S: Ancient China Inventions
BC: Sophie Barnes is a sixth grade student at Commonwealth Connections Academy. Social Studies is her favorite subject and she is looking forward to summer vacation. Her hobbies include swimming, diving, reading Harry Potter books, spending time with family and friends but especially her dog, Boo Arthur Radley Barnes.
FC: Ancient Chinese Portfolio Sophie Barnes Social Studies 2/3/12 Mr. Schaaf
1: The country of China, especially when compared to the United States, has an incredibly long and accomplished history. During this time, many important advances were made by the Chinese people. The history of China can be dated back to the Xia Dynasty prior to 1750 B.C. but it is after this, that we are able to see the many inventions and innovations of the Ancient Chinese people. From that time, to about A.D. 200, many new inventions were created to make life easier for the Chinese. Which of these inventions, not only impacted a large number of people, but changed the way things were done and had a long lasting impact? It is extremely difficult to measure which of the the many, many development can be given the high honor of meeting all these requirements. So many wonderful things were created in Ancient China that need to be considered when trying to decide which product meets all of these standards. Let's review some of our options...
2: The Flamethrower | The Multiplication Table. | The Seismograph | Brain Surgery.
3: These are more of the many things that were invented. Ice cream, spaghetti, tea, hot air balloons, an abacus, and pottery were a few of the many inventions.
4: We are not the first people to wonder what was the most influential invention of Ancient China. There are four inventions in particular, that are commonly known as, "The Four Greatest Inventions of Ancient China"(www.sacu.org). These inventions include the compass, gunpowder, printing, and paper making. It is difficult to decide which would be the greatest and most effective. They all have changed the way China and the world, operates. Suddenly, everyday things, such as navigating, keeping records, and much more became easier. Even though these are all good candidates for an invention that impacted a large number of people, changed the way things were done and had a long impact on Chinese culture, I believe that one out of these four stands above the others.
6: And the winner is......
7: Paper! I chose paper as the greatest invention of Ancient China. Paper was invented during the Han Dynasty. Prior to the invention of paper, people had to write on wood and flat bamboo. Something more efficient was needed. With the invention of paper, information was now easy to write, inexpensive, portable, easy to store, and simple to be mass produced (www.sacu.org). Basically, paper meant that ideas and information could now be easily shared with others.
8: In 105 A.D., a eunuch named Ts' ai Lun was serving as clerk to the imperial court. He was tired of the cumbersome means of paper, so he decided to invent an alternative (http://radio86.com). To make his paper, he boiled hemp stalk, mulberry and water. He would then drain and grind it. When this was done, he would place the mixture between two large screens where the remaining water would be drained out and the fibers would be compacted together. The "paper" would then be hung to dry on the clothesline (Davidson, Paul B.).
10: To the left, is an image of the process used to make paper. This process is similar to how paper is made even now. The main difference between paper made then and paper made now, is that more filters are used, making the paper smoother and glossier (www.sacu.org).
11: These are images of paper being made then and now, and the bottom right hand picture is a sample of Chinese paper.
12: The invention of paper was so crucial to the Chinese people that it was a highly guarded secret for many centuries. However, immediately following it's creation, use of paper was limited (www.chinatownconnection.com). During this time, paper was made mostly for clothing such as hats and shoes (http://radio86.com). It was not until the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 - A.D. 907) that use of paper became common. At this point in time, paper was used for government documents, packing material, and many other things (http://radio86.com). Paper was no longer an item of the rich but rather something that was available to the common population. The invention of paper also impacted local economies. It was common for farmers who were having a difficult time farming to turn to paper making as means of an income (Dard, Hunter)
13: One of the main uses of paper was to spread the principles of many philosophers such as Confucius throughout China (www.librarypoint.org). Confucius was a philosopher who believed that that the family and the community should come before your own needs.
14: These are examples Ancient Chinese documents made prior to the invention of paper. These flat materials would have been difficult, expensive and inefficient. It is understandable that a new form of writing material was needed.
15: Since the invention of paper was such a guarded secret, some countries came up with their own process of making paper-like material. The English used parchment. which was made up of animal skin, usually sheep-skin. This also was ineffective. Above is a picture of the Gutenberg Bible, which was one of the earliest European books printed. It is estimated that over 300 sheep were required to make this book (www.afe.easia.com). Obviously, this form of writing would have only been available to the wealthy and many animals would have been slaughtered in the process.
