Ancient China Innovations

Ancient Chinese were driven and innovative. They eased daily necessity by developing and innovating things that left a lasting impact in the entire world.

It is believed that Ancient Chinese inventions began as early as the Paleolithic period.Among the most common inventions of Ancient Chinese people was paper.

According to several historians, the first paper was developed during the 2nd century B.C. and was later manufactured around 105 A.D.

Paper was used to creating playing cards and money as well as for writing letters and documents.

Prior to the discovery of paper, the Chinese used materials such as wood, bones, and stones for writing texts.

Hemp Wrapping paper

Paper was widely used in Ancient China and was later distributed to the different parts of the world through the Silk Road.

In connection with the Silk Road, the Chinese were also at the forefront of developing silk. The Chinese were able to create silk from the cocoons of silkworms.

Silk which is a light and soft material became a valuable trade export from China to Europe.

Silk was primarily utilized in various sectors including but are not only limited to musical instruments, fishing, and writing.

Interestingly enough, Ancient Chinese were able to keep the method of creating silk a secret for more than five centuries.

It became more than a commodity in the Han dynasty and was utilized as a reward to recognize a worthy government official or Chinese citizen.

Apart from silk, the Chinese also developed the compass around the 2nd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.

Initially, the compass was used in Feng Shui and to determine the layout of every building. Compasses began to be used for navigation in 1000 A.D. by Chinese ships as it enabled them to easily cruise the sea.

Scholars said that the Arab traders adopted the Chinese compass and brought them to the West.

Printing, on the other hand, also started in China. As a matter of fact, the first woodblock printer was invented in 868 A.D.

It is, however, important to note that the woodblock printer was later succeeded by a movable printer in the Song Dynasty.

Western Han Crossbow

Interesting Facts about Ancient Chinese Innovations

  • Paper, the compass, printing, and gunpowder are considered as the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China.
  • The Chinese also invented the wheelbarrow to help in the construction of the Great Wall of China as well as seismographs to accurately determine the intensity of earthquakes and measure matches and kites.
  • Gunpowder was developed by Chinese Taoists alchemists in 1000 A.D. It is widely accepted that gunpowder spread throughout Europe at the peak of the Mongol expansion from 1200 to 1300 A.D.
  • Buddhist monk Yi Xing invented the first mechanical clock in 725 A.D. The first mechanical clock which was known as the Spherical Birds was operated by dripping water and made one revolution in 24 hours.
  • Chinese Emperor Shennong discovered tea in 2737 B.C.E. In later dynasties, tea was used for medicinal purposes and as a drink on social occasions.
  • The first kite was created by Mozi and Lu Ban in the 5thcentury B.C.E.
  • Deep drilling technology was developed by the Chinese in 2ndcentury B.C.E. in the hopes of extracting brine under the Earth’s surface.
  • The original compass that was created by the Chinese was made of a mineral called Lodestone.

Who invented the movable printer?

A man named Bi Sheng invented the movable printer at around 990 to 1279 A.D. to make printing easier and quicker for everyone.

Who invented paper?

Multiple accounts say that paper was invented by an Imperial Court official named Chai Lun.

What is lacquer?

Ancient Chinese invented the lacquer to help enhance and protect artworks and furniture items.

Yuan dynasty banknote

When was the umbrella invented?

The umbrella was believed to be invented by Ancient Chinese 3,500 years ago. According to an old Chinese legend, a carpenter Lu Ban created the first umbrella.