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Ancient Chinese Contributions: Row Planting

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Ancient China has played a significant part in many famous inventions that have had a major impact in our lives from day to day. No matter how small they seem to be their inventions have helped us in so many ways that we have taken for granted. How many of us have ever given a thought to those that have made our lives easier by their inventions? There are quite a few from the Ancient Chinese that I was not aware of and was amazed at how many of these we do use in our lives every day and never stop to think where these items were invented. So what are some of the amazing things the Ancient Chinese have invented? 1) Row planting was first planted in the feudal period-6th century BC. This way of planting allows the crops to grow faster and stronger and they also realized that as the wind travels there is less damage in crops planted in rows due to the wind passing through gently. It is also more efficient in watering, weeding and harvesting the crops. (Stevenh) 2) The compass was created in the feudal period-4th century BC and was made of lodestone. The compass was first used by fortune-tellers before it was applied to the cardinal direction.

Then the Chinese’s started using the compass to point to the south because they considered south not north their cardinal direction. 3) Gunpowder has been credited to certain Chinese alchemists around 9th century but the legend has it as gunpowder being accidently discovered by alchemists looking for a concoction that could create immortality in humans. 4) Paper was invented in AD 105 by Cai Lun by creating a mixture of wood fiber and water pressed into a woven cloth. This allowed the moisture in the pulpy mixture to seep out resulting in a rough paper. Paper currency was first introduced by the Chinese and the earliest documentation of this invention is in the 800 BC. 5) Seismograph was created by Chang Heng a imperial astronomer during the Han Dynasty in the early 2nd century. This was used to detect earthquake tremors and their direction but could not detect the severity or predict when one was going to happen. 6) The wheelbarrow was created by Jugo Liang who lived during the Han Dynasty that came up with the concept of a one-wheeled cart used to carry heavy object in the 2nd century.

He didn’t add the barrow at the time of his invention which came later as the wheelbarrow was refined. The vehicle was used for military purposes by using them as barricades. The Chinese kept the invention a secret for many centuries. 7) Kites were first constructed by Gongshu Ban and Mo Di during the 4th century BC. The first kite that was constructed was bird shaped that dipped and dove in the wind. This was one of China’s biggest claims to fame. 8) Silk was another great invention that helped to bring peace between China and other cultures. The demands were so high for silk that it linked China to the outside world through trade. It was created during the first dynasty in China, the Shang. 9) The seed drill was another invention the Chinese farmers were using by the 2nd century BC to plant seeds into the soil at a uniform depth and covers it. When seeds were tossed by hand over the ground this created waste and uneven plant growth for the farmers. 10) Hang Gliders were invented by the end of the 6th century AD.

The Chinese managed to build kites on a larger scale and they were aerodynamic enough to hold the weight of an average sized man. These hang gliders were not used for thrill rides instead they were used by forcing convicted criminals and captured enemies to jump off cliffs while strapped to these gliders. (Clark) These are only ten of the great inventions that Ancient Chinese developed that made our lives a lot easier. If you had to choose four out of these inventions that were ingenious or innovative which ones would you pick? The ones that I have picked I feel were the most ingenious of their time. They are row planting, the compass, paper and the wheelbarrow. Where would we be without knowing how to plant our crops to get the most yields? By the Chinese inventing the row planting this enhances maximum yields as well as convince for the crop planters. Also row planting created other advantages including light absorption is maximized, wind passage along the interrows is enhanced which increases gas exchanges and prevents excessive humidity, made weeding, hauling, movement within the crops easier, enhanced visibility where plants can be inspected individually.

The Chinese invention with row planting has made it very convenient for crop planters. The compass was one of the most useful inventions by the Chinese. How would we be able to travel safely on airplanes, boats or even hiking out in the wilderness without a compass to give us the correct direction? Just think how limited our travel would be without this invention of the compass. By the Chinese inventing the compass we know we will arrive at the right destination. Paper is another most useful invention. We use paper on a daily basis in so many different ways. Without paper there is so much we would not be able to do. We would be so limited in increasing our knowledge in areas that are very important to us by not being able to read books to gain this knowledge and reading about other people’s opinions before making our own option. Paper gives us so many useful products like envelopes, notebooks, greeting cards, paper money, bandages, books wrapping paper newspapers, magazines, stationery, kites, telephone directories and so many more items. (Sharma) Where would we be without paper? The invention of the wheelbarrow has made work for construction industry workers and in gardening a lot easier by distributing the weight of its load between the wheel and the operator so enabling the convenient carriage of heavier and bulkier loads. Without the wheelbarrow a person may be able to carry half the load but would be more time consuming.

The wheelbarrow has shortened the length of time in completing a job. One of the Ancient Chinese inventions I could not live without would have to be paper. I love to read books as my past time and I would be totally lost if I could not pick up a book to read. To me reading is more enjoyable than setting down to watch television. I like the idea of being able to pick that book up and read anytime I desire. I don’t have to wait for a certain day or night to read my book. Another thing I think is very important is being able to send a greeting card to a special person on their special occasion. That to me it means more than the gift and something you can save to look at years later. I can’t image not being without paper to read books, send cards, looking up a telephone number, going shopping without paper money and just doing the usual things from day to day that require paper. Can you image if we didn’t have paper money how many coins we would have to carry to make a purchase? I am so glad the Ancient Chinese invented paper that has made it easier for the world to offer some many items that people can enjoy.


Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderland, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from http: // owl. English. Purdue. edu / owl / resource/560/01/ Clark, Josh, “Top 10 Ancient Chinese Inventions. Retrieved from http://history.howstuffworks. com/asian-history/10-ancient-chinese-inventions10.htm

Stevenh, “10 Great Ancient Chinese Inventions.” April 18, 2009: Retrieved
from http://listverse. com/2009/04/18/10-great-ancient-chinese-inventions/
Sharma, Supriya, “Save Paper, Save Trees, Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Save- Paper,-Save-Tree&id=3897971

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