Author: changabula

Chinese Inventions, Discoveries and Other Contributions   [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:21:32 |Display all floors

The area that let China grow and expand was the innovations in the area of agriculture.

The greatest achievement in the field of agriculture is row cultivation and  intensive hoeing.

In Europe, as with the rest of the world, they practiced scatter seed farming. Scatter seed farming is the practice of throwing the seed onto the fields at random. By throwing the seed randomly, half the seeds would not grow and make it impossible to weed the field.

The Chinese on the other hand, planted individual seeds and rows, thus reducing seed loss. The planting of crops in rows also allowed for intensive hoeing, which in turn reduce weeds.

Another major advancement in the field of agriculture is the seed drill. The seed drill complements the row farming of the Chinese. The seed drill is a device that plants the seed into the ground. It replaces the farmer to plant the seeds by hand, thus allowing the farmer to plant more acreage. The first seed drill was introduced to Europe in sixteenth century, 3500 years after the Chinese had invented it.

China revolutionized agriculture by harnessing animals.

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:29:46 |Display all floors
Suspension Bridge

The suspension bridge, invented by the Chinese in the first century AD, is still the bridge of choice when one has to span a great distance.

Rope made from bamboo, itself a form of grass, was used to hang the Anlan suspension bridge in China, first constructed about A.D. 300. The bridge spans the 1,000-foot wide Min River, using piers that support eight sections of cable to do so.

People have walked across the Anlan Bridge for 1,700 years.

Until steel cables were used in 1975, the Anlan suspension ropes were made of shredded bamboo twisted into cables, like hemp ropes are. The Chinese also used bamboo-cabled suspension bridges to cross fast-flowing rivers and deep ravines throughout their history. Later, the Chinese built iron-chained suspension bridges—long before the West used this method.

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The Anlan Suspension Bridge crosses the Minjiang River bestriding the water of the Inner Canal and Outer Canal to connect Erwang Temple with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. Anlan Suspension Bridge has been around since ancient times, when it was known as Zhupu Bridge. During the Song Dynasty, it was rebuilt and called Pingshi Bridge. Pingshi Bridge was destroyed in the war at the end of Ming Dynasty.

A new bridge was built to replace it during the eighth year of Jiaqing Reign, during the Qing Dynasty (1803). The person who proposed rebuilding the bridge was He Xiande and his wife. Since then, it was called Anlan Bridge, meaning "couple" or "husband-and-wife" bridge, in reference to the couple who proposed it.

Anlan Bridge is 261 meters long. It is supported by wooden pegs and stone piers. The bridge crosses the river by using bamboo ropes. The bridge is secured by bamboo ropes on two sides, in length of which are about 500 meters each. When the bridge was restored, steel ropes were used instead of bamboo ropes. The wooden pegs which supported the cable were changed to ferroconcrete pegs, and the length of the bridge become 240 meters.

Seen from the distance, the Anlan Bridge is like the rainbow in the sky. Crossing the bridge, you can see the Minjiang water roaring towards in the west and irrigation channels crossing each other in the east. The general picture and functions of Dujiangyan irrigation system are all clear at a glance.

Anlan Suspension Bridge, on the slopes of Mount Yulei in Dujiangyan:

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-23 12:48 PM ]

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:37:02 |Display all floors

Chuko Liang (181-234 A.D.) of China is considered to be the inventor of the wheelbarrow. Liang was a general who used the wheelbarrows to transport supplies injured soldiers.

The Chinese wheelbarrows had two wheels and required two men to propel and steer.

Wheelbarrows did not exist in Europe before theeleventh or twelfth century (the earliest known Western depiction is in a window at Chartres Cathedral, dated around 1220 AD). Descriptions of the wheelbarrow in China refer to first century BC, and the oldest surviving picture, a frieze relief from a tomb-shrine in Szechuan province, dates from about 118 AD

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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-10 03:25 AM ]

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:40:06 |Display all floors
India Ink

The Chinese invented and perfected 'Indian Ink'.

