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List of Chinese inventions and technology


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#1 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:51 PM

Source: http://en.wikipedia....nese_inventions

China has been the source of some of the world's most significant inventions, including the 4 great inventions of ancient China (compass, printing, paper, gunpowder), as coined by British scholar Joseph Needam

First inventions
China is a country where many inventions made their first appearances. The inventions which made their first appearances in China are listed below (Table 56, pgs. 176-180 in Needham's Volume 4 Part 2, Science and Civilization in China).



Other inventions
Other things which are considered by various authors to have been first discovered, discovered contemporaneously with other civilizations, discovered separately after other civilizations, or simply used by the Chinese:



Native traditions

Posted ImagePosted Image

"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#2 tung2sai

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:32 PM

Wasn't there already a thread about this, but like some people weren't too happy with how it was worded?

#3 Non-Han Nan Ban

Non-Han Nan Ban

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 01:41 AM

I am PericlesofAthens over at Wiki, and I have greatly expanded and improved this article recently, with many pictures and detailed descriptions that are fully cited and referenced. I hope everyone enjoys how it looks!

Eric (En Rui)
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"Wait for the wisest of all counselors...Time"
- Pericles, 5th century BC Athenian statesman and strategos

#4 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 11:30 AM

Source : http://www.asiafines...php/t58751.html

Chinese Inventions and Discoveries Timeline:

Agriculture

Row cultivation of crops and intensive hoeing 6thC BC 2,200 years
The iron plow 6thC BC 2,300 years
Efficient horse harness -- trace 4thC BC 500 years
-- collar 3rdC BC 1,000 years
The rotary winnowing fan 2ndC BC 2,000 years
The multi-tube "modern" seed drill 2ndC BC 1,800 years

Astronomy & Cartography
Recognition of sunspots as solar phenomenon 4thC BC 2,000 years
Quantitative cartography 2ndC BC 1,300 years
Discovery of the solar wind 6thC BC 1,400 years
The Mercator map projection 10thC AD 600 years
(Mounted) Equatorial astronomical instruments 13thC AD 600 years

Engineering

Sprouting bowls and standing waves 5thC BC never
Cast iron 4thC BC 1,700 years
Double-acting piston air bellows 4thC BC 1,900 years
Double-acting piston water bellows 4thC BC 2,100 years
Crank handle 2ndC BC 1,100 years
"Cardan suspension" or Gimbals 2ndC BC 1,100 years
Manufacture of steel from cast iron 2ndC BC 2,000 years
Deep drilling for natural gas 1stC BC 1,900 years
Belt drives 1stC BC 1,800 years
Water power 1stC AD 1,200 years
Chain pump 1stC AD 1,400 years
Suspension bridge 1stC AD 1,200 years
First cybernetic machine 3rdC AD 3,000 years
Essentials of the steam engine 5thC AD 3,200 years
"Magic" mirrors 5thC AD 1,500 years
"Siemens" steel process 5thC AD 1,300 years
Segmental arch bridge AD610 500 years
Chain drive AD976 800 years
Underwater salvage operations 11thC AD 800 years

Domestic & Industrial Technology

Lacquer: the first plastic 13thC BC 3,200 years
Strong beer (sake) 11thC BC never
Petroleum and natural gas as fuel 4thC BC 2,300 years
Paper 2ndC BC 1,400 years
Wheelbarow 1stC BC 1,300 years
Sliding calipers 1stC BC 1,500 years
Magic lantern 2ndC BC 1,800 years
Fishing reel 3rdC BC 1,400 years
Stirrup 3rdC AD 300 years
Porcelain 3rdC AD 1,700 years
Biological pest control 3rdC AD 1,700 years
Umbrella 4thC AD 1,200 years
Matches AD577 1,000 years
Chess 6thC AD 500 years
Brandy and Whisky 7thC AD 500 years
Mechanical clock AD725 585 years
Printing -- block printing 8thC AD 700 years
-- movable type AD1045 400 years
playing cards 9thC AD 599 years
Paper money 9thC AD 850 years
"Permanent" lamps 9thC AD never
Spinning wheel 11thC AD 200 years

Medicine & Health
Circulation of blood 6thC BC 1,800 years
Circadian rhythms in the human body 2ndC BC 2,150 years
Endocrinlogy (glands, secretion) 2ndC BC 2,100 years
Deficiency diseases 3rdC AD 1,600 years
Diabetes detection by urine analysis 7thC AD 1,000 years
Use of thyroid hormone 7thC AD 1,250 years
Immunology -- innoculation against smallpox 10thC AD 800 years

Mathematics
Decimal system 14thC BC 2,300 years
A place for zero 4thC BC 1,400 years
Negative numbers 2ndC BC 1,700 years
Extraction of higher roots & solutions of 1stC BC 600 years
higher equations
Decimal fractions 1stC BC 1,600 years
Using algebra in geometry 3rdC AD 1,000 years
A refined table of pi 3rdC AD 1,200 years
"Pascal's" triangle of coefficients AD1100 427 years

Magnetism
First compasses 4thC BC 1,500 years
Dial and pointer devices 3rdC AD 1,200 years
Magnetic declination of Earth's magnetic field 9thC AD 600 years
Magnetic remanence and induction 11thC AD 600 years

The Physical Sciences

Geobotanical prospecting 5thC BC 2,100 years
First law of motion 4thC BC 1,300 years
Hexagonal structure of snowflakes 2ndC BC 1,800 years
Seismograph AD130 1,400 years
Spontaneous combustion 2ndC AD 1,500 years
"Modern" geology 2ndC AD 1,500 years
Phosphorescent paint 10thC AD 700 years

Transportation & Exploration
Kite 5th/4thC BC 2,000 years
Manned flight with kites 4thC BC 1,650 years
First relief maps 3rdC BC 1,600 years
First contour transport canal 3rdC BC 1,900 years
Parachute 2ndC BC 2,000 years
Miniature hot-air baloons 2ndC BC 1,400 years
Rudder 1stC AD 1,100 years
Masts/sailing: Batten sails -- staggered masts 2ndC AD never
Multiple masts, fore & Aft rigs 2ndC BC 1,200 years
Leeboards 8thC AD 800 years
Watertight compartments in ships 2ndC BC 1,707 years
Helicopter rotor & propeller 4thC AD 1,500 years
Paddle-wheel boat 5thC AD 1,000 years
Land-sailing AD650 1,050 years
Canal pound-lock AD984 400 years

