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Ancient Chinese Contributions - Essay Example

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Ancient Chinese contributions to the world are numerous, including tea, silk, the umbrella and more. Of these, the noteworthy contributions of the Han, Tang, Ming and Song dynasties are, respectively, the mariner’s compass, gunpowder, porcelain and movable printing type. …
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Download file to see previous pages Ancient Chinese contributions to civilization are numerous and continue to influence contemporary European and Asian culture. These contributions span all aspects of life, ranging from science and technology, to government, philosophy and art. As the various dynasties succeeded each other in Chinese history, each dynasty made its own unique contribution to the collective heritage of the world. A comprehensive list of Chinese contributions is amazing in its variety and its penetration into every aspect of our lives. This list includes silk, tea, porcelain, paper, printing, gunpowder, the mariner’s compass, plants (peach, apricot, citrus fruits, chrysanthemums, camellias and gingko), zinc, lacquer, medicines and leisure activities (playing cards, dominoes, kites and shadow play). The ornamental and exotic fish in aquariums and the folding parasol also originated from ancient China. (Bodde, 1942). This list is by no means exhaustive: some other Chinese contributions are the philosophic doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism, the civil service examination, paper money, matches, the seismograph, stirrups, plowshares and calligraphy. (Caldwell and Fullem, 2006).
The Han dynasty (202 B.C. – 220 A.D.) remains one of the most prolific contributors to civilization. The Silk Road, papermaking, iron technology, glazed pottery, the wheelbarrow, the seismograph, the compass, ships’ rudder, horse stirrups, the Chinese examination system, weaving and embroidery are all contributions from this period. (Caldwell and Fullem, 2006). ...
These early compasses were south-pointers: south being the primary direction for the Chinese. A magnetized needle (obtained by rubbing an iron needle with a lodestone), was floated in a bowl of water with directional markings, or suspended from a thread, and incorporated the principle of magnetic deviation. The compass went on to become a navigational device at sea and on land, and made China the greatest sea power in the world. It cannot be denied that the Chinese invention of the compass is one of the most important milestones in the discovery of new trade routes and pioneered world navigation. (Bodde, 1942). The Tang dynasty (618 A.D. – 906 A.D) contributed the culture of tea drinking, scroll painting, gunpowder, civil service examinations, the flame thrower, brandy and whiskey, poetry, music and dance, and the doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism. The Chinese invention of gunpowder began with refinement of sulphur and saltpeter by alchemists. (Caldwell and Fullem, 2006). The initial use of gunpowder in fireworks and religious rituals was followed by its incorporation in warfare in the form of explosives: canons, flamethrowers, bombs and rockets. From simple bamboo tubes filled with gunpowder, the Chinese incorporated rocket fire-arrows in warfare. The Chinese military rockets were large and powerful, and were packed with gunpowder and iron shrapnel. It can also be said that the idea of the internal combustion engine originated in China, as the idea of an explosion in a self-contained cylinder was incorporated in these rockets: the rockets were designed to hold an iron pot which held and directed the thrust of the gunpowder propellant. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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