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Ancient Chinese Inventions

Written By, Christina Jeter

Dr. Amy Rofail

Humanities 111

August 25, 2012

China is one of the most populous countries in the world today. The earliest ruling dynasty in China was the Shang (c. 1650-1027 BCE). In 221 BCE, many of the warring kingdoms became united as one single empire known as the Qin dynasty (221-207 BCE). After the Qin dynasty in (207 BCE-220 CE) the Han dynasty ran the empire. In 1912, China became a republic. China is a very diverse land with many different people, customs, landscapes, and wildlife today. Many of China’s inventions are currently used today.

There are ten inventions from ancient China that changed the world. The Chinese invented the first matches, which were thin sticks of pine. These were known as “fire sticks” in Chinese. Sulfur was put on the tips of the sticks so they would ignite quickly when touched to a flame. Another invention that came from the Chinese was a toothbrush. In ancient civilizations, they cleaned their teeth with a “chew stick.” This was a thin twig with a frayed end that was rubbed against the teeth. The first tooth brushes with bristles were invented in the late 1400s CE in China. The handle was made of bamboo or bone and the bristles were made from the hairs of a hog’s neck. Could you imagine brushing your teeth with just a thin twig frayed at the bottom?

During the Bronze Age, the Chinese developed Chinese Calligraphy which was a writing system that used individual pictograph characters to represent distinct ideas and specific spoken words. This writing system was invented by Fu Xi who was inspired by the concellations and animal footprints. The principal writing instrument was a brush that was dipped in ink. The Chinese also invented row planting. They would plant crops in rows to help them grow faster and stronger. Planting crops in rows made...
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