Sound & Music
Large tuned bell 6thC BC 2,500 years
Tuned drums 2ndC BC unknown
Hermetically sealed research laboratories 1stC BC 2,000 years
First understanding of musical timbre 3rdC AD 1,600 years
Equal temperament in music AD1584 50 years

Warfare
Chemical warfare: poison gas, smoke bombs 4thC AD 2,300 years
& tear gas
Crossbow 4thC BC 200 years
Gunpowder 9thC AD 300 years
Flame-thrower 10thC AD 1,000 years
Flares & fireworks 10thC AD 250 years
Soft bombs & grenades AD1000 400 years
Metal-cased bombs AD1221 246 years
Land mines AD1277 126 years
Sea mines 14thC AD 200 years
Rocket 11thC AD 200 years
Multi-staged rockets 14thC AD 600 years
Guns, cannon & mortars -- firelance AD1120 450 years
-- true gun AD1280 50 years

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Abacus
Abacus Invented by the Chinese, the first record of the abacus was from a sketch of one in a book from the Yuan Dynasty (14th Century)

Silk

The Chinese knew how to produce silk at least by 1300 B.C., but not until the second century B.C. did it begin to be exported to Europe, and not until about 550 A.D., when monks who had traveled to China brought back silkworm eggs, did the West learn the Chinese secret of silk-making.

The Chinese traded silk with the Roman Empire and then with Byzantium. In return they received such items as wool, glass, and asbestos. Through the silk trade the world's two great empires in the first century A.D. Rome and Han China - were linked, mainly because Roman women wore Chinese silks. The overland trade route between China and the Mediterranean was called the "Silk Road" because China exported so much of this fabric to the West.

Weaving

Taking another cue from nature, Chinese scientists recognized the strength of the long fibers found in the silkworm's cocoon. Chinese artisans were the first to use those long continuous filaments to weave textiles such as satin, damask, gauze, and brocade. In the second century AD, the Chinese invented a drawloom. Nearly as high as a two-story building, the drawloom made large-scale production of brocade possible. In China: Ancient Arts and Sciences, crafters will be weaving on a reproduction of that ancient drawloom.


Practical Umbrella:
The first practical umbrella, invented in China during the Wei Dynasty (386-532 AD), was designed to protect from both the rain and the sun. Soon thereafter they took on a more symbolic meaning as ceremonial ornaments and momentos of the Emperor's trust.

Segmented arch -

China - 610AD, still in use

Playing Cards
Playing cards originated in the Far East in the 10th century. They may have been invented by the Chinese


Mathematical Place for Zero:

It is recognized the world-over that the Chinese took the first step in developing the concept of zero, necessary for carrying out even the most simple of mathematical computations. As early as the 4th century BCE, the Chinese started leaving a blank space for the zero symbol, used in conjunction with the traditional Chinese counting board and the smaller abacus; and evidence exists attributing to the Chinese the use of the actual "0" before 686 AD.

Water clock
The first clock that they devised was for astronomical uses. In the first clock ever, there was a puppet that would hold up a plaque that would tell the time. They also invented giant water clocks, which rang every fifteen minutes.

Rudder
Europeans adopted the rudder from the Chinese, Western ships had to use steering oars, which made long voyages of discoveries difficult. The oldest European evidence for rudders is found in church carvings around the year 1180 A


Ceramics

By the time Europe learned the secret of making porcelain in 1709, Chinese artisans had been producing it for over one thousand years. First, scientists studied and learned the properties of silicate glazes. The potter's wheel was invented to shape the clay. High-temperature kilns were constructed to fuse the glazed clay into porcelain. These three scientific realities were necessary before the fine art of porcelain-making could be practiced. Exquisite Chinese porcelain pieces remain from centuries long ago, as well as from just yesterday

Fans:
people in China began making fans about 5,000 years ago. Many Chinese fans are covered with beautiful paintings

Maritime Discoveries:
The Chinese maritime forces, therein including the sailors as well as the shipbuilders, had no comparable equals in the ancient world. They were learned, widely traveled and technically advanced. The Cape of Good Hope, Australia, trade with Africa, a possible landing in the Americas—all of these achievements have at one time or another been attributed to these formidable men. In addition, the ancient Chinese maritime forces were responsible for the invention of the rudder and watertight compartments for ship's hulls. Likewise, they are credited with innovating the use of masts and the replacement of the basic square sail with the fore-and-aft rig (allowing the ship to sail into the wind). Without these inventions, and many more maritime-related discoveries, the Western world, always a couple of steps behind, would have found it impossible to travel, conquer and rule; and, again, the course of world history would have been dramatically altered.

Dominoes:
invented nearly 1,000 years ago; ancient Chinese used dominoes to predict the future.

Acrobatics:
were being performed more than 2,000 years ago in China.

Bell:
invented in China more than 3,000 years ago. The very first bells were made of bronze.



Tea

Tea drinking originated in China and spread throughout the world. Whether a country calls the beverage "tea" (or some variant thereof) or "chai," as in Russia, depends on whether it came over the sea route or the land route from China. The sea route originated in Fukien province on China's coast, where the word for the drink in the Fukien dialect is "te." The land route originated to the north, where the term for the drink is "cha," Even today in northern England, people often speak of "having a cup of cha," although the more common term in England is "tea."


Porcelain

Porcelain, also called "china," is a type of clay pottery that was invented in China by using clay with special minerals. Chinese porcelain was exported throughout the world, and eventually the secret mineral ingredients were discovered by Europeans in 1709. Europeans began to experiment with porcelain making only after they saw and admired the Chinese porcelains.

Paper

Paper was first invented in China about 105 A.C. Its use then spread to Chinese Turkestan in central Asia, the Arab world (c. 751 A.D.), Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Spain (c. 1150 A.D.), southern France, and the rest of Europe.


Printing

The Chinese invented both block printing, to reproduce the Confucian classics that had often been carved on stone, and moveable type. It appears that Europe learned about block printing from China and did not invent it separately.

