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Ancient Chinese Contributions

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Ancient Chinese Contributions

Archsheena Smith

Professor Jane Guttman

Hum 111-World Cultures I

August 26, 2012

Ancient Chinese have a full history of invention and contribution towards Western society. 10 of the useful inventions of ancient China are; papermaking movable type printing, gunpowder, compass, porcelain, iron and steel smelting, silk, tea production, mechanical clock, and alcohol. Majority if not all of the ancient Chinese 10 inventions have proven itself useful in today’s society by allowing the original ideals and creation of inventions to evolve into useful products that we can use on a daily basis today.


Papermaking was invaded and Western Han Dynasty between 202 BC to 9AD, but the first batch of paper was distributed from the Eastern Han Dynasty between 25 to 220. During the time of the Han Dynasty paper was made out fishnets, tree bark, bits of rope, and rags (Liyao, 2011). Presumable the idea to invent paper came from the heaviness of other writing materials such as pottery, animal bones, and stones by casting them in bronze. The expense of older writing materials also aided in the decision to produce paper, in the past people utilized bamboo and silk fabric to write on.

The actual name for paper derived from papyrus, which was the first writing material used in Egypt in 3100 ("," 1997). Its primary function was for the use of calligraphy (the art of producing artistic, stylized, handwriting (Sayre, 2011). The technique and material used for making paper spread after Tang’s army was defeated by the Turks and taking as prisoners, which forced the Chinese soldier to teach the Arabs papermaking. Papermaking technique was taught to the Egyptians by the Arabs, the spread of papermaking traveled from the Silk Road to other areas such as North Africa in 1150 AD and in Spain as a result of the crusades.

Paper was also made in other villages such as Xieya, in Changsun during the time of the Qing and Ming Dynasty to this day people in Xieya continue to produce paper by hand while using the kilns method to dry the paper. Western society on the other hand uses machines that are located in factories or paper mills to produce a large quantity of paper. The process of creating paper is slightly different. Tree bark are shaved and cut into wood chips which are then cooked in a digester that breaks down the wood chips fiber to product the soft consistency of paper. The ending result is paper that have a brown texture which we normally use a bag in grocery stores, when the paper needs to be white the factory workers bleach the paper.

We have reaped the benefit of Ancient China’s invention because we can


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