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15 Wonderful Inventions and Discoveries by the Ancient Chinese

Until 1400 AD, China was a scientifically and technologically advanced nation and a superpower. Believe it or not, many of the tools we use today were discovered or invented by Chinese. Here is a list of 15 such things.

Paper


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Paper is one of the most wonderful inventions of China. Before the invention of paper people used to write on bamboo slips and silks. Tsai-lung (48-118 AD) an official of Imperial Court during the Eastern Han Dynasty was the creator of first paper in the world by drying pulp from bark, mulberry fibers, old rags and hemp. However according to a recent archeological discovery near Dunhuang, paper had been used for wrapping and padding in China since the 2nd century BC. They used paper as a writing medium by the 3rd century and by the 6th century they began using toilet-paper. Chinese were the first people to preserve the flavor of tea in square bags which were made from the folded and sewn paper during 618-907 AD, Tang Dynasty. The technique of paper making was slowly spread. It reached the Central Asia by 750 AD and Europe in the 14th century.

Printing


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Chinese used printing pattern on the cloths before 220 AD. Woodblock printing on a paper is a process in which the individual sheets of paper were pressed into wooden blocks with the text and illustrations carved into them. This technique was first used by Koreans in 751 AD.


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The first movable type system (made of clay) was invented by Bi Sheng in China around 1040 AD. Later, movable wooden type was developed by Wang Zhen by the late 13th century.

Gunpowder


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Chinese were the first to recognize sulfur and saltpeter as essential ingredients for gun powder. Though many people wrote about the inflammable mixtures during 300-650 AD, some historians claim that the invention of gunpowder was dated at 850 AD. However the true gunpowder formula was first published in the history by Tseng Kung-Liang around 1040 AD.

The Compass


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User Comments
  1. IcyCucky

    On August 10, 2008 at 10:13 am


    Fascinating find, and great infor, Valli..

  2. valli

    On August 10, 2008 at 12:20 pm


    Thank you for your support, Icy.

  3. ruby Hawk

    On August 10, 2008 at 9:05 pm


    They are an intelligent people and I’m afraid the way they are going they will soon overtake us again.

  4. Shonufgood

    On August 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm


    What I think would be their greatest contribution was the paired stirrup. “The first dependable representation of a rider with paired stirrups was found in China in a Jin Dynasty tomb of about A.D. 322.[10][11][12] The stirrup appeared to be in widespread use across China by 477 AD.” Some argue the device was the primary cause of feudalism and even enabled Charles Martel to stop the advance of the Moores at the Pyranees.

  5. Zachster

    On August 11, 2008 at 9:11 pm


    Unfortunately, the Koreans are now starting to claim many of the Chinese inventions and traditions as originated from Korea. I hope these lists will help to educate the rest of the world as well as remind them that no-matter what is falsified, the truth will remain with the rest of us.

  6. valli

    On August 12, 2008 at 2:07 am


    Ruby, I agree with you.

    Shonufgood, thanks for the info.

    Zachster, thanks for the comment.

  7. CHAN LEE PENG

    On August 12, 2008 at 5:28 am


    Thanks, Valli, great post!Take care!

  8. Alexa Gates

    On August 12, 2008 at 3:47 pm


    I never would have guessed that the chineese created all of that stuff :) wow!

  9. Anne Lyken-Garner

    On August 13, 2008 at 2:24 am


    A very informative and timely article. Well done Valli

  10. Lauren Axelrod

    On August 13, 2008 at 9:14 am


    Nicely researched. Informative information I would have never known, except for the gun powder.

  11. valli

    On August 13, 2008 at 1:30 pm


    Thanks Chan, Alexa, Anne and Lauren for the comments.

  12. thestickman

    On August 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm


    -Wow!! Fantastic article! Thanks! And timely too, what with the Beijing Olympics going on. :-)

  13. enderjah

    On August 14, 2008 at 11:03 am


    I always like reading an article about what the ancient Chinese made. They also made flamethrowers.

