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China, a History


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Author Topic: China, a History  (Read 3955 times)
Bee Cha
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« Reply #195 on: December 08, 2007, 08:41:21 pm »

Although the use of a teasing mechanical puppet in this wine-serving device was certainly ingenious, the use of mechanical puppets in China date back to the Qin Dynasty (221207 BC) while Ma Jun in the 3rd century had an entire mechanical puppet theater operated by the rotation of a waterwheel. There was also an automatic wine-server known in the ancient Greco-Roman world, a design of Heron of Alexandria that employed an urn with an inner valve and a lever device similar to the one described above.

The Chinese of the Tang era were also very interested in the benefits of officially classifying all of the medicines used in pharmacology. In 657, Emperor Gaozong of Tang (r. 649683) commissioned the literary project of publishing an official materia medica, complete with text and aid of illustrated drawing for 833 different medicincal substances taken from different stones, minerals, metals, plants, herbs, animals, vegetables, fruits, and cereal crops. Beyond medicine, the Chinese of the Tang period employed complex chemical formulas for an array of different purposes, often found through experiments of Taoist alchemy. These included a waterproof and dust-repelling cream or varnish for clothes and weapons, fireproof cement for glass and porcelain wares, a waterproof cream applied to silk clothes of underwater divers, a cream designated for polishing bronze mirrors, and many other useful formulas.
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