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Ancient Chinese Contributions Essay

1355 words - 6 pages

Today's world is slowly developing one global culture. Countries share elements of their cultures with one another, and groups of people grow to understand one another better. The United States of America is a great example of a country whose culture is comprised of bits and pieces of many other cultures. One culture in particular that has had an effect on many Americans is the Chinese culture. China's long history has seen some extremely important inventions emerge, most noticeably gunpowder, paper making, compass, and silk.
Few substances in history have had as profound an effect on human history as gunpowder... and its discovery was an accident! Ancient alchemists in ...view middle of the document...

Xuan paper is soft, smooth, white, absorbent and very durable. The invention and use of paper brought about a revolution in writing materials, paving the way for the invention of printing technology in the years to come.
Paper money- allows our entire banking system to work smoothly; allows people to carry large amounts of denominations with a minimum weight. The Song dynasty was the first to issue true paper money in 1023, and it did so at first cautiously, issuing small amounts, used in a limited area, and good for a specific time period. Marco Polo was impressed by the efficiency of the Chinese system, as he chronicles in his The Travels of Marco Polo (Il Milione). "All these pieces of paper are issued with as much solemnity and authority as if they were of pure gold or silver; and on every piece a variety of officials, whose duty it is, have to write their names, and to put their seals. And when all is prepared duly, the chief officer deputed by the Khan smears the seal entrusted to him with vermilion, and impresses it on the paper, so that the form of the seal remains imprinted upon it in red; the money is then authentic. Anyone forging it would be punished with death. And the Khan causes every year to be made such a vast quantity of this money, which costs him nothing, that it must equal in amount all the treasure of the world." I feel that this is the one invention that in today’s world we cannot live without and has influenced all countries the most.
The magnetic compass was invented in China for use by Feng Shui practitioners, to “align” the forces of the earth to help them maintain balance in their lives for later to become an important navigational tool. It was adapted from the “south pointing spoon,” or Si Nan. Because of variations over time in the earth’s magnetic fields, three compass systems were superimposed over each other during the span of half a millennium to establish the compass that Feng Shui practitioners use today. It consists of a magnetized pointer free to align itself accurately with Earth's magnetic field, which is of great assistance in navigation. The face of the compass generally highlights the cardinal points of north, south, east and west. A compass can be used in conjunction with a marine chronometer to calculate longitude and a sextant to calculate latitude, providing a very accurate navigation capability. This device greatly improved maritime trade by making travel safer and more efficient.
Although silk is naturally created by silkworms, China invented how to harvest the silk and use it in clothing and paper at times. Silk was also a vital invention to Ancient China’s economy, as Europe imported a great deal of silk. They also coined the techniques of creating clothes, fans, kites, paper, and many other articles from it. Ancient China’s creation of silk allowed China to connect to the outside world through trade and led to the creation of the Silk...

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