Inventions: Each paragraph details one invention
COMPASS | MEDICINE | GUNPOWDER | PRINTING | PAPER | EMBROIDERY | SILK
· People of Zheng and Qin Dynasty
The compass may have been used during the 3rd century B.C., or perhaps, if old tales have any validity, even 300 years earlier. The earliest documentation that comes from the use of the compass was found in the 3rd century. "When the people of the State of Zheng go out in search of jade, they carry a south pointer with them so as not to lose their way in the mountains." This quote was one of the earliest documentation which tell the use of a tool which they used to find their way of getting back home and not getting lost in their travels. The worlds first compass was first made in China during the Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.), by balancing a piece of loadstone carved in the shape of a laddle on a round, bronze plate. The first person to use this tool was Zheng He (1371-1435), a moslem from the Yunnan province. By order of the emperor he made seven ocean voyages between 1405 and 1433.
· Zhou Dynasty
Chinese medicine was not found by a single person. On the contrary, it was a effort made by several people which contributed to the advancement in this field. The Book of Rites, a manual for ceremonies written in the Zhou dynasty (11th c.-256 B.C.), records the court physicians' division of medical teaching into internal medicine, surgery, nutrition and veterinary practice. The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Internal Medicine, which appeared during the Warring States period (475- 221 B.C.), systematically presented what was known in China of physiology, pathology, diagnostics, treatment and preventive medicine. Bian Que, a noted doctor at that time, was the first man in the world to use the pulse for diagnosis. In the first century came Shen Nong's Cannon on Materia Medica, China's earliest book on pharmacology compiled systematically. Hua Tuo was also a famous doctor in the 2nd century, that applied an anesthetic powder in abdominal surgery.
· Warring States and Taoist Alchemists
Taoist alchemists were some of the most important contributors to the invention of Gunpowder. However, many different groups and individuals can be named as contributors to this invention. During the reign of Emperor Wu Di (156-87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty extensive research was done on Eternal life and some of the substances used by the alchemists were sulphur and saltpeter, and as a result many fires were started. Wei Boyang was a famous alchemist that wrote a book called Book of the Kinship of the Three with enormous amount of information. By the 8th century in the mid Tang dynasty, the potentialities of sulphur and saltpeter when combined with charcoal were realized as the alchemists discovered an explosive mixture which was called huoyao or gunpowder
· Tang Dynasty and Bi Sheng
The technique of printing with carved wood blocks appeared about the 7th century, early in the Tang dynasty. Block printing reached it's golden age during the Song dynasty which was in the years 960-1279 as the imperial patronage encouraged the publication of large numbers of books by the central and local governments. Movable type was first invented by Bi Sheng of the Song dynasty between the years 1041 and 1048. This invention was recorded by his contemporary Shen Kuo which recorded it in his Dreampool Essays. During the 13-14th centuries, the agriculturist Wang Zhen made an important contribution to the development of movable type printing.
Paper (Han Dynasty)
Although it is recorded that the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) court eunuch Cai Lun (c. 50–AD 121) invented the papermaking process and established the use of new raw materials used in making paper, ancient padding and wrapping paper artifacts dating to the 2nd century BC have been found in China, the oldest example of paper being a map from Fangmatan, Tianshui; by the 3rd century, paper as a writing medium was in widespread use, replacing traditional but more expensive writing mediums such as strips of bamboo rolled into threaded scrolls, scrolls and strips of silk, wet clay tablets hardened later in a furnace, and wooden tablets (use of oracle bones as a writing medium died out after the Shang Dynasty).The earliest known piece of paper with writing on it was discovered in the ruins of a Chinese watchtower at Tsakhortei, Alxa League, where Han Dynasty troops had deserted their position in AD 110 following a Xiongnu attack. In the papermaking process established by Cai in 105, a boiled mixture of mulberry tree bark, hemp, old linens, and fish nets created a pulp that was pounded into paste and stirred with water; a wooden frame sieve with a mat of sewn reeds was then dunked into the mixture, which was then shaken and then dried into sheets of paper that were bleached under the exposure of sunlight; K.S. Tom says this process was gradually improved through leaching, polishing and glazing to produce a smooth, strong paper.
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.