One possible source of the spread of block printing from China is playing cards, which the Chinese also invented and introduced to Europe. Another source is paper money, first printed in China in the tenth century A.D. and later introduced to Europe.


Hot air balloon

Chinese globe lanterns made of paper, like the one shown here, were used as miniature hot-air balloons in China for centuries. The invention of paper came at about the same time as the first balloons were tested - the second century BC.


Gunpowder

Gunpowder was invented in China c. 1000 A.D. and probably spread to Europe during the Mongol expansion of 1200-1300 A.D., but this has not been proven. The use of gunpowder in Europe was first recorded in 1313. Europeans used gunpowder for cannons, while the Chinese used it primarily for firewhite people. Despite such early knowledge of explosives and their use, China did not pursue the development of weaponry as did the West; ironically, it was through the use of cannons and guns that the Europeans were able to dominate China in the mid-to late-1800s.

Compass

Historians believe that the Chinese invented the magnetic compass and used it for navigation c. 1100 A.D. Arab traders sailing to China probably learned of the Chinese method of sailing by compass and returned to the West with the invention.

Blast furnace

By at least the 4th century the Chinese have developed blast furnaces to obtain cast iron from iron ore. This was 1200 years before the first blast furnace showed up in Europe

Alchemy (Chemistry)

The Taoist search for the elixir of life (a life-extending potion) led to much experimentation with changing the state of minerals. The Chinese practice appears to have spread first to the Arab world and then to Europe. Chinese alchemy predates that of the Egyptians in Alexandria and other cities by about two centuries, beginning by 133 B.C.


Civil Service

Exams for government service were introduced in both France and England in the 1800s, apparently inspired by the Chinese practice instituted almost two thousand years earlier, in 154 B.C.


Grain Storage

Henry A. Wallace, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1933 to 1940, introduced governmental storage of excess grain after reading the dissertation of a Chinese student at Columbia University on Confucian economic policies. Wallace adapted the Confucian notion of government grain purchases to provide for times of scarcity, and he introduced the practice in the U.S. to deal with over-production due to mechanization and the resulting drop in agricultural prices.

The Horse Collar:
China. Third Century BC. About the fourth century BC the Chinese devised a harness with a breast strap known as the trace harness, modified approximately one hundred later into the collar harness. Unlike the throat-and-girth harness used in the West, which choked a horse and reduced its efficiency (it took two horses to haul a half a ton), the collar harness allowed a single horse to haul a ton and a half. The trace harness arrived in Europe in the sixth century and made its way across Europe by the eighth century.

The Wheelbarrow:
China, First Century BC. 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 AD). Descriptions of the wheelbarrow in China refer to first century BC, and the oldest surviving picture, a frieze relief from a tomb-shrine in Szechuan province, dates from about 118 AD.

The Moldboard Plow:
China, Third Centrury BC. Called kuan, these ploughshares were made of malleable cast iron. They had an advanced design, with a central ridge ending in a sharp point to cut the soil and wings which sloped gently up towards the center to throw the soil off the plow and reduce friction. When brought to Holland in the 17th Century, these plows began the Agricultural Revolution.

Paper Money:
China, Ninth Century AD. Its original name was 'flying money' because it was so light it could blow out of one's hand. As 'exchange certificates' used by merchants, paper money was quickly adopted by the government for forwarding tax payments. Real paper money, used as a medium of exchange and backed by deposited cash (a Chinese term for metal coins), apparently came into use in the tenth century. The first Western money was issued in Sweden in 1661. America followed in 1690, France in 1720, England in 1797, and Germany not until 1806.

Cast Iron
China, Forth Century BC. By having good refractory clays for the construction of blast furnace walls, and the discovery of how to reduce the temperature at which iron melts by using phosphorus, the Chinese were able cast iron into ornamental and functional shapes. Coal, used as a fuel, was placed around elongated crucibles containing iron ore. This expertise allowed the production of pots and pans with thin walls. With the development of annealing in the third century, ploughshares, longer swords, and even buildings were eventually made of iron. In the West, blast furnaces are known to have existed in Scandinavia by the late eighth century AD, but cast iron was not widely available in Europe before 1380.

The Helicopter Rotor and the Propeller:
China, Forth Century AD. By fourth century AD a common toy in China was the helicopter top, called the 'bamboo dragonfly'. The top was an axis with a cord wound round it, and with blades sticking out from the axis and set at an angle. One pulled the cord, and the top went climbing in the air. Sir George Cayley, the father of modern aeronautics, studied the Chinese helicopter top in 1809. The helicopter top in China led to nothing but amusement and pleasure, but fourteen hundred years later it was to be one of the key elements in the birth of modern aeronautics in the West.

Suspension bridges

The Chinese invented suspension bridges using iron chains 1400 years before the Europeans.

The Decimal System:

China, Fourteenth Century BC. An example of how the Chinese used the decimal system may be seen in an inscription from the thirteenth century BC, in which '547 days' is written 'Five hundred plus four decades plus seven of days'. The Chinese wrote with characters instead of an alphabet. When writing with a Western alphabet of more than nine letters, there is a temptation to go on with words like eleven. With Chinese characters, ten is ten-blank and eleven is ten-one (zero was left as a blank space: 405 is 'four blank five'), This was much easier than inventing a new character for each number (imagine having to memorize an enormous number of characters just to read the date!). Having a decimal system from the beginning was a big advantage in making mathematical advances. The first evidence of decimals in Europe is in a Spanish manuscript of 976 AD.

The Seismograph:
China, Second Century AD. China has always been plagued with earthquakes and the government wanted to know where the economy would be interrupted. A seismograph was developed by the brilliant scientist, mathematician, and inventor Chang Heng (whose works also show he envisaged the earth as a sphere with nine continents and introduced the crisscrossing grid of latitude and longitude). His invention was noted in court records of the later Han Dynasty in 132 AD (the fascinating description is too long to reproduce here. It can be found on pgs. 162-166 of Temple's book). Modern seismographs only began development in 1848.