16: The use of paper, as paper, is extraordinarily important because it makes the sharing of ideas easier but the true impact of the invention of paper can be seen in the many, many other uses of paper. Throughout history, the Chinese people have been given credit to many other inventions due to the creation of paper. The Chinese were the first to use paper as wrapping paper, napkins, parasols, kites, clothing and paper currency. Paper currency is extremely important because it was easier to carry than the coins used before. The creation of paper currency eventually lead to a complete banking system in China (http://radio86).
17: These are all the many uses of paper that the Chinese have been credited for.
19: Paper is truly the most significant invention of the Ancient Chinese. It's impact continues still and is something that is used regularly by most of the world, even today. It has led to the sharing of ideas, knowledge, literature, culture, and information that cover the globe. Certainly, the invention of paper changed, not only the course of history for China, but for the world.
20: Cites for Pictures cartoon of Ancient Chinese woman papermaking pg 11- http://www.businesscards.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/chinese-papermaking.gif Four picture of papermaking pg 10- http://www.computersmiths.com/chineseinvention/paper.htm Qin pre paper documents pg 11- http://www.topchinatravel.com/china-guide/literature-of-qin-and-han-dynastie.htm Current man pg 11 - http://www.absolutechinatours.com/china-travel/Four-Inventions.html Tsi Lun pg 9 - http://www.inkart.com/pages/history/Details/paper_making.html Gunpowder pg 5- http://bicycle2011.com/when-was-gunpowder-first-used/ Printing pg 5- http://bartalos.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/IMG_0529ChinaPrintingMuseum-ChineseBook-750x496.jpg Compass pg 5 - http://www.csupomona.edu/~plin/ls201/confucian4.html Bible pg 15- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gutenberg_Bible Sheep pg 15- http://store.warlordgames.com/flock-of-sheep-5029-p.asp Early paper pg 5 and 6 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chinese_hemp_paper_western_han.jpg Toilet paper pg 17 - http://nobodys-perfect.com/vtpm/exhibithall/informational/1886_APW_ad.jpg Wrapping paper pg 17- http://thenewdomestic.com/category/make/page/3/ Paper cutting pg 5- http://news.alibaba.com/gallery/detail/business-in-china/100015311-1-chinese-paper-cut.html Umbrella pg 17- http://news.alibaba.com/gallery/detail/business-in-china/100015311-1-chinese-paper-cut.html Kite pg 17- http://www.computersmiths.com/chineseinvention/kite.htm
21: More Cites for Pictures Paper money pg 17 - http://www.china-tour.cn/Chinese-Arts/Ancient-Chinese-Coins.htm Banking system pg 17- http://www.china-tour.cn/Chinese-Arts/Ancient-Chinese-Coins.htm Confucius pg 13- http://www.tuvy.com/blog/2009/07/confucius-quotes/ . Ice cream pg 3- http://images.pictureshunt.com/pics/l/large_ice_cream_cone-2233.jpg Chinese spaghetti pg 3- http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/2010/06/zha-jiang-mian-aka-chinese-spaghetti.html Brain surgery pg 2 - http://www.runciman.dk/html/my_science.html Abacus pg 3 - http://digifloweb.blogspot.com/ Multiplication table pg 2- http://digifloweb.blogspot.com/ Tea -pg 3 http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Art-Tea-Chinese-Masters/dp/0804841535 Flame throwing pg 2- http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/chinahist/tang.html Seismograph pg 2- http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/chinese-seismograph-3d-max/645621 Hot air balloon pg 3 - http://library.thinkquest.org/23062/balloon.html Chinese pottery Han Dynasty pg 3– http://www.chinapotteryonline.com/tag/han-dynasty
22: Bibliography Dard Hunter. Papermaking-The Histor and Technique of An Acient Craft. New York, NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 1947. Pp. 48-63 Paul B. Davidson. Any Old Rags to Sell? The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 69, No. 4. (Oct., 1949), pp. 254-261. http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0096-3771%28194910%2969%3A4%3C254%3AAORTS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-D http://www.chinatownconnection.com/inventions-china.htm
23: http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/song/readings/inventions_gifts.htm#paper http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_aboutchina/2003-09/24/content_26514.htm http://www.librarypoint.org/chinese_dynasties1 http://radio86.com/past-present/history/world-changing-chinese-inventions-paper http://www.sacu.org/greatinventions.html