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It is apparent that China has a glorious, ancient history, from the Feudal periods up to the Modern era (Deng, 2011). China makes the source of a number of incredible and significant inventions, which have continued to be useful in human society. There is a possibility that the Chinese has defeated other ancient cultures concerning the contributions to the advancement of human kind. Various cultures have contributed to the achievements of the world civilization in the fields of shipping, agriculture, astronomy, oil, printing, martial arts, mathematics, and ammunition. Ancient Chinese inventions such as silk, gunpowder, paper, printing, tea, iron plows, wheelbarrow, porcelain, deep drilling, compass, and the toilet paper have been significant pieces of Chinese and the entire world (Deng, 2011). These inventions are the main blocks in the building of the world. The four main innovations, which are the most ingenious or innovative, are gunpowder, compass, paper, and printing.
Certainly, paper is the most significant invention of Chinese culture (Baumol & Blinder, 2012). This invention was an enormous contribution to both the Chinese culture and the world civilization. The Chinese invented paper at about 105 A.D, when Cai Lun made a piece of paper using mulberry and other materials such as fishnets, hemp waste, and old rags (Baumol & Blinder, 2012). Cai Lun ameliorated both the quality and the manufacturing techniques of the paper. The basic principles of papermaking, which Cai Lun invented, are still in use today. Before the Chinese invented the paper, people used to write characters on animal bones, bamboo, stones, or turtlebacks (Deng, 2011). The storage of paintings and great ideas were a challenging task. Because of paper, it became easy to convey the thoughts of people in writing and educating people (Baumol & Blinder, 2012). This has promoted and accelerated the steps of human development and civilization. This invention has allowed humankind to keep records, preserve history, exchange knowledge, and create art masterpiece. Without paper, it would be impossible to create other inventions. Paper is a significant part of people’s daily lives because it is a print medium for communicating information and knowledge, packaging materials, daily hygiene, making bank notes, creating medical records, and for entertainment (Deng, 2011).
Printing is another invention among the four significant inventions of the ancient China (Shaw & Grall, 2003). Ancient Chinese invented printing a long with the invention of paper and development of hand carving techniques. During the Tang Dynasty, the Chinese put block printing into use as the first technique (Shaw & Grall, 2003). By inventing the movable type print and renovating printing techniques, Bi Sheng boosted the efficiency of printing during the Song Dynasty (Deng, 2011). The movable type print is a reform within the history of printing, which contributed to human civilization significantly. In 1450 building on movable type, German goldsmith Johannes Gutenberg transformed human society with mass printing, which enabled the dissemination of information (Baumol & Blinder, 2012). The Chinese had offered entirely new form of learning with the evolution of movable type print and the rapid growth of printed reading materials. Printed books are still the most prevalent form of learning in the contemporary society (Deng, 2011).
Another significant invention in Ancient China is the invention of gunpowder (Deng, 2011). Taoist monks in Ancient China invented Gunpowder as they were searching through alchemy for the resolution to human immortality. Originally, Ancient China used gunpowder for signal flares and fireworks before adapting it to military use (Challen, 2005). The use of gunpowder in artillery with access to the technology provided people with a greater ability to protect themselves from their enemies and control others. Chinese inventions have had a profound effect on human culture through centuries. None of other inventions has had the impact that gunpowder has had, for bad and for good. Usage of gunpowder in artillery allows people to keep their families safe, facilitate hunting, and enable the police force to protect their country from crime and terrorist. On the other hand, gunpowder has increased the crime against humanity (Deng, 2011).
The compass is another significant invention that the Chinese invented in Ancient China (Deng, 2011). This instrument enabled the travelers to find out the way because they could be able to identify different directions. The ancient Chinese people during the Han Dynasty employed the north-south oriented lodestone ladle-and-bowl shaped compasses for geomancy and divination (Deng, 2011). The instrument was like a spoon, which when put on a plate on the ground, its handle always pointed to the south. This enabled man to use the compass for sea navigation for the first time. Over many years, the use of the compass has developed dramatically. Besides the continued use of the compass in boating and hiking, it is now useful while steering vehicles. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in vehicles are just compasses that have undergone re-modulation (Deng, 2011).
Invention of the paper is one of the inventions in Ancient China that most people find inevitable (Baumol & Blinder, 2012). Paper has given people knowledge to communicate with the world around them through books. Individuals have understood the applications of the modern technologies, such as computer and the Internet using books. However, the modern technology has not subordinated the usage of paper. People have used paper in making a variety of documents, such as cheeks, diploma, deeds, marriage license, birth certificate, just to mention a few. Paper is useful as packaging materials, and for daily hygiene, especially the toilet paper (Baumol & Blinder, 2012).
The four significant ancient inventions in Ancient China made remarkable contributions to the culture of humankind across the world (Deng, 2011). They were also significant symbols of the role of China as a great world civilization. The inventions of paper and printing gave learning and ancient history for world civilization. Gunpowder altered the nature of warfare through giving the advantage over foes. The compass enabled navigation and exploration in entirely new ways (Deng, 2011).