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The Four Great Inventions

Printing, Compass, Paper and Gunpowder are the four great inventions in acient China.
Printing: Following the invention of paper and ink, printing was a great innovation. Text was first written on a piece of thin paper, then glued face down onto a wooden plate. The characters were carved out to make a wooden-block printing plate. However, wooden-block printing took a long time as a new block had to be carved for every page in a book.
Compass: It is believed that during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC) the compass was spoon or ladle shaped, comprising of a bronze plate and magnetic loadstone. The symbolism of the circular centre being heaven, and the square plate being earth was also very important. Scientific testing of this type of compass has found it to be tolerable accurate.
Paper: China was the first nation to invented paper, with the earliest form, generally very thick, coarse and of uneven texture, made from pounded and disintegrated hemp fibers, appearing in the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-23AD). In the eighth century, trading along the Silk Road enabled the Arab countries to begin to learn how to make paper.
Gunpowder: The invention of gunpowder is closely related to the advanced ancient workmanship of the smelting industry. Knowledge of chemistry and the nature of different mineral materials were gained during the process of smelting. With the knowledge, ancient necromancers tried to seek the elixir of immortality from certain kinds of ores and fuel.

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