Matches:

China, Sixth Century AD. The first version of the match was invented in 577 AD by impoverished court ladies during a military siege. Hard pressed for tinder during the siege, they could otherwise not start fires for cooking, heating, etc. The matches consisted of little sticks of pinewood impregnated with sulfur. There is no evidence of matches in Europe before 1530.

Circulation of the Blood
China, Second Century BC. Most people believe blood circulation was discovered by William Harvey in 1628, but there are other recorded notations dating back to the writings of an Arab of Damascus, al-Nafis (died 1288). However, circulation appears discussed in full and complex form in The Yellow Emperor's Manual of Corporeal Medicine in China by the second century BC.

Paper
China, Second Century BC. Papyrus, the inner bark of the papyrus plant, is not true paper. Paper is a sheet of sediment which results from the settling of a layer of disintegrated fibers from a watery solution onto a flat mold. Once the water is drained away, the deposited layer is removed and dried. The oldest surviving piece of paper in the world is made of hemp fibers, discovered in 1957 in a tomb near Xian, China, and dates from between the years 140 and 87 BC. The oldest paper with writing on it, also from China, is dated to 110 AD and contains about two dozen characters. Paper reached India in the seventh century and West Asia in the eighth. The Arabs sold paper to Europeans until manufacture in the West in the twelfth century.

Brandy and Whiskey

China, Seventh Century AD. The tribal people of Central Asia discovered 'frozen- out wine' in their frigid climate in the third century AD. In wine that had frozen was a remaining liquid (pure alcohol). Freezing became a test for alcohol content. Distilled wine was known in China by the seventh century. The distillation of alcohol in the West was discovered in Italy in the twelfth century.

The Kite:
China, Fifth/Fourth Century BC. Two kitemakers, Kungshu P'an who made kites shaped like birds which could fly for up to three days, and Mo Ti (who is said to have spent three years building a special kite) were famous in Chinese traditional stories from as early as the fifth century BC. Kites were used in wartime as early as 1232 when kites with messages were flown over Mongol lines by the Chinese. The strings were cut and the kites landed among the Chinese prisoners, inciting them to revolt and escape. Kites fitted with hooks and bait were used for fishing, and kites were fitted with strings and whistles to make musical sounds while flying. The kite was first mentioned in Europe in a popular book of marvels and tricks in 1589.


The rocket
and multistaged rockets: China, Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries AD. Around 1150 it crossed someone's mind to attach a comet-like fireworks to a four foot bamboo stick with an arrowhead and a balancing weight behind the feathers. To make the rockets multi-staged, a secondary set of rockets was attached to the shaft, their fuses lighted as the first rockets burned out. Rockets are first mentioned in the West in connection with a battle in Italy in 1380, arriving in the wake of Marco Polo.

ketchup
ke tsup = tomato sauce.

Saddle:
invented in China nearly 2,000 years ago

Sunglasses:
these were invented in China about 500 years ago.

Bronze

The Chinese craft of bronze-casting has endured for nearly four thousand years. Scientists studied and learned the properties of the metal ore that they found in nature. Science revealed the idea and process for mining and smelting the metal. The craft of casting the hot liquid metal was born. Elaborate bronze artifacts date back thousands of years.

The Chinese Bronze Age had begun by 1700 B.C. in the kingdom of the Shang dynasty along the banks of the Yellow River in northern China.

Steel
The common belief today is that Henry Bessemer discovered the process of refining iron into steel. The fact is Chinese had developed the process to refine iron into steel in the second century BC The Chinese learned that by injecting oxygen into the blast furnace, they could remove the carbon from the iron. The Chinese called this process the “hundred refinings method” since they repeated the process that many times.

Hacky sack:

the game that we call hacky sack was created in China more than 2,000 years ago. The object of the game is to keep a little ball in the air as long as possible by kicking it with one's feet.

The Seed drill
The seed drill is a device that plants the seed into the ground. It replaces the farmer to plant the seeds by hand, thus allowing the farmer to plant more acreage. The first seed drill was introduced to Europe in sixteenth century, 3500 years after the Chinese had invented it.

Row farming

The greatest area of Chinese invention is in agriculture. The Chinese excelled in farming, not only did they discover the seed drill, they discovered row farming that is still used today.

Ice cream:
about 4,000 years ago, the Chinese came up with the idea of ice cream by combining rice, milk, spices, and snow.

Toothbrush


The bristle toothbrush, similar to the type used today, was not invented until 1498 in China. The bristles were actually the stiff, coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog's neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.



Other (plant life; political theory)

Some of the West's most popular fruits - peaches, apricots, and citrus fruits - came from China, as did some of the most common flowers, including chrysanthemums. The West also learned of goldfish and wallpaper from China and may have adopted the Chinese idea of the folding umbrella.

Many Western political and social thinkers admired the Chinese bureaucratic system of government. In particular, the German philosopher and mathematician Leibnitz (1646-1716), the Frenchman Voltaire (1694-177, and the French political economists of the late 1700s, known as the Physiocrats, were inspired by Chinese thought, as was America's Ralph Waldo Emerson
Posted ImagePosted Image

"夫君子之行:靜以修身,儉以養德;非淡泊無以明志,非寧靜無以致遠。" - 諸葛亮

One should seek serenity to cultivate the body, thriftiness to cultivate the morals. If you are not simple and frugal, your ambition will not sparkle. If you are not calm and cool, you will not reach far. - Zhugeliang

#5 Non-Han Nan Ban

Non-Han Nan Ban

    Prime Minister (Situ/Chengxiang 司徒/丞相)

  • Supreme Scholar (Jinshi)
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  • Specialisation / Expertise:
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Posted 03 September 2008 - 03:55 PM

I have updated that list from Wikipedia. It now looks like this (for elaboration on each item, go to the link):

http://en.wikipedia....nese_inventions

Four Great Inventions:
Paper, Printing, Gunpowder, Compass

Neolithic and early Bronze Age:
Bell
Coffin (rectangular and wooden)
Drum (Alligator Hide)
Fermented Beverage
Fork, Lacquer
Millet (cultivation)
Noodle
Oar (rowing)
Plastromancy
Plowshare (Triangular-shaped)
Rice (cultivation)
Salt (use of)
Silk
Soybean (cultivation)
Treetrunk Coffin
Urn (pottery burial)
Vessel (use of skull as)

