Author: changabula

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

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Post time 2007-1-25 18:28:11 |Display all floors
Chinese Embroidery

Chinese Embroidery is yet another important contribution to society from the Chinese people.

Archaeological evidence for embroidery dates back to the Western Zhou period (11th-8th centuries B.C.). Archaeologists found evidence of embroidery in a tomb which was excavated in 1974 in Baoji Shaanxi province.It contained impressions of plaited stitch embroidery.

With the arriving of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) embroidery was widely used for decorating garments and articles of daily use.

  1. http://library.thinkquest.org/15618/inventor.htm#INDEX
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Implications:
The work that the chinese did in the area of embroidery has contributed a great deal to European textiles and fashion including the great tapestries of Europe. Tapestries are very beautiful pieces of art work that are hung from the wall. They are usually very large. They are hand-woven fabrics with pictorial designs that have been sown into them. European aristocrats would hang them from the walls of the rooms in their castles and manor houses.


The oldest cloths ever found date back to the Warring States period and were unearthed in Hebei province, as the unlined garment with the tiger below and the phoenix. While not much can be said on this period, silk weawing and embroidery under the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220AD) reached an high development.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-30 07:07 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 18:29:50 |Display all floors
Silk

One of China's greatest contributions to the world was the production of raw silk and the raising of silkworms. Legend says that Lei Zu, the wife of the Yellow Emperor of Chia was sitting under the mulberry trees in the garden of her palace when she suddenly heard a rustling in the leaves. As she looked up, she saw silkworms spinning their cocoons. So she took one in her hand and found that the silken thread was shining, soft and flexible. She then thought that if she could wind the silken thread off and weave into clothes, it would create a very beautiful cloth

  1. http://library.thinkquest.org/15618/implicat.htm
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Chinese scientists recognized the strength of the long fibers found in the silkworm's cocoon. Chinese artisans were the first to use those long continuous filaments to weave textiles such as satin, damask, gauze, and brocade.

In the second century AD, the Chinese invented a drawloom. Nearly as high as a two-story building, the drawloom made large-scale production of brocade possible.

Implications:
Silk is one of the most sought after fabrics of the world. Use of silk in all parts of the world has become very common place. The Europeans welcomed silk as the fabric of nobility. Silk gowns were always worn by the kings court. High quality silk is very beautiful and is only for those that have a great deal of wealth


[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-2-10 02:29 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 18:53:14 |Display all floors
Bronze

The Chinese craft of bronze-casting has endured for nearly four thousand years.

Scientists studied and learned the properties of the metal ore that they found in nature. Science revealed the idea and process for mining and smelting the metal. The craft of casting the hot liquid metal was born.

Elaborate bronze artifacts date back thousands of years.

  1. http://sln.fi.edu/tfi/info/current/crafts.html
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-30 07:11 AM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 19:01:36 |Display all floors
Iron plows

Of all the advantages China had for centuries over the rest of the world, the greatest was the superiority of its plows.

Improved iron supplies and casting techniques in China by the third century BC led to the design of iron plowshares called kuan. Greek and Roman shares were usually simply tied on the bottom of the sole with bits of rope, which made them flimsy compared to the Chinese ones.

The plow in the Han Dynasty had moldboards, which could turn over and smash the soil. The animal-dray seed plough appeared during the reign of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty; it is recorded that one such plough could plant more than a hectare each day. One of the excavated iron lions founded in the Five Dynasties (907-960) is as heavy as 40 tons. By the first century BC moldboards were available for Chinese plows. Those plows could invert the soil and turn a true furrow.

In Europe, moldboards were unknown until late 10th century, and then they were crude in their design.

Several improvements and innovations, such as the three-shared plow, the lou li (plow-and-sow) implement, and the harrow, were developed subsequently. By the end of the Song Dynasty (960-1279),

When plow methods were introduced into Holland and England in the seventeenth century from China, they sparked the European agricultural revolution, and it is believed that European agricultural revolution brought up the Industrial Revolution. Thus we can say, Chinese played an importrant role in this.

  1. http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_madeinchina/2005-04/30/content_68358.htm
  2. http://library.thinkquest.org/23062/frameset.html
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Second figure shows a farmer operating a combination polw and seeder, pulled by a water buffalo.