  14. Kalista Leow

    On August 14, 2008 at 11:46 am


    Absolutely brilliant article. Very informative.

  15. Judy Sheldon

    On August 14, 2008 at 7:15 pm


    I remember researching for my ketchup article and finding out that ketchup was first used in China. Valli, your article is fascinating.

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Chris A Stonecipher

    On August 15, 2008 at 11:58 am


    I am fascinating by the chinese artwork you found. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Darlene McFarlane

    On August 15, 2008 at 8:19 pm


    WOW!We owe a lot to the Ancient Chinese. I never would have guessed they invented the fork.

    Great article, Valli.

  18. Karen N

    On August 16, 2008 at 8:46 am


    Really interesting, I never would have thought that they invented the fork.

  19. eddiego65

    On August 16, 2008 at 10:03 am


    Truly wonderful inventions. Great article and very educational too!

  20. valli

    On August 18, 2008 at 5:01 am


    Thank you thestickman, enderjah, Kalista Leow, Judy, Chris A Stonecipher, Darlene, Karen and eddiego65 for the encouraging comments…Chinese invented/discovered many things and the list seems endless.

  21. atomed

    On August 22, 2008 at 2:33 am


    great

  22. chandan lohia

    On August 23, 2008 at 9:14 am


    Boy you seriously need to revisit some of the things shown here
    a) Cst iron and steel: Indus valley civilisation was the pioneer and began the iron age
    b) Suspension bridge: Lakshman Jhoola at rishikesh , built over many times has its roots in BC not AD as chineese
    c) Compass: carried from India to China by buddhist monks since magnetite ore ( load stone ) needles were common in India , in fact somnath temple and Konark are examples of magnetic idols that were suspended midair , destroyed partially by the raiders from western asia and partly by british who were exploring India.

  23. Selly

    On August 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm


    It’s marvelous! Chinese are so great! especially after the Olympics, more and more people know China and its great people. I even heard some people talking about China on a bisexual site http://BiLoves.com.

  24. Jeannie Kong

    On August 29, 2008 at 2:14 am


    Help spread the word about free ecommerce – ahhge.com.
    No store fee, No insertion fee auction site.

    Thanks.

    Jeannie

  25. Liane Schmidt

    On September 4, 2008 at 1:12 pm


    This is an impressive article. Wonderful work!

    Best wishes & blessings.

    Sincerely,

    -Liane Schmidt.

  26. Matt

    On September 9, 2008 at 4:17 am


    So what,
    In Australia, we invented the Hills Hoist, you know; rotary clothes line. Now that’s far more important dont you think?

  27. BIG_DIZZ

    On September 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm


    this is interesting however this is not true. for instince paper,printing, and paper currency were all invented by the summarians(sumer). they also most likely invented everything else because they find more and more of what they made and they have made just about everything we use today but more advanced and we have not yet been able to match there superior knowlage of everything.

  28. Theresa

    On September 10, 2008 at 12:42 am


    you forgot to mention PASTA!!! we invented noodles too :)

  29. CaRoLiNa

    On October 27, 2008 at 10:00 am


    Hello everyone im in Chinese class :) :D

  30. makensie

    On November 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm


    helped with my home work;)

  31. CaMeRoN

    On November 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm


    it helped me my homework which was do the next day

  32. cute_thang

    On December 1, 2008 at 7:31 pm


    thiz reeely helped me on my report!!!
    thankz a lot!!
    ♥♥♥♥

  33. ...Wallawallabang!!!!!!!!!!!!

    On December 14, 2008 at 5:22 pm


    this is much better than stevens list, although you forgot: the flame thrower, row crops, guns, kites and a few more i forgot.

    ~F.J.J.N~

  34. Laura Tamayo

    On January 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm


    My faves: paper, ink, and umbrellas. Great choice of pictures, btw.

