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Ancient Chinese Contributions Essay

1546 words - 7 pages

Ancient Chinese Contributions |
Humanities 111/Professor Michael Curran |
by |
Rayshawn J. |
11/22/2011 |

Ancient Chinese inventions have had a huge impact on the modern world as we know it. Numerous technological and cultural advancements have spawned off from the inventions derived from Ancient China, which spans over thousands of years ago. A lot of the inventions really attest to how more advanced Ancient China was in science and technology. In the world today, they still symbolize excellence to many of the Chinese people of modern day just as much as they did then. People all over the globe have found many of the inventions to be quite useful, fulfilling several ...view middle of the document...

The invention of paper became very essential to the development of Chinese culture because it provided their society with the means of written communication. Another highly admired technique derived from Ancient China is the woodblock printing technique. The Chinese would perform this technique by first drawing or painting a design on a thin piece of paper. The design would then be transferred over to a woodblock, which was usually covered with rice paste. The front side of the paper would then be pasted against the block and then rubbed off, leaving the design imprinted onto the woodblock. Several printed woodblocks would then be placed on a printing table with warmed resin. Such a technique is known for making the Diamond Sutra, which is considered the oldest book ever made by that method. It dates all the way back 868 A.D. and provides a high technical standard for woodblock printing. Records state that the first woodblock prints were used for religious purposes. Buddhists worshippers would use the technique to duplicate images of religious amulets and Saints. Two other very innovative inventions would be gunpowder and the compass. Chinese alchemists are accredited for the creation of gunpowder. On their quest to find the secrets of "eternal life", Chinese alchemists would conduct experiments using the substances sulphur and saltpeter. In the hopes of transforming them, the alchemists would heat up both substances. They later combined the substances with charcoal and used the mixture for uses such as skin disease treatment and insect killer. It wasn't until they started filling bamboo tubes with gunpowder that they realized what gunpowder was capable of. They initially attached them to arrows and would launch them with bows, until they recognized that the tubes could launch themselves as a result from the power produced from the released gas. The first true firework was born from this discovery. In later

years, the use of gunpowder had turned into a key military force. During the Song Dynasty, military forces used gunpowder in weapons such as fire arrows and gas shells against their primary enemies. As the knowledge of the substance became known along the Silk Road, (India, the Middle East, and Europe), countries all over the world quickly implemented the same kind of warfare. The invention of the compass was initially developed as a way of fortune telling. The Chinese also felt that by aligning homes with the cardinal points of the compass it would bring forth religious and good luck, which fed into the common superstition of that time. By the late 13th Century, the Chinese were using compasses to navigate the seas around the world. It became a crucial navigational aid and helped increased trade among Mediterranean and Northern Europe. Porcelain, the spinning wheel, the mechanical clock, and the seismograph remain noteworthy inventions as well. Porcelain was developed from the firing of pottery. The invention...

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