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-3-7 07:11 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 19:06:34 |Display all floors
The Earliest Seismoscope

The Chinese philosopher Chang Hêng invented the earliest known seismoscope in 132 A.D. The instrument was said to resemble a wine jar of diameter six feet . On the outside of the vessel there were eight dragon heads, facing the eight principal directions of the compass. Below each of the dragon heads was a toad, with its mouth opened toward the dragon. The mouth of each dragon held a ball. At the occurrence of an earthquake, one of the eight dragon-mouths would release a ball into the open mouth of the toad situated below. The direction of the shaking determined which of the dragons released its ball. The instrument is reported to have detected a four-hundred-mile distant earthquake which was not felt at the location of the seismoscope.

The inside of the Chinese seismoscope is unknown. Seismologists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have speculated on mechanisms which would duplicate the behavior of Chang Hêng's seismoscope, but would not be beyond the Chinese technology of Chang Hêng's time. All assume the use of some kind of pendulum as the primary sensing element, the motion of which would activate one of the dragons. In his translation of the original Chinese description of Chang Hêng's seismoscope. English seismologist, Milne implied that the pendulum was a suspended mass, a common pendulum. Seismologist, Imamura thought an inverted pendulum was more probable. Hagiwara constructed an inverted-pendulum seismoscope which behaved nearly as Chang Hêng's was reported to have behaved. The model designed by Hagiwara, however, responded most frequently to transverse motion, and indicated a direction normal to the azimuth between observer and epicenter, whereas the Chinese seismoscope was reported to have indicated the azimuth of the earthquake. It has been suggested that Chang Hêng's "earthquake weathercock" was calibrated empirically for its direction-determining properties.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blseismograph2.htm
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Cross-section of the kettle of the earth quake weathercock, showing the pendium hanging from the domed cover and the lever mechanism that opened and closed the dragon's mouth. When the dragon's mouth opened, a ball dropped into the mouth of the frog below:

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-29 08:23 PM ]
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Post time 2007-1-25 19:11:04 |Display all floors
Rockets

Just when the first true rockets appeared is unclear. Stories of early rocket-like devices appear sporadically through the historical records of various cultures. Perhaps the first true rockets were accidents.

In the first century A.D., the Chinese reportedly had a simple form of gunpowder made from saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal dust. To create explosions during religious festivals, they filled bamboo tubes with a mixture and tossed them into fires. Perhaps some of those tubes failed to explode and instead skittered out of the fires, propelled by the gases and sparks produced by the burning gunpowder.

The Chinese began experimenting with the gunpowder filled tubes. At some point, they attached bamboo tubes to arrows and launched them with bows. Soon they discovered that these gunpowder tubes could launch themselves just by the power produced from the escaping gas. The true rocket was born.

The date reporting the first use of true rockets was in 1232. At this time, the Chinese and the Mongols were at war with each other. During the battle of Kai-Keng, the Chinese repelled the Mongol invaders by a barrage of "arrows of flying fire." These fire-arrows were a simple form of a solid-propellant rocket. A tube, capped at one end, contained gunpowder. The other end was left open and the tube was attached to a long stick. When the powder was ignited, the rapid burning of the powder produced fire, smoke, and gas that escaped out the open end and produced a thrust. The stick acted as a simple guidance system that kept the rocket headed in one general direction as it flew through the air. It is not clear how effective these arrows of flying fire were as weapons of destruction, but their psychological effects on the Mongols must have been formidable.

More info:
The first of all multi- stage rockets, the 'fire- dragon issuing from the water', of the early or mid fourteenth century, which was used in naval engagements. When the rockets near the head burnt out, they lit fuses which ignited the second-stage rockets at the rear. The tube with the dragon's head was five feet long, and the fuses ran inside the body. This rocket flew in a flat trajectory, three or four feet above the water, for over a mile. It was thus an eerie forerunner of the modern Exocet surface-skiniming naval rockets.

  1. http://library.advanced.org/23062/frameset.html
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[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-25 08:46 PM ]

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Post time 2007-1-25 19:18:29 |Display all floors
Chain Pump

The Chinese invented the chain pump in the first century AD

The chain pump allows water to the pumped from lower to higher elevations. The chain pumps were used for draining and pumping in civil engineering, but what is more important is it was used for irrigation. Irrigation allows for greater and more intense farming, thus resulting in a better crop yield. With the greater crop yields larger populations can be supported.

The chain pump was exported to all parts of the world by way of visiting ambassadors and dignitaries. The first European chain pump appeared in the sixteenth century, and was a direct copy of the Chinese version.

  1. http://inventors.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ/Ya&sdn=inventors&cdn=money&tm=4&f=00&tt=14&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.cyberessays.com/History/90.htm
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  1. http://library.thinkquest.org/23062/frameset.html
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A wood cut printed in Exploritation of the Works of Nature in 1637, showing two men working a square-pallet chain pump by treadles:

[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-1-29 07:02 PM ]
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