Originally designed for blacking the surfaces of raised stone-carved hieroglyphics, the ink was a mixture of soot from pine smoke and lamp oil mixed with the gelatin of donkey skin and musk.

The ink invented by the Chinese philosopher, Tien-Lcheu (2697 B.C.), became common by the year 1200 B.C.

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:45:36 |Display all floors
Tea Drinking and the Tea Shredder

The most popular beverage in the world, tea was first drunk under the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung around 2737 B.C.

An unknown Chinese inventor invented the tea shredder, a small device that shredded tea leaves in preparation for drinking. The tea shredder used a sharp wheel in the center of a ceramic or wooden pot that would slice the leaves into thin strips.

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All tea originally came from China although its origins are unclear. Chinese legend has tea being discovered over 5000 years ago when some tea leaves fell into a boiling pot. Historical records point to tea being discovered around the Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). Tea drinking slowly spread throughout China and arrived in the north during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). During the Tang, tea was distributed through China in many ways; its natural state of dried leaves, pressed cakes, powders, and even with added flavor. From China, tea cultivation and drinking spread to Japan, Java, India, and Sri Lanka. Europe, known for its great consumption of tea, did not begin importing tea until the early 17th century.

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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-10 03:27 AM ]

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Post time 2007-1-25 20:01:15 |Display all floors

Chopsticks play an important role in Chinese food culture. Chopsticks are called "Kuaizi" in Chinese and were called "Zhu" in ancient times (see the characters above). Chinese people have been using kuaizi as one of the main tableware for more than 3,000 years.

It was recorded in Liji (The Book of Rites) that chopsticks were used in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC - 1100 BC). It was mentioned in Shiji (the Chinese history book) by Sima Qian (about 145 BC) that Zhou, the last king of the Shang Dynasty (around 1100 BC), used ivory chopsticks. Experts believe the history of wood or bamboo chopsticks can be dated to about 1,000 years earlier than ivory chopsticks. Bronze chopsticks were invented in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 BC - 771 BC). Lacquer chopsticks from the Western Han (206 BC - 24 AD) were discovered in Mawangdui, China. Gold and silver chopsticks became popular in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). It was believed that silver chopsticks could detect poisons in food.

Chopsticks can be classified into five groups based on the materials used to make them, i.e., wood, metal, bone, stone and compound chopsticks. Bamboo and wood chopsticks are the most popular ones used in Chinese homes.

There are a few things to avoid when using chopsticks. Chinese people usually don't beat their bowls while eating, since the behavior used to be practiced by beggars. Also don't insert chopsticks in a bowl upright because it is a custom exclusively used in sacrifice.

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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-22 10:38 PM ]

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Post time 2007-1-25 20:06:35 |Display all floors

Around 400 BC - Flight in China

The kite, a Chinese invention, has been praised as the forerunner of the modern aeroplane. In the pavilion of aircraft of the National Aeronautics and Space Museum, Washington D. C., a plaque says, "the earliest aircraft are the kites and missiles of China".

The discovery of the kite that could fly in the air by the Chinese started humans thinking about flying. Kites were used by the Chinese in religious ceremonies. They built many colorful kites for fun, also. More sophisticated kites were used to test weather conditions. Kites have been important to the invention of flight as they were the forerunner to balloons and gliders.

Two kitemakers, Gongshu Pan who made kites shaped like birds which could fly for up to three days, and Mo Di (who is said to have spent three years building a special kite) were famous in Chinese traditional stories from as early as the fifth century BCE. Kites were used in wartime as early as 1232 when kites with messages were flown over Mongol lines by the Chinese. The strings were cut and the kites landed among the Chinese prisoners, inciting them to revolt and escape. Kites fitted with hooks and bait were used for fishing, and kites were fitted with strings and whistles to make musical sounds while flying. The kite was first mentioned in Europe in a popular book of marvels and tricks in 1589

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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-22 10:11 PM ]

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