  35. De'Quandra

    On January 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm


    who ever did this bravo i can’t beleive this thank you

  36. Some Random Guy

    On January 28, 2009 at 5:57 pm


    Fascinating

  37. Child doing report.

    On January 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm


    Thanks! This really helped me with my report!

    O_o

    They really made paper?

  38. me

    On March 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm


    great info

  39. Project on ancient Chinese inventions

    On April 2, 2009 at 11:32 pm


    Great article and awesome information but can you also add the specific creator of some of them please? Thanks

  40. REW

    On April 4, 2009 at 12:18 am


    what about fireworks???

    :)

  41. hello everybody

    On April 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm


    Great! Fantastic! I’m using this for my Social Studies Project! Once again, very awesome!!!

    :) :)

  42. hello everybody

    On April 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm


    What is the picture in the gunpowder section?
    I really need the answer…

    ;)

  43. bo

    On April 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm


    hi

  44. tic

    On April 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm


    great

  45. g

    On April 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm


    g

  46. ron

    On April 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm


    its a great site

  47. haileyyy ♥

    On May 14, 2009 at 1:33 am


    this is so awesome! GO this website

  48. jay jay

    On May 14, 2009 at 1:37 am


    thanks valli bro,
    this helped me heaps with my assignment. yur awesome man. xo

  49. Asian person

    On May 27, 2009 at 11:02 pm


    This site was really helpful
    i’m doing this project and i thank valli millions
    i owe you lots

    wonderful site
    ur AWESOME

  50. jay

    On November 18, 2009 at 8:37 pm


    omg that is so helpfull

  51. mkd1788

    On November 21, 2009 at 7:24 am


    great post… informative…nice pics you have uploaded

  52. lala81

    On December 10, 2009 at 9:32 pm


    i knew most of that stuff

  53. hi im at school

    On February 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm


    I love pie

  54. Caleb Coleman

    On February 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm


    does anone kow about hte parachute im at scool and i need info

  55. Anuradha Ramkumar

    On February 12, 2010 at 10:58 pm


    So many inventions…Hoo…

  56. Raphael Park

    On March 4, 2010 at 1:32 am


    Wow you are awesome
    thank u so much for posting this up

  57. arambai

    On March 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm


    ice-cream, plough, tea, concept of computer, concept of a helicopter, rocket science, ……. a lot’s more as well!
    thanks for the invaluable info

  58. Sarah L.

    On November 17, 2010 at 2:06 am


    This is so awesome!!! It helped me alot, thanks! :)

  59. sponge bob square pants

    On February 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm


    chinese people are so cool it looks like boom boom

  60. calvin b

    On April 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm


    they invented the flamethrower!!!!!!!!!!!????????

  61. Sam

    On January 3, 2012 at 12:17 am


    what this is only 5 things not 15.

  62. Sam

    On January 3, 2012 at 12:33 am


    oh there is a 2nd padge.

  63. Wrath Warbone

    On January 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm


    Smart people. They were the strongest economically at one time because of their merchant marine fleet that carried and sold their goods world wide. But the ruling family that ran it was destroyed in battle by a challenger family that dismantled the fleet and the businesses because they wanted the people to forget about the prosperity they enjoyed under the family that was destroyed. It is one of the more shocking tragedies of history.

  64. Expcontent

    On January 10, 2012 at 12:45 am


    Super star!! You share us a great thing, chinese contain many creative resource…

  65. Stephanie

    On February 28, 2012 at 1:18 am


    hey i know it was made of silk u know the paper but i never thought they made TOILET paper thats strange thanx ancient china for the invention of toilet paper or else we will have to use a rag on the stick LOL and i need a lot of information of paper i ave a PROJECT DUE TUESDAY 28 AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

  66. anusuya

    On April 3, 2012 at 5:58 am


    it is wonderful

  67. jeff

    On May 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm


    its gooodddddd
    :(

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