7 Impressive Inventions From The Land Of Dragons- Ancient China!


The Chinese are one heck of an innovative group, and most of the advanced products you use today are testimony to their talents. They stay one step ahead of everyone when it comes to finding new ways of increasing convenience with their creations, and why wouldn’t they, with their history and legacy of inventions from their ancestors? Having made some great things like gunpowder, printing techniques, even porcelain and silk, ‘Made In China’ takes on a whole new meaning when you read about these extremely useful original inventions from Ancient China. 

Paper

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

Writers, this is your cue to express gratitude to the ancient Chinese! Who am I kidding, the use of paper is literally one of the most common things in the world, and EVERYONE needs paper in their lives. As you might know, before the invention of paper, materials like stone, wood, papyrus, and even leaves were used for writing, but it was clear that they were not durable or accessible for everyone. That’s when, in 105 AD, an official from the imperial court of the Han emperor used a weird combination of materials to arrive at this brilliant invention. He repeatedly soaked, pounded, boiled and strained a mixture of tree bark, fishnets, hemp waste, and old rags to create a writing surface that was both high in quality, as well as low in expenses. This product then reached the world via the famous Silk Road. By inventing paper as well as certain printing technologies, I guess Ancient China was really giving all the love to the scholars. 

The seismograph

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

Earthquakes have caused much chaos around the world, and the Chinese used to struggle with serious damage and loss of life during these tremors, particularly because news of the earthquake reached the government and support late. But in 132 AD, Zhang Heng, a scientist and mathematician, came up with an ‘early warning system’ to get the information of the occurrence and direction of an earthquake soon. See that pretty, imperial-looking vase up there? This vessel has 8 bronze dragons’ heads on its surface, and 8 bronze toads around the base (for the 8 directions). Inside it, Heng installed a pendulum system that was very sensitive to seasonal winds and seismic vibrations, and it caused the dragon head in the direction of the earthquake to eject a bronze ball that would fall in the corresponding toad’s mouth. This allowed a much quicker management response to be made for the earthquake’s victims. 

Acupuncture

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

This kinda painful but hella effective medical technique is said to have been devised in China before 2500 BC. Makes sense too, because it has underpinnings of the ancient Chinese philosophy of the yin and yang, and the belief that inserting needles into certain pressure points can restore their balance, thus relieving the health problem. Emperor Huang Di is credited with this invention, and archaeological evidence showed that stone knives or sharpened bones were used as instruments of healing, instead of needles. Must’ve been quite a sight, huh, such gothic objects sticking out of your body?

The crossbow

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

I feel like this is one of the most badass weapons out there. It is said to have been invented in China around 700 BC, with its parts found in regions of central and northern China, and its mentions in many early texts. It became especially celebrated in the Han Dynasty and their armies, and they mass-produced crossbows like anything. I mean, in an age of crude, heavy weapons like swords, and bow and arrow, the crossbow would obviously become a fan-favorite as an advanced option for long-range shooting with bronze arrows. It gave the Chinese a special advantage in warfare because their enemies didn’t possess such a highly specialized weapon. As a matter of fact, it was developed more for the purpose of intimidation than war.  

The compass

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

Now I don’t know if the Chinese were pirates or not, but they definitely created something that pirates and any-kind of seafarers love- the compass. Before compasses, people used the positions of the sun, moon, and planets in the sky to tell directions (I still wonder how). Around 200 BC, the Chinese crafted a lodestone (a naturally magnetic stone) into a spoon shape, and upon placing it on a bronze plate, it would point towards the South. They later created the upgraded needle-version of it, which could be used for navigation in the water. Weirdly enough, it took many years of using the earlier instrument for divination and feng shui before they realized that it would be perfect for sea navigation.

Lacquer

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

If you have any experience with lacquer and its history, you might know that Asian lacquerware is called “true lacquerware”. Japan has a big name in the lacquer industry, but the invention and sophisticated use of lacquer can be traced back to ancient China, when people started extracting the toxic sap of the indigenous lacquer tree, and using it as varnish on wooden boxes, kitchen utensils, furniture, and even weapons. Among the various types of lacquer, this one was a natural plastic which was light, durable, malleable, highly resistant to heat, water, acids, and alkalis. It has been found in the tombs of many royals, which verifies its value, even over bronze. Carved lacquer became widely popular around 700 BC, and its decorations on artful pieces have been a treat to the eyes ever since. 

A food menu

7 Inventions From Ancient China Present In Our Daily Life

My favorite part about restaurants are the menus. Why? Because you can stare and drool at the names and pictures of the food even if you’re never gonna order it. This particular invention was made somewhat recently in China; if you can call the 9th century “recent”. With a boom in business and trade during the Song dynasty, and foreign travelers coming to China, the need of a list that cited the names of all the dishes a restaurant offered, effectively overcoming the language barrier, led to the invention of the first-ever menus. While there is still debate about who invented the restaurant– China or France- I guess the score for the food menu goes to the Chinese.

Do you know any other revolutionary invention that the ancient Chinese boast of? Tell us below!

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