Shang Dynasty and later:
Acupuncture
Animal Zodiac
Archaeology (catalogues and epigraphy)
Anti-malarial properties of Artemisia
Armillary sphere (hydraulic-powered)
Automatic-opening doors (foot-activated trigger)

Banknote
Beer with alcohol content above 11%
Bellows (hydraulic-powered)
Belt drive
Blast furnace
Bomb (cast iron)
Borehole drilling
Bristle toothbrush
Bulkhead partition

Calendar year at 365.2425 days
Cast iron
Cardinal direction (use of colors for)
Cavalieri's principle
Chain Drive (endless power-transmitting)
Chemical warfare using bellows, mustard smoke, and lime
Chinese remainder theorem
Chopsticks
Chromium (use of)
Chuiwan (Chinese golf)
Civil service examinations
Co-fusion steel process
Coin, knife and spade-shaped
Coke as fuel
Contour canal
Crank handle
Crossbow (handheld)
Cuju (football)
Cupola furnace

Dagger-axe
Decimal fractions
Deficiency diseases (correction by proper diet)
Diabetes (recognition and treatment of)
Dougong
Drawloom

Eight-legged essay
Endocrinology, isolation of sex and pituitary hormones from urine
Equal temperament
Escapement
Exploding cannonballs

Field mill carriage
Finery forge
Fire lance
Fireworks
Fishing reel
Flamethrower (double-piston)
Flare (military signalling)
Forensic entomology (utilization to solve crimes)
Free reed aerophone

Gas cylinder
Gaussian elimination
Gimbal ("Cardan suspension")
Go (board game)
Guqin

Hand cannon
Heavy moldboard iron plow
Horner scheme
Horse collar
Horse harness ("trace" or "breast")
Hybrid rice

India ink
Inoculation, treatment of smallpox

Jacob's staff
Jade burial suit
Junk (ship)

Kite

Land mine
Leeboard
Liubo

Magic mirrors
Maglev wind power generators
Manned flight with kites
Map (economic)
Map (oldest printed)
Match (non-friction)
Mechanical theater (carriage-driven)
Mechanical cup-bearers and wine servers on automatic-traveling boats
Military strategy treatise
Modular system of architecture (eight standard grades)
Multiple-tube seed drill
Multistage rocket

Natural gas as fuel
Naval mine
Negative numbers

Open-spandrel segmental arch bridge, fully-stone

Pagoda (hybrid of the stupa and que tower)
Pi calculated as 355/133
Pinhole camera
Playing cards
Porcelain
Pound lock
Puppet theater (waterwheel-powered)

Raised-relief map
Restaurant menu
Rotary fan (manual and water-powered)
Rocket bomb (aerodynamic wings and explosive payloads)
Rudder

Seismometer
Shan shui
South Pointing Chariot
Star catalogue
Star chart (oldest printed)
Steel made from cast iron through oxygenation
Stirrup
Suspension bridge using iron chains

Tea as a drink
Thyroid hormone, treatment of goiter
Tomb (structural design imitating real life residences)
Tofu
Toilet paper
Traction trebuchet catapult
Trip hammer
Tuned bells

Umbrella (collapsible)
Underwater salvage operations

Wheelbarrow
Wine-server, artificial mountain with puppet
Winnowing fan

Xiangqi

Zoetrope

That's it! It's got 595 inline citations and over 200 scholarly sources referenced. Good stuff. B)
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#6 mariusj

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Posted 03 September 2008 - 09:08 PM

Hum. Due to the different nature of the government prior to the Civil Service Exam and after, maybe we should have another separation in the Shang-Sui period and Tang - Qin period?

#7 madalibi

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 12:45 AM

Hum. Due to the different nature of the government prior to the Civil Service Exam and after, maybe we should have another separation in the Shang-Sui period and Tang - Qin period?


Sure, but only if you can justify how the civil exams had an impact on Chinese inventions. At first sight, it seems that the two had little to do with each other. Throughout imperial history (that is, both before and after the Sui), "inventors" and "scientists" whose names have come down to us were usually associated with the government, whereas most innovations Eric discusses were made by anonymous people outside of government circles, and therefore had nothing to do with the government's recruitment system. But these points are certainly debatable, so let's see what you think! :D

#8 Non-Han Nan Ban

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 03:19 AM

Hum. Due to the different nature of the government prior to the Civil Service Exam and after, maybe we should have another separation in the Shang-Sui period and Tang - Qin period?



Sure, but only if you can justify how the civil exams had an impact on Chinese inventions. At first sight, it seems that the two had little to do with each other. Throughout imperial history (that is, both before and after the Sui), "inventors" and "scientists" whose names have come down to us were usually associated with the government, whereas most innovations Eric discusses were made by anonymous people outside of government circles, and therefore had nothing to do with the government's recruitment system. But these points are certainly debatable, so let's see what you think!


Well, it should be painfully obvious to all why I made a distinction between Neolithic China and the first solidly-proven Chinese kingdom, the Shang Dynasty. There was a debate on the talk page of this article not about the civil service examinations and the distinctions to be drawn from that, but when the "Han" ethnicity came about and solidified in China. There was an argument that things pre and post-Shang were good enough, since the Shang represented the first higher civilization in China. There was also an argument that since the "Han" Chinese ethnic group did not coalesce until well into the Han Dynasty, then a distinction should be made with all inventions preceding the Han Dynasty. Nothing was ever done about the latter, although a distinction was finally made between pre and post-Shang.

Now as for the civil service examination system of the Sui Dynasty, this obviously affected the way government recruited members of a gentry class (that had already been apparent since the Han Dynasty) into government and expanded upon the very limited amount of government examinations for gov nominees found in the Han Dynasty. For example, the Grand Prefect of Astrology in the Han Dynasty administered an advanced literacy test (9,000 characters) to all candidates of the censorate and secretariat. Yet beyond elite circles of gentry men, I don't see how the civil service system had anything to do with the many inventions listed that were created by lowly artisans, farmers, merchants, court ladies, and others. I would argue that the "Han" Chinese ethnicity argument was more important than this.

