Chinese history, culture and language, as well as his extraordinary intelligence, led him to work on a huge project, now widely known as " Science and Civilization in China ". [11] Chinese sailors during this period of history were known to sail as far away as Egypt in order to accommodate trade. [12] Japan took advantage of a weak period in Chinese history and started a war. [14] The flame thrower spouted what was called Greek fire, an ancient Greek mixture which has been altered and lost throughout history, however the Chinese were able to attain it through their trade with the Middle East via their maritime ship routes. [15]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(28 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


Top 10 Ancient Chinese Inventions

We take a lot of things for granted in the modern world. Fiber optic cables deliver en­ormous amounts of information at nearly the speed of light. You can hop into your car and shout your destination at your GPS navigation system, and a digitized and disembodied voice issues easy-to-follow directions. We have it pretty sweet here in the 21st century.

As time marches on, it becomes easier to overlook the contributions of those who came before us. Even in the 19th century, Charles Duell, patent commissioner of the United States, reportedly remarked that everything that can be invented already has been invented [source: Idea Finder].

Clearly, if Duell said such a thing, he was way off. The 20th and 21st centuries have seen enormous booms in ingenuity. However, his alleged words also reveal an understanding that seems to have been lost. He understood that humans have experienced flashes of brilliance and made discoveries throughout history. He also understood that these advances have so greatly accelerated human progress that everything following them seems to be built on the foundation provided by these early inventions.

Perhaps no other ancient culture has contributed more to this advancement of human progress than the Chinese. Here are ten of the greatest inventions of the ancient nation, in no particular order.

We'll begin with arguably the most famous ancient Chinese invention. Legend has it that gunpowder was accidentally discovered by alchemists looking for a concoction that would create immortality in humans. Ironically, what these ancient chemists stumbled upon was an invention that could easily take human life.

Early gunpowder was made of a mixture of potassium nitrate (saltpeter), charcoal and sulfur, and it was first described in 1044 in the Collection of the Most Important Military Techniques, compiled by Zeng Goliang [source: Chinese Embassy in South Africa]. It's assumed the discovery of gunpowder occurred sometime earlier, since Zeng describes three different gunpowder mixtures and the Chinese used it for signal flares and fireworks before appropriating it for military use in rudimentary grenades.

Over time, we realized that metals added to the mixture created brilliant colors in gunpowder explosions and -- kaboom! -- modern fireworks displays were born. It also makes a handy explosive for projectiles like bullets.

Where would we be without the compass? We'd be lost, that's where. Those of us who hike in the woods or fly various aircraft have the Chinese to thank for guiding us home safely.

Originally, the Chinese created their compasses to point to true south. This was because they considered south, not north, their cardinal direction [source: Wright]. The earliest compasses were created in the fourth century B.C. and were made of lodestone.

The mere existence of lodestone is the result of a bit of luck. Lodestone is a type of magnetite (a magnetic iron ore) that becomes highly magnetized when struck by lightning [source: Wasilewski]. The result is a mineral that's magnetized toward both the north and south poles. We're not certain precisely who came up with the clever idea of discerning direction using lodestone, but archaeological evidence shows the Chinese fashioned ladles that balanced on a divining board the ladles would point the direction to inner harmony for ancient Chinese soothsayers.

It's not entirely clear who first came up with the notion to convert thoughts into a written language. There was a horse race between the Sumerians in Mesopotamia, the Harappa in present day Pakistan and the Kemites in Egypt to be the first to formulate a written language. We do know that the first languages appear to have emerged around 5,000 years ago. One can even make the case that it dates back earlier -- that is, if one included artistic expressions like cave paintings as a form of written language. Once language began to develop, though, humans wrote on anything that would lay still long enough. Clay tablets, bamboo, papyrus and stone were only a few of the earliest writing surfaces.

Things changed once the Chinese -- specifically, a man named Cai Lun -- invented the prototype for modern paper. Before Cai's breakthrough, the Chinese wrote on thin strips of bamboo and lengths of silk, but in A.D. 105, he created a mixture of wood fibers and water and pressed it onto a woven cloth. The weave in the cloth allowed the moisture in the pulpy mixture to seep out, resulting in a rough paper [source: Wisconsin Paper Council]. Exactly what Cai wrote on his first piece of paper is unknown.

Anybody who loves a good bowl of pasta e fagioli or linguine and clams may want to tip his hat to the ancient Chinese for coming up with pasta -- not the Italians, as you may have suspected.

The jury is still out on this one, but it looks like the Chinese beat either the Italians or the Arabs (it's unclear which) by around 2,000 years. In 2006, archaeologists excavating a 4,000 year-old settlement at Lajia in the Qinghai Province near the Tibetian border uncovered an overturned bowl of stringy noodles buried beneath ten feet of earth [source: Roach].

The newly discovered pasta may be the world's oldest. It's made from two types of millet grain, both of which have been cultivated in China for about 7,000 years. What's more, the Chinese still use these grains to make pasta to this day.


Forgotten history?

Obviously, the Four Great Inventions are not necessarily the pinnacle of ancient China’s achievements in science and technology. In reality, the ancient Chinese can be credited with many more inventions in farming, metallurgy, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, artisanship, engineering, and wine-making.

What is clear is that much of the scientific and technological prowess of Asian societies were forgotten by the world in the last few centuries as the West grew in its stature globally. Even so, it is likely that the rapid rise of China, India, and other Asian countries will eventually correct this historical oversight.


Watch the video: 10 Inventions From Chinas Han Dynasty That Changed the World (January 2022).