The Sui Dynasty was a very important period in engineering and political history of China. This was a very short lived period but it left behind profound effects on the culture, political climate and how things were built. The Sui Dynasty ruled only from 581-618AD but had a huge impact on China and the world.
The Sui Dynasty united China and invented the Grand Canal in China that connected the north and south provinces. This improved trade and communication.
The Sui Dynasty also invented Block Printing which was used into the early 19th century as a means of typesetting. Block printing as a type set reduced the number of workers that it took to produce printed works.
The block printing invention was created to print poetry because this dynasty is well known for appreciating the arts like literature, poetry and music.
During the Sui Dynasty the first evidence of porcelain appeared. While some scholars argue that porcelain was a material that was developed over time there are others that point to Tao-Yue an industrious young man that sold the porcelain figures as “artificial jade” as the inventor of porcelain. Porcelain is made by combining different clays and is sometimes referred to as “fine China.”
In any case porcelain has long been associated with the Sui Dynasty era as an invention of that period.
The Grand Canal
The Sui Dynasty by far can hang their hat on creating a canal system to unite China for trade purposes thanks to the invention of the Grand Canal. For many centuries after the Sui Dynasty fell the canal was under construction, constantly being added to, widened and repaired.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China was constructed long before the Sui Dynasty to keep the Mongolians out but was crumbling in disrepair. The Sui Dynasty set about to refurbish and strengthen the great wall. Over 15,000 towers were constructed and years of labor began.
The Great Wall of China is the largest man made structure still today and the only structure that can be seen from space. Thousands of people lost their lives do the grueling work many of whom are still buried in the wall.
The Sui Dynasty is also credited with building granaries around the capital city to provide the people with a cheap, nutritional source of food. They also stabilized the economy and invented coin denominations that were universal throughout China.