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#9 madalibi

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 04:44 AM

Well, it should be painfully obvious to all why I made a distinction between Neolithic China and the first solidly-proven Chinese kingdom, the Shang Dynasty. There was a debate on the talk page of this article not about the civil service examinations and the distinctions to be drawn from that, but when the "Han" ethnicity came about and solidified in China. There was an argument that things pre and post-Shang were good enough, since the Shang represented the first higher civilization in China. There was also an argument that since the "Han" Chinese ethnic group did not coalesce until well into the Han Dynasty, then a distinction should be made with all inventions preceding the Han Dynasty. Nothing was ever done about the latter, although a distinction was finally made between pre and post-Shang.

Now as for the civil service examination system of the Sui Dynasty, this obviously affected the way government recruited members of a gentry class (that had already been apparent since the Han Dynasty) into government and expanded upon the very limited amount of government examinations for gov nominees found in the Han Dynasty. For example, the Grand Prefect of Astrology in the Han Dynasty administered an advanced literacy test (9,000 characters) to all candidates of the censorate and secretariat. Yet beyond elite circles of gentry men, I don't see how the civil service system had anything to do with the many inventions listed that were created by lowly artisans, farmers, merchants, court ladies, and others. I would argue that the "Han" Chinese ethnicity argument was more important than this.

Eric (En Rui)


Yes, I agree. But to me, the main conceptual problem with that Wiki page is not even Han vs. pre-Han, but the very notion of "China," which makes no sense at all before the Shang and keeps making no sense for a long time after that. This is close to Han vs. pre-Han, but not quite the same problem. For example, what do you make of noodles, which archeologists have found in a tomb in the Qinghai region? As Fcharton pointed out in this thread [post 5], that region was not integrated to any Chinese polity until the Han (and probably later actually), about 2000 years after the noodles were buried! Does that really make noodles a "Chinese invention"? But I guess it would be difficult to build a page called "List of inventions from non-Chinese places that are now in PRC territory," so you could say I'm just nitpicking. B) After all you did specify that those pre-Shang inventions were "Inventions which originated in what is now China during the Neolithic age and pre-historic Bronze age"...

Another notion the Wiki page takes for granted and that can't really be changed is that "inventions" are central to the history of science, and that inventions can be attributed to entire civilizations! :D

This being said, the page looks amazing, Eric! I can only imagine how much work you've put into it. Truly admirable!

Cheers,
Madalibi

#10 Non-Han Nan Ban

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Posted 04 September 2008 - 07:46 AM

Yes, I agree. But to me, the main conceptual problem with that Wiki page is not even Han vs. pre-Han, but the very notion of "China," which makes no sense at all before the Shang and keeps making no sense for a long time after that. This is close to Han vs. pre-Han, but not quite the same problem. For example, what do you make of noodles, which archeologists have found in a tomb in the Qinghai region? As Fcharton pointed out in this thread [post 5], that region was not integrated to any Chinese polity until the Han (and probably later actually), about 2000 years after the noodles were buried! Does that really make noodles a "Chinese invention"? But I guess it would be difficult to build a page called "List of inventions from non-Chinese places that are now in PRC territory," so you could say I'm just nitpicking. B) After all you did specify that those pre-Shang inventions were "Inventions which originated in what is now China during the Neolithic age and pre-historic Bronze age"...

Another notion the Wiki page takes for granted and that can't really be changed is that "inventions" are central to the history of science, and that inventions can be attributed to entire civilizations! :D

This being said, the page looks amazing, Eric! I can only imagine how much work you've put into it. Truly admirable!

Cheers,
Madalibi


Thank you!

As for the noodles (and some other inventions), I guess the unified ethnic nationality concept of Zhōnghuá Mínzú 中華民族 should apply instead of strictly Han Chinese ethnicity? Since we are talking about inventions which found their origins within the bounds of what is today's PRC (or ROC for that matter). In any case, good point.

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#11 Alexander39

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 03:04 AM

Not to rain on your parade, but there is several nitpicks.

Ketchup, A Chinese invention? the Tomato only arrived outside American shores in 1545, and the Indians(Inca's mostly) used it in pretty much any form imaginable, likewise with the Potato.(Inca's used more than 48 types as stable food)

Decimal system/ Use of Zero. It was Indian mathematicians that solved the problem of HOW to use the zero in a formula, and it was a Muslim philosopher/mathematician/Astronomer Al-Khwarizmi that wrote down the rules, the Chinese idea of leaving the space open while inginious was NOT that useful nor unique (The Babylonians among others had done that before), but the Chinese were the first to actually use (As far it is known) the concept of negative values, and make up both rules and signs for this, but China NEVER inventet not developed the use of Zero, it was importet from without together with the Decimal system (China has had several mathematical systems throu the millenia).

Bronze: This is the most glaring fault, mostly because it is quite easy to see were it has been in use the longest. IE The fertile crecent in the ME from about 3300BCE.

Football / Cuju(Not the US version) : well it is really debatable who came up with it since it seems to be an ingrained instínct in all of us to kick something kickable, whether it is apples, small rocks or human heads, the only thing that is for sure is that the first rules for a regonizable version of Football IE two goals and a limitet playing field and playing time
Were written up in Britain.

Grain Storage: Well we know for certain that it was in use in Egypt at least as far back as 1900BCE.(See old testament for one example) So the idea of a state sponsored organized grain storage was nothing new for the old civilizations of the world.


It is not to be a spoilsport i made this post, and i'm amazed that nobody in here knew that the Chinese were the first to use negative numbers and make the rules for them. together with the concept and use of Zero an absolute necessity for modern mathematics by the way.

Edited by Alexander39, 25 August 2009 - 03:12 AM.

My motto would be 'Truth will out, but no truth is absolute'.
We all should look for the truth, no matter how painful or obnoxious it might be. but we always have to keep in mind that any truth we find will be coloured by both our self as well as those that createt it. an absolute truth is always impossible to reach since we as species by nature is falible. the greatest danger is when we convinces our self that the truth we know is the only truth that counts.

Worth remembering that truth is not the same as law of reality. IE the law of gravity no matter how it is describet is always as law that counts, likewise all other natural laws, it is only our incomplete grasp of them that can make them seem inconsistent or untruthfull.

