The earliest evidence of wooden coffin remains, dating from the 5000 BC are found in the Tomb 4 at Beishouling, Shaanxi. Clear evidence of wooden coffin in forms of rectangular shape are found in Tomb 152 in an early Banpo site. The Banpo coffin belongs to a four years old girl, measuring 1.4 m (4.5 ft) by 0.55 m (1.8 ft) and 3–9 cm thick. By 3000 BC, as much as 10 wooden coffins are found in the late phase of Dawenkou culture (4100–2600 BC) site at Chengzi, Shandong. The thickness of a wooden coffin composing by more than one timber frame also emphasized the level of nobility, as mentioned in the Classic of Rites, Xunz and Zhuangzi, and have been found at several Neolithic sites; double coffin, consisting an outer and inner coffins, with the earliest finds in the Liangzhu culture (3400–2250 BC) site at Puanqiao, Zhejiang; triple coffin, consisting of two outer and one inner coffins, are found in the Longshan culture (3000–2000 BC) sites at Xizhufeng and Yinjiacheng in Shandong. The double coffin remained used during the Warring States Period (403–221 BC), such as the lacquered double coffin of Marquis Yi of Zeng, and have also found in an archaeologial site of Xiongnu's aristocracy in Inner Mongolia
The fork had been used in China long before the chopstick; a bone fork has been discovered by archaeologists at a burial site of the early Bronze Age Qijia culture (2400–1900 BC), and forks have been found in tombs of the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 – c. 1050 BC) and subsequent Chinese dynasties.
· Rowing oars have been used since the early Neothilic period; a canoe-shaped pottery and six wooden oars dating from the 6000 BC have been discovered in a Hemudu culture site at Yuyao, Zhejiang. In 1999, an oar measuring 63.4 cm (2 ft) in length, dating from 4000 BC, has also been unearthed at Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
· In 2005, an archaeological excavation at the Lajia site of the Qijia culture (2400–1900 BC) revealed 4,000-year-old noodles made of millet (instead of traditional wheat flour) preserved by an upturned earthenware bowl that had created a vacuum between it and the sediment it was found on; the noodles resemble the traditional lamian noodle of China, which is made by "repeatedly pulling and stretching the dough by hand," according to a BBC News report on the find.
According to a Library of Congress website, the Chinese have used the bristle toothbrush since 1498, during the reign of the Hongzhi Emperor (r. 1487–1505) of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644); it also adds that the toothbrush was not mass-produced until 1780, when they were sold by a William Addis of Clerkenwald, England. In accordance with the Library of Congress website, scholar John Bowman also writes that the bristle toothbrush using pig bristles was invented in China during the 1490s. While Bonnie L. Kendall agrees with this, she noted that a predecessor existed in ancient Egypt in the form of a twig that was frayed at the end.
Dominoes, Chinese: The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) author Xie Zhaozhe (1567–1624) initiated the legend that dominoes were first presented to the imperial court in 1112. However, the oldest confirmed written mention of dominoes in China comes from the Former Events in Wulin (i.e. the capital Hangzhou) written by the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) author Zhou Mi (1232–1298), who listed "pupai" (gambling plaques or dominoes) as well as dice as items sold by peddlers during the reign of Emperor Xiaozong of Song (r. 1162–1189). Andrew Lo asserts that Zhou Mi meant dominoes when referring to pupai, since the Ming author Lu Rong (1436–1494) explicitly defined pupai as dominoes (in regards to a story of a suitor who won a maiden's hand by drawing out four winning pupai from a set). The earliest known manual written about dominoes is the Manual of the Xuanhe Period (1119–1125) written by Qu You (1347–1433). In the Encyclopedia of a Myriad of Treasures, Zhang Pu (1602–1641) described the game of laying out dominoes as pupai, although the character for pu had changed (yet retained the same pronunciation). Traditional Chinese domino games include Tien Gow, Pai Gow, Che Deng, and others. It should be noted that the thirty-two-piece Chinese domino set (made to represent each possible face of two thrown dice and thus have no blank faces) differs from the twenty-eight-piece domino set found in in the West during the mid 18th century (in France and Italy).
