Ancient China held leading positions in many fields in studying nature in the world. Besides the four great inventions – papermaking, printing, gunpowder and the compass, Ancient China contributed countless other inventions to the world, how many other creations do you know? Below is a list of the 5 inventions created by ancient Chinese and some may surprise you. This article is for the skeptics who’ll leave negative comments below.
1. Paper Making 105 A.C
The invention of paper greatly affects human history. Paper already existed in China since 105 A.C, however, a eunuch named Cai Lun (ca. 50 AD – 121) made significant innovation and helped drive its widespread adoption. His advanced paper-making technology then spread to central Asia and the world through the Silk Road.
2. Movable Type Printing
Woodblock printing was already a widely used technique in the Tang Dynasty. However, this kind of printing tech was expensive and time-consuming. Until the Song Dynasty (960-1279), a man named Bi Sheng (990–1051) invented movable type printing, making it quicker and easier. He first carved individual characters on pieces of clay and then harden them with fire. These movable type pieces were later glued to an iron plate to print a page and then broken up and redistributed for another page. This kind of printing tech rapidly spread across Europe, leading up to the Renaissance, and later all around the world.
3. Gunpowder 1000 A.D
Gunpowder was invented by Chinese Taoist alchemists about 1000 A.D. when they tried to find a potion to gain human immortality by mixing elemental sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter. It is generally believed that gunpowder spread to Europe during the Mongol expansion of 1200-1300 A.D.. The interesting fact is that Chinese used this discovery mainly for firecrackers while Europeans created cannons and guns and dominated China in the mid-1800s.
4. Compass 1100 A.D.
A compass is a navigational instrument that shows directions. The compass was invented by Chinese between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It was first used in Feng Shui, the layout of buildings. By 1000 AD, navigational compasses were commonly used on Chinese ships, enabling them to navigate. Arab traders sailing to China might learned of the tech and brought it to the West.
5. Alcohol 2000 BC－1600 BC
The inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula were widely believed to be the first brewers. However, in 2013, a 9000-year-old pottery found in Henan province revealed the presence of alcohol, 1000 years before Arabian. Alcohol is known as Jiu in Chinese and is often used as spiritual offerings to Heaven and the Earth or ancestors in ancient China. The study shows that beer with an alcoholic content of 4% to 5% was widely consumed in ancient China and was even mentioned on oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC–1046 BC).
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