China: technical, scientific and social change

What | Who | Why | Modernity | Conclusion | Maps | Texts

China map

Traditional phases: wü xing, or the theory of the five elements. From Shü Jîng

Three great inventions (Sir Francis Bacon postulated have served as emblems of advancement) associated with "modernity:"

Han, Tang, and Sung dynasties reveal:

Chinese are originators and transformers of material culture.

Four lessons emerge from the transfer of technical discovery and expertise from east to west:

  1. Discovery [Gé Zhî ] does not mean use and neither is it the same as dispersal.
  2. Use is not always decisive despite proficiency. (Astronomy, polaris)
  3. Invention is the parent of necessity.

4. Sufficiency may be the purpose of progress but it relates to discontent.

What | Who | Why | Modernity | Conclusion | Maps | Texts

Existing and proposed nuclear power plants for the People's Republic, 2006.


asian mapWhy then in 1400, when China, India, Persia and the Ottomans stand equally with western European powers does the apparent race to ascendancy not belong to China?


Therefore, at the Thirty Years war’s end in , western European rivalry leads to colonialism while Chinese civilization is “colonized” by the Manchu or Ch’ing dynasty.

What | Who | Why | Modernity | Conclusion | Maps | Texts

What ? Rice and silk culture as a technological complex.


Lou Shu. Pictures of Tilling and Weaving 1145 AD

irrigation; “step” bucket chain to raise water into the fields.

Rice & silk were currency used by farmers to pay taxes (burdensome).

China in 1600

Asia in 1600


What | Who | Why | Modernity | Conclusion | Maps | Texts

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