Han Dynasty. The Wheelbarrow: China. First Century BCE. Wheelbarrows did not exist in Europe before the eleventh or twelfth century (the earliest known Western depiction is in a window at Chartres Cathedral, dated around 1220 CE). Descriptions of the wheelbarrow in China refer to first century BCE, and the oldest surviving picture, a frieze relief from a tomb-shrine in Szechuan province, dates from about 118 CE.



Chopsticks originated in ancient China as early as the Shang dynasty (1600-1100 BC) [1] and were widely used throughout East Asia. Tools resembling chopsticks were also unearthed in the archaeological site Meggido in Israel. This discovery may reveal the existence of a trade relationship between the Middle East and Asia in early antiquity or may be an independent parallel development. Chopsticks were also common household items of civilized Uyghurs on the Mongolian steppes during the 6th–8th centuries.[1]


The Kite

No one knows for certain where the kite originated, but many believe it was invented in China a couple thousand years ago. Many credit the Chinese with the kite because they had bamboo to build the frame and silk to make the sail and flying line. Both materials were strong enough and light enough to fly.

There are many legends about the origins of the kite. One suggests the idea came to a Chinese farmer who tied a string to his hat to keep it from blowing away. Kite maker Kungshu P'an is said to have made bird-shaped kits that could fly for up to three days.

The earliest written account of kite flying was about 200 B.C., when the Chinese General Han Hsin used a kite as a kind of tape measure. He flew it over a walled city he wanted to attack as a way to measure how far his army would have to tunnel underground to enter undetected.

Another story tells of a Chinese general named Huan Theng, who got an idea after a gust of wind swept his hat from his head. One night, the general flew noise-making kites over an enemy camp. The shrieking from the sky so frightened the enemy soldiers that they fled in terror.

Other Chinese legends tell how kites were used to lift observers into the sky to survey a battlefield before fighting began and were used to send messages during wartime.

Kites were introduced to Europe by explorers returning from Asia. Italian merchant Marco Polo carefully documented how kites were built and flown.