40K - where the genocidal, xenocidal, fascist, ultraconservative zealots with a morbid fear of technology and an unhealthy fondness for burning things... are the good guys.

#12 shengcaixiansheng

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:55 PM

Not to rain on your parade, but there is several nitpicks.

Ketchup, A Chinese invention? the Tomato only arrived outside American shores in 1545, and the Indians(Inca's mostly) used it in pretty much any form imaginable, likewise with the Potato.(Inca's used more than 48 types as stable food)

Decimal system/ Use of Zero. It was Indian mathematicians that solved the problem of HOW to use the zero in a formula, and it was a Muslim philosopher/mathematician/Astronomer Al-Khwarizmi that wrote down the rules, the Chinese idea of leaving the space open while inginious was NOT that useful nor unique (The Babylonians among others had done that before), but the Chinese were the first to actually use (As far it is known) the concept of negative values, and make up both rules and signs for this, but China NEVER inventet not developed the use of Zero, it was importet from without together with the Decimal system (China has had several mathematical systems throu the millenia).

Bronze: This is the most glaring fault, mostly because it is quite easy to see were it has been in use the longest. IE The fertile crecent in the ME from about 3300BCE.

Football / Cuju(Not the US version) : well it is really debatable who came up with it since it seems to be an ingrained instínct in all of us to kick something kickable, whether it is apples, small rocks or human heads, the only thing that is for sure is that the first rules for a regonizable version of Football IE two goals and a limitet playing field and playing time
Were written up in Britain.

Grain Storage: Well we know for certain that it was in use in Egypt at least as far back as 1900BCE.(See old testament for one example) So the idea of a state sponsored organized grain storage was nothing new for the old civilizations of the world.


It is not to be a spoilsport i made this post, and i'm amazed that nobody in here knew that the Chinese were the first to use negative numbers and make the rules for them. together with the concept and use of Zero an absolute necessity for modern mathematics by the way.


Finally! someone have the guts and knowledge to say something sensible and truthful.

the great majority of the claims regarding Chinese inventions are dubious at its best and fabrications at its worst. some of them are the result of downright ignorance and some are made up for the indoctrination of nationalism by certain individuals. As far as I can tell, even in today's Mainland China, some of the so called major inventions, such as paper, print, compass and gunpowder, have been discrited by new discoveries. Only the official education sector still sticks to the old stories, but the intellectuals at large no longer believe such fables.

#13 Gan

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 05:41 AM

Finally! someone have the guts and knowledge to say something sensible and truthful.

the great majority of the claims regarding Chinese inventions are dubious at its best and fabrications at its worst. some of them are the result of downright ignorance and some are made up for the indoctrination of nationalism by certain individuals. As far as I can tell, even in today's Mainland China, some of the so called major inventions, such as paper, print, compass and gunpowder, have been discrited by new discoveries. Only the official education sector still sticks to the old stories, but the intellectuals at large no longer believe such fables.


Pardon my long message.

I think there would be more clarity if you all can understand this study in perspective. Other than the obvious outrageous claims for nationalistic or other personal-social agendas, a lot of those inventions shouldn't really be downplayed. While we may not be sure if there is a direct origin or influence in relation to other societies, at the very least we knew they existed in Chinese civilization. Part of the reason(s) while many sinophiles and others who happen to be interested in history/technology/international affairs find China an interesting case study is because a lot of them didn't expect or just plain don't know the extent.

One example I need to say is Joseph Needham. While his work has always been under constant review and information is updated, from what I know, he is still highly respected for starting or increased interests in another specific area to study regarding Chinese civilization. Considering the times he work in and the common perception of China during those eras makes sense why. Some of the claims are questionable but for the most part, it's alright. Some of the scholars, at least the ones I'm aware of, whose expertise is in non-Chinese areas also find this field of high interests and worthy to take serious.

Some of those fascinating items were/are also taught to us in the States by both high school/secondary education instructors and history professors in collge-university/higher education. However, I'm not a history major so for those who went further in the study, would gather more details from reliable sources and could form more credible opinions.

I think the main problem has to do with understanding how China's past fitted in the whole picture of world history. Figuratively speaking, it's a very large puzzle piece with a one of a kind shape. A lot of times, people have to constantly compared which of course is questionable in several aspects. This is actually one of the largest criticism of Needham and other Sinologists, along with the far out claims. It might work out better to think of human society in terms of processes instead of placing it in one-time events. Like a journey per se. Actually I'm starting to change my own opinions whether it's accurate to say anyone was truly advance-generally speaking when really there's so many exceptions and counter-points.



I don't know if this is appropriate but you all can give me a warning or delete my post. I noticed some of the strongest-very intense critics happen to be from Mainland China. I'm aware that possibly due to the experiences with the education over there and dealing with people, some of them happen to be the most dissmisive of such discussions regarding Chinese technology and other related topics. From what I know and have been expose to so far, even the most critical-substantial, sometimes harsh, commentary from non-Chinese scholars, foreign expats and very thorough observers of Chinese civilization and society still do not sound as sharp as some of the Mainland Chinese. Sometimes, the credible facts still sound just as impressive even more so than the outrageous claims.

I've read a lot of books with very detailed commentary written by both Chinese and non-Chinese authors, but like most subjects, they have a particular emphasis in a certain aspect so we often have to read several-sometimes contradicting information to get the whole picture. I remember reading some pages of The Great Intertia: Scientific Stagnation in Traditional China written by Wen-yuan Qian in 1985 to be the most direct opposing commentary to Needham I've read so far.

I don't mean to be mean but it's becoming very noticeable. I can see the positive side where we do need these individuals once in a while to balance off the non-sense and arrogance in society. I also appreciate those from and have traveled to lived in China who can share their life stories. However, I think overtime when information matures and becomes more available we can see things in a clearer light.

Edited by Gan, 06 November 2009 - 05:44 AM.


#14 shengcaixiansheng

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 07:06 AM

Pardon my long message.

I think there would be more clarity if you all can understand this study in perspective. Other than the obvious outrageous claims for nationalistic or other personal-social agendas, a lot of those inventions shouldn't really be downplayed. While we may not be sure if there is a direct origin or influence in relation to other societies, at the very least we knew they existed in Chinese civilization. Part of the reason(s) while many sinophiles and others who happen to be interested in history/technology/international affairs find China an interesting case study is because a lot of them didn't expect or just plain don't know the extent.

