The ancient nation of China was nourished by a river basin. From 3000 to 1600 B.C, the Huang Lee (Yellow River) has sustained large farming communities whose people raised silkworms and spun silk thread and cloth. They traded these products across the camel trails of Central Asia. Although an advanced society developed, the Chinese did not keep written records until the Shang dynasty of the 16th century B.C. The Shang ruled over a number of local kings who controlled walled city-states.
The nomads then dislodged other tribes, setting off a chain of migrations. The Zhou Dynasty replaced the Shang dynasty in the 11th century B.C. and continued the feudal tradition. Political, economic, and social life in China advanced during the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 B.C.). Chinese territory more than doubled in this dynasties ruling. This dynasty acquired parts of present-day northeast China as well as the Yangtze River Basin, which had the highest population concentration in the world at the time.
The Zhou dynasty introduced many new concepts and technology into the Chinese culture. They created new ways of war and new weapons designs. They made use of iron to create weapons. They built roads, canals, and bridges to improve communication and commerce with their neighboring civilizations. People began to get involved in civil positions and government jobs. People who trained for civil service, called Mandarins, began assuming positions once held by hereditary officials.
This was also the classical age of Chinese philosophy, with Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism all emerging during the Zhou dynasty. From 206 B.C. to A.D. 200 ambitious emperors of the Chinese Han dynasty gained control of a region stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Tarim Basin. They built northern military outposts along the Great Wall and the edges of the desert to protect the long trade caravans against raiding nomadic tribesmen. Persian, Arab, and Indian traders visited the Han capital, and the Eastern Han may have had direct contact with Rome. Chinese culture flourished toward new heights during the rule of this dyansty in many different fields.
They excelled in pottery, sculpture, painting, music, and literature, especially after the invention of papermaking. Chinese engineers built roads and canals. The Chinese culture gradually converted from monarchy and imperialism, into a socialistic government. The Chinese culture has experienced many changes that have both benefited and hurt their culture. Today, the People’s Republic of China has been setup as the new government. They function on the basis of Socialism.
Implications for Chinese Inventions has been very far reaching. The impact for all of the inventions has reached practically everywhere in the world. Below is a list of the most significant impacts:
Without the compass many discoveries would have been delayed by hundreds of years or maybe not discovered at all. It is the tool of sea that is still in use today in nearly its same form. Actually, the compass can be attributed with saving many lives by helping people on land, sea, and in the air find their way to safety.
The Chinese use of medicine to cure illnesses has spread throughout the world. Although they did not develop sophisticated remedies for illness and pain, the Chinese set the stage for further development in the field of medicine. It can be said that they opened the door for the rest of the world to follow.
The invention of gunpowder has had very far reaching ramifications. Throughout history, it is clear that countries that had weapons and used gunpowder were able to dominate during times of war. Just having weapons that used gun powder was enough of a threat to warrant off potential enemies.
The process of printing has had far reaching implications of the world. The Europeans saw printing as an important way of archiving religious manuscripts. Printing also allowed the western world to share information with the masses.
The work that the chinese did in the area of embroidery has contributed a great deal to European textiles and fashion including the great tapestries of Europe. Tapestries are very beautiful pieces of art work that are hung from the wall. They are usually very large. They are hand-woven fabrics with pictorial designs that have been sown into them. European aristocrats would hang them from the walls of the rooms in their castles and manor houses.
Silk is one of the most sought after fabrics of the world. Use of silk in all parts of the world has become very common place. The Europeans welcomed silk as the fabric of nobility. Silk gowns were always worn by the kings court. High quality silk is very beautiful and is only for those that have a great deal of wealth.
INVENTORS AND INVENTIONS
* 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.
* Ts’ai Lun
It was in the year 105 A.D that the invention of paper was first reported by Ts’Lun. However, it is not known whether Ts’Lun was the actual inventor or court official that presented this invention to the Emperor. But he will be a key figure recognized in the early invention of papermaking.
* Western Zhou
Chinese Embroidery is yet another important contribution to society from the Chinese people. Archaeological evidence for embroidery dates back to the Western Zhou period (11th-8th centuries B.C.). Archaeologists found evidence of embroidery in a tomb which was excavated in 1974 in Baoji Shaanxi province.It contained impressions of plaited stitch embroidery. With the arriving of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) embroidery was widley used for decorating garments and articles of daily use.
* Lei Zu the Wife of the Yellow Emperor Huang Di
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.