The Chinese culture is one of the longest lasting in the world today. Although the population was ruled by several different dynasties over the centuries, the commitment to an overall cultural influence as a people was always one of the highest priorities. Some of the oldest records of modern mankind come from the Chinese and they are credited with many of the inventions that influenced humanity over the years. Here is a look at some of the very best from Ancient China.
The Mechanical Clock
If you own a watch or have a ticking clock somewhere in your home, then you have an invention that came from the Tang Dynasty of China. This invention came from the mind of Yi Xing, who was a Buddhist monk. He also had a love for mathematics and came up with a device that operated on the movement of water. The clock had one full rotation every 24 hours. This basic design is incorporated still today, even if water doesn’t flow through clocks any more.
Drinking tea has become an integral part of many cultures. According to legends, the first cup of tea was consumed by a Chinese Emperor in 2737 BC thanks to the invention of a tea shredder that would convert the leaves of the plant into thin strips. The production of tea was localized over the centuries until the Tang and Song Dynasties help to develop a more rapid production process so that the beverage could be enjoyed around the world.
The Chinese were one of the first populations to transition to the Iron Age, with evidence showing as early as the 5th Century BC that iron was being forged. This naturally transitioned into steel smelting as well and for a number of years, China was the only place in the world where you could get these metals. It is Qiwu Huaiwen, in fact, that is credited with developing the process to make steel.
Pottery has also been part of many human cultures, but not necessarily ceramics. Going as far back as the Shang Dynasty that began around 1600 BC, early types of porcelain products were appearing around the country. The skill of making porcelain was perfected during the Tang Dynasty and production really ramped up during the Song Dynasty. It wasn’t until the 18th century that another culture was able to effectively make a similar product.
The Chinese always had a fascination with natural items and how they could help the body over the centuries. During the 9th century in particular, the one quest that many alchemists had was to find a way for the human body to become immortal. This quest led to the development of gunpowder, which was quickly transitioned from a means of providing life to a propellant for weapons because of the heat and gas that it produces.
For a long time, humans wrote on stone tablets, bones, or anything else they could. It was the Chinese who invented paper, creating the first products around the second century BC. This help to revolutionize how humanity communicated with each other.
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