One example I need to say is Joseph Needham. While his work has always been under constant review and information is updated, from what I know, he is still highly respected for starting or increased interests in another specific area to study regarding Chinese civilization. Considering the times he work in and the common perception of China during those eras makes sense why. Some of the claims are questionable but for the most part, it's alright. Some of the scholars, at least the ones I'm aware of, whose expertise is in non-Chinese areas also find this field of high interests and worthy to take serious.

Some of those fascinating items were/are also taught to us in the States by both high school/secondary education instructors and history professors in collge-university/higher education. However, I'm not a history major so for those who went further in the study, would gather more details from reliable sources and could form more credible opinions.

I think the main problem has to do with understanding how China's past fitted in the whole picture of world history. Figuratively speaking, it's a very large puzzle piece with a one of a kind shape. A lot of times, people have to constantly compared which of course is questionable in several aspects. This is actually one of the largest criticism of Needham and other Sinologists, along with the far out claims. It might work out better to think of human society in terms of processes instead of placing it in one-time events. Like a journey per se. Actually I'm starting to change my own opinions whether it's accurate to say anyone was truly advance-generally speaking when really there's so many exceptions and counter-points.



I don't know if this is appropriate but you all can give me a warning or delete my post. I noticed some of the strongest-very intense critics happen to be from Mainland China. I'm aware that possibly due to the experiences with the education over there and dealing with people, some of them happen to be the most dissmisive of such discussions regarding Chinese technology and other related topics. From what I know and have been expose to so far, even the most critical-substantial, sometimes harsh, commentary from non-Chinese scholars, foreign expats and very thorough observers of Chinese civilization and society still do not sound as sharp as some of the Mainland Chinese. Sometimes, the credible facts still sound just as impressive even more so than the outrageous claims.

I've read a lot of books with very detailed commentary written by both Chinese and non-Chinese authors, but like most subjects, they have a particular emphasis in a certain aspect so we often have to read several-sometimes contradicting information to get the whole picture. I remember reading some pages of The Great Intertia: Scientific Stagnation in Traditional China written by Wen-yuan Qian in 1985 to be the most direct opposing commentary to Needham I've read so far.

I don't mean to be mean but it's becoming very noticeable. I can see the positive side where we do need these individuals once in a while to balance off the non-sense and arrogance in society. I also appreciate those from and have traveled to lived in China who can share their life stories. However, I think overtime when information matures and becomes more available we can see things in a clearer light.


Let me first express my gratitude to you for your cool-headed response. I have been trained as a historian in Mainland China, and I am trained to read those original ancient texts while I was an undergraduate. All I can tell you is that the ancient texts are numerous in number and most of them have been selected by the ruling class, and worse still, most of them don't have supporting documents or, documents that can act as a reference to the claims. Since I had my education in Australia, I started to believe that critical independent thinking was much more reliable than what I used to believe.

In term of Needham, may I say that most of the Chinese scholars who are not going to toll the party line don't take him seriously? The problem with Needham is that he had no training in Chinese language and only relied on translations. As I am a NAATI qualified professional translator, I can be certain that you are not going to have a clear understanding of the original text if you only read translations.

Let's be honest, as a Chinese, boy! do I get a kick out of all the achievement claimed to be Chinese?

But, hey, man, nobody is stupid these days anyway, and they are going to find the truth one way or the other.

In any case, I don't believe that the Chinese must have all those inventions on their back to justify their existence. The more we load on our back, the more difficult it will be for us to explain our failure to be the best in the world.

JUST RELAX, MAN!

#15 Gan

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Posted 07 November 2009 - 02:18 PM

Let me first express my gratitude to you for your cool-headed response. I have been trained as a historian in Mainland China, and I am trained to read those original ancient texts while I was an undergraduate. All I can tell you is that the ancient texts are numerous in number and most of them have been selected by the ruling class, and worse still, most of them don't have supporting documents or, documents that can act as a reference to the claims. Since I had my education in Australia, I started to believe that critical independent thinking was much more reliable than what I used to believe.

In term of Needham, may I say that most of the Chinese scholars who are not going to toll the party line don't take him seriously? The problem with Needham is that he had no training in Chinese language and only relied on translations. As I am a NAATI qualified professional translator, I can be certain that you are not going to have a clear understanding of the original text if you only read translations.

Let's be honest, as a Chinese, boy! do I get a kick out of all the achievement claimed to be Chinese?

But, hey, man, nobody is stupid these days anyway, and they are going to find the truth one way or the other.

In any case, I don't believe that the Chinese must have all those inventions on their back to justify their existence. The more we load on our back, the more difficult it will be for us to explain our failure to be the best in the world.

JUST RELAX, MAN!


Do not worry, I am pretty relaxed. :yes:

I think it is the same over in the States. The last time I checked, those who are pursuing graduate studies in history are highly recommended, I think definantly required to learn a foreign language. I'm also very well familiar the need to learn the original language of any topic, as in the particular interest I have in learning about Islam, understanding the Koran, anything to do with Arabic. Quite the same with learning about the Bible and pretty much needing to learn some things about Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew. The meaning changes entirely in many aspects.

I too had a liberal arts education, with a strong emphasis on critical thinking. Of course, we can't take everything at face value. I've heard about this "party line" in so many places, the last time I asked about it someone said it was a particular cultural conforming standard not necessary political.

To be honest, it really does not matter if China's past had a lot of inventions, whether they were original, independently made or adopted from others. Pride, more like ego has no limit and anyone will always be hungry for more. Of course, there is nothing wrong with pride as in maintaining dignity and honor or taking pleasure in knowledge. Also, as mentioned in this forum and countless other places, online and in reality, Technology, Science and Engineering are truly "global" affairs. We inherited all the work done in the past from many places and pretty much need to each other to accomplish goals.

I understand what you mean overall though.

Actually, may I ask what journals, books or other reading materials do you recommend to read about this subject?

I can read Chinese but still learning. I guess my level would, I can understand most of the Chinese language discussions posts on this forum, if that helps.




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