The paper "Useful Contributions or Inventions Created by the Ancient Chinese" is a wonderful example of an assignment on history.
I. Identify eight to ten of these useful inventions or contributions The Chinese have invented a lot of things that are being used by the modern world today. Among these are;
a. Acupuncture – the patently traditional Chinese medicinal practice of inserting needles into specific points of the body for therapeutic purposes and relieving pain. Acupuncture was first used as early 3rd to 2nd centuries BC.
b. Animal zodiac – the use of zodiac signs are also Chinese inventions. The first mention of the 12 animal zodiac signs was written on a bamboo slip dated way back to the 4th century BC.
c. Civil service examination – the requirement of a candidate to pass a certain exam before assuming a government post also came from the Chinese through the Xiaolin system of the Han Dynasty (22 BC-220 AD).
d. Crossbow, handheld – as opposed to popular belief, the handheld crossbow was first invented by the Chinese. Evidence of bronze crossbow bolts was already used as early as mid 5the century BC at the State of Chu in Yutaishan, Hubei.
e. Exploding cannonballs – a byproduct invention of the gunpowder which was first used as early as 14th to early 15th century AD.
f. Fireworks – the fireworks that we see during festivities is actually a Chinese invention it was first used in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and is a byproduct of the invention of gunpowder (Harvey, 2011).
g. Kite – the popular flying toy among kids is actually a Chinese invention. It was first mentioned in the Mozi, where Chinese engineer Lu Ban from the State of Lu created a wooden bird that remained flying in the air for three days.
h. Restaurant menu – the listing of foods that we would like to eat in a restaurant actually originated in China. It was practiced during the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) where urban shopkeepers of the merchant middle class who had little time to eat at home. They ventured to eat at places outside of their home and their demand for a variety of food gave birth to the menu.
II. Four most useful contributions or inventions created by the ancient Chinese
Chinese civilization is considered to be the longest continuous civilization in the world. During the process of developing its civilization, the Chinese have contributed four major inventions that are considered an indispensable tool in modern society. These are the paper, the printing press, the gunpowder, and the compass.
The paper that we used today for publication and writing was invented during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-AD 220). Legends have it that the appearance of the first paper was presented to an Emperor in the year 105 AD by Cai Lun but archeological evidence shows that the paper was already used 200 years before then. The first paper was made of bamboo fiber (Anon). The earliest paper known that has writing on it was found in the ruins of a Chinese watchtower at Tsakhortei.
b. Printing press
The first printing press originated in China and can be credited to Bi Sheng in the year 1045 AD. The first printing press was a woodblock printing. Its first specimen was a single-sheet Dharani sutra that was printed on a hemp paper between 650 and 670 AD. The first printed periodical, the Kaiyuan Za Bao to evidence the Chinese invention of the printing press was made available in 713 AD (Reed, 2007).
Gunpowder is a Chinese invention that revolutionized warfare. It was invented in the eighth century AD. It was produced by combining sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate that can be used as a weapon for military applications. The first transcript of gunpowder invention was written by Zeng Gongliang, Ding Du, and Yang Weide in the Wujing Zongyao, a military manuscript compiled in 1044 during the Song Dynasty (960–1279). The invention of gunpowder sprouted many other inventions such as exploding cannonball, flares etch that is dependent on gunpowder.
The Chinese first understood magnetism hence is their invention of the compass. Its first application, however, was not used for navigation but for divination and geomancy. It was first used by the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) by using north-south orientation lodestone ladle-and-bowl shaped compasses.