Fishing reel: In literary records, the earliest evidence of the fishing reel comes from a 4th century AD work entitled Lives of Famous Immortals. The earliest known depiction of a fishing reel comes from a Southern Song (1127–1279) painting done in 1195 by Ma Yuan (c. 1160–1225) called "Angler on a Wintry Lake," showing a man sitting on a small sampan boat while casting out his fishing line. Another fishing reel was featured in a painting by Wu Zhen (1280–1354) The book Tianzhu lingqian (Holy Lections from Indian Sources), printed sometime between 1208 and 1224, features two different woodblock print illustrations of fishing reels being used. An Armenian parchment Gospel of the 13th century shows a reel (though not as clearly depicted as the Chinese ones) The Sancai Tuhui, a Chinese encyclopedia published in 1609, features the next known picture of a fishing reel and vividly shows the windlass pulley of the device. These five pictures mentioned are the only ones which feature fishing reels before the year 1651 (when the first English illustration was made); after that year they became commonly depicted in world art.
During the early Song Dynasty (960–1279), urban shopkeepers of the merchant middle class often had little time to eat at home, so they ventured out to eat at a variety of places such as temples, taverns, tea houses, food stalls, and restaurants which provided business for nearby brothels, singing-girl houses, and drama theatres; this along with traveling foreigners and Chinese who migrated to urban centers from regions with different cooking styles encouraged a demand for a variety of flavors served at urban restaurants, giving rise to the menu.
Clapper-bells made of pottery have been found in several archaeological sites; 1 in a Yangshao site at Dahecun, Henan; 1 in a Daxi site at Yijiashan, Hubei; 7 in the Majiayao sites in Gansu; 2 in the Longshan sites at Baiying and Wadian, Henan; 1 in a Shijiahe site at Tianmen, Hubei; 2 in a Qijia site at Dahezhuang, Gansu. The earliest metal bells, with one found in the Taosi site, and four in the Erlitou site, dated to about 2000 BC, may have been derived from the earlier pottery prototype. Early bells not only have an important role in generating metal sound, but arguably played a prominent cultural role. With the emergence of other kinds of bells during the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 – c. 1050 BC), they were relegated to subservient functions; at Shang and Zhou sites, they are also found as part of the horse-and-chariot gear and as collar-bells of dogs
Toilet paper was first mentioned by the official Yan Zhitui (531–591) in the year 589 during the Sui Dynasty (581–618), with full evidence of continual use in subsequent dynasties. In the year 851 during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), a Muslim Arab traveler from the Middle East commented that the Chinese used paper instead of water to clean themselves while going to the bathroomBy the mid 14th century during the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), it was written that ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets of toilet paper were manufactured annually in Zhejiang province alone. It is also written that emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) used perfumed toilet paper.
The first accounts of bombs made of cast iron shells packed with explosive gunpowder—as opposed to earlier types of casings—was written in the 13th century in China. The term was coined for this bomb (i.e. "thunder-crash bomb") during a Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) naval battle of 1231 against the Mongols, yet the written account did not explicitly state that iron was used. The History of Jin 《金史》 (compiled by 1345) states that in 1232, as the Mongol general Subutai (1176–1248) descended on the Jin stronghold of Kaifeng, the defenders had a "thunder-crash bomb" which "consisted of gunpowder put into an iron container...then when the fuse was lit (and the projectile shot off) there was a great explosion the noise whereof was like thunder, audible for more than a hundred li, and the vegetation was scorched and blasted by the heat over an area of more than half a mou. When hit, even iron armour was quite pierced through." The Song Dynasty (960–1279) official Li Zengbo wrote in 1257 that arsenals should have several hundred thousand iron bomb shells available and that when he was in Jingzhou, about one to two thousand were produced each month for dispatch of ten to twenty thousand at a time to Xiangyang and Yingzhou. The significance of this, as Joseph Needham states, is that a "high-nitrate gunpowder mixture had been reached at last, since nothing less would have burst the iron casing.
The Chinese discovered gunpoweder by accident during the Song period. Inventors trying to find a long-life potion for the emperor combined a series of minerals, only to have the mixture explode in their faces. At first the Chinese used gunpowder only for fireworks. But during the Song period, the first military rockets were developed. By the eleventh century, the Chinese had invented a kind of hand grenade and a number of missiles. The two-stage rocket shown, invented in the thirteenth century, was used in naval warfare.
Like many other civilizations, the Chinese were fascinated by numbers and by what appeared to be mystical relationships between them. The abacus, invented by the Southern Song, can be used to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and solve other mathematics problems. It consists of several columns of beads, seperated by a crossbar. From right to left, the columns, stand for the ones place, the tens place, the hundreds place, and so on. The beads above the crossbar each represent five and those below the bar, one. Math problems are worked by moving beads toward and away from the crossbar.
Other aids used were counting rods made out of bamboo sticks about 15 centimeters long and could be used with great speed and efficency. How would you like to use an abacus instead of your hundred dollar graphing calculator? I’m sure many would choose the latter.