In the paper making process established by Cai in 105, a boiled mixture of mulberry tree bark, hemp, old linens and fish nets created a pulp that was pounded into paste and stirred with water; a wooden frame sieve with a mat of sewn reeds was then dunked into the mixture, which was then shaken and then dried into sheets of paper that were bleached under the exposure of sunlight; K. Tom says this process was gradually improved through leaching, polishing and glazing to produce a smooth, strong paper. Woodblock printing: The earliest specimen of woodblock printing is a single-sheet dharani sutra in Sanskrit that was printed on hemp paper between 650 and 670 AD; it was unearthed in 1974 from a Tang tomb near Xi'an.
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With the navigational aid of the 11th century compass and ability to steer at high sea with the 1st century sternpost rudder, premodern Chinese sailors sailed as far as East Africa.
In water-powered clockworks, the premodern Chinese had used the escapement mechanism since the 8th century and the endless power-transmitting chain drive in the 11th century.
They also made large mechanical puppet theaters driven by waterwheels and carriage wheels and wine-serving automatons driven by paddle wheel boats.
Some of the first inventions of Neolithic China include semilunar and rectangular stone knives, stone hoes and spades, the cultivation of millet, rice, and the soybean, the refinement of sericulture, the building of rammed earth structures with lime-plastered house floors, the creation of pottery with cord-mat-basket designs, the creation of pottery tripods and pottery steamers and the development of ceremonial vessels and scapulimancy for purposes of divination. Later inventions such as the multiple-tube seed drill and heavy moldboard iron plough enabled China to sustain a much larger population through greater improvements in agricultural output.
Joseph Needham and Tsien Tsuen-hsuin write that the cutting and printing techniques used for the delicate calligraphy of the Diamond Sutra book are much more advanced and refined than the miniature dharani sutra printed earlier.
Movable type: The polymath scientist and official Shen Kuo (1031–1095) of the Song Dynasty (960–1279) was the first to describe the process of movable type printing in his Dream Pool Essays of 1088.A sophisticated economic system in imperial China gave birth to inventions such as paper money during the Song Dynasty (960–1279).The invention of gunpowder during the mid 9th century led to an array of inventions such as the fire lance, land mine, naval mine, hand cannon, exploding cannonballs, multistage rocket and rocket bombs with aerodynamic wings and explosive payloads.The historical region now known as China experienced a history involving mechanics, hydraulics and mathematics applied to horology, metallurgy, astronomy, agriculture, engineering, music theory, craftsmanship, naval architecture and warfare.By the Warring States period (403–221 BC), inhabitants of the Warring States had advanced metallurgic technology, including the blast furnace and cupola furnace, while the finery forge and puddling process were known by the Han Dynasty (202 BC–AD 220).Its gunpowder formulas describe the use of incendiary bombs launched from catapults, thrown down from defensive walls, or lowered down the wall by use of iron chains operated by a swape lever.