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When the torrents on Fan Shan were abundant, the gates were kept closed, and this caused damage by flooding of fields, tombs, and houses. When the torrents subsided in the late autumn the sluices were opened, and thus the fields were irrigated with silt-bearing water, but the deposit was not as thick as what the peasants call 'steamed cake silt' so they were not satisfied.

Finally the government got tired of it and stopped.

Science and Civilisation in China - Wikipedia

In this connection I remember reading the Jiayipan of Bai Juyi the poet in which he says that he once had a position as Traffic Commissioner. As the Bian River was getting so shallow that it hindered the passage of boats he suggested that the sluice gates along the river and canal should be closed, but the Military Governor pointed out that the river was bordered on both sides by fields which supplied army grain, and if these were denied irrigation water and silt because of the closing of the sluice gates, it would lead to shortages in army grain supplies.

From this I learnt that in the Tang period there were government fields and sluice gates on both sides of the river, and that irrigation was carried on continuously even when the water was high. If this could be done successfully in old times, why can it not be done now? I should like to enquire further about the matter from experts. Although the drydock had been known in Ptolemaic Egypt since the late 3rd century BCE by a Phoenician ; not used again until Henry VII of England in , the scientist and statesman Shen Kuo wrote of its use in China to repair boats during the 11th century.

At the beginning of the dynasty c. After many years, their hulls decayed and needed repairs, but the work was impossible as long as they were afloat.

So in the Xi-Ning reign period to a palace official Huang Huaixin suggested a plan. A large basin was excavated at the north end of the Jinming Lake capable of containing the dragon ships, and in it heavy crosswise beams were laid down upon a foundation of pillars. Then a breach was made so that the basin quickly filled with water, after which the ships were towed in above the beams. The breach now being closed the water was pumped out by wheels so that the ships rested quite in the air. When the repairs were complete, the water was let in again, so that the ships were afloat once more and could leave the dock.

Finally the beams and pillars were taken away, and the whole basin covered over with a great roof so as to form a hanger in which the ships could be protected from the elements and avoid the damage caused by undue exposure. The Chinese of the Song Dynasty were adept sailors who traveled to ports of call as far away as Fatimid Egypt.

They were well equipped for their journeys abroad, in large seagoing vessels steered by stern-post rudders and guided by the directional compass. Even before Shen Kuo and Zhu Yu had described the mariner's magnetic needle compass, the earlier military treatise of the Wujing Zongyao in had also described a thermoremanence compass.

There were plenty of descriptions in Chinese literature of the time on the operations and aspects of seaports, maritime merchant shipping, overseas trade, and the sailing ships themselves. In , the author Zhu Yu wrote not only of the magnetic compass for navigation, but also a hundred foot line with a hook that was cast over the deck of the ship, used to collect mud samples at the bottom of the sea in order for the crew to determine their whereabouts by the smell and appearance of the mud.

All around there was a bustling display of government run grain-tax transport ships, tribute vessels and barges, private shipping vessels, a multitude of busy fishers in small fishing boats, along with the rich enjoying the comforts of their luxurious private yachts. Besides Zhu Yu there were other prominent Chinese authors of maritime interests as well.

In , the Guangzhou customs officer Zhou Qufei, who wrote about the Arab slave trade of Africans as far as Madagascar , [76] stated this about Chinese seagoing ships, their sizes, durability at sea, and the lives of those on board:.

Civil Engineering Nautics

The ships which sail the southern sea and south of it are like houses. When their sails are spread they are like great clouds in the sky. Their rudders are several tens of feet long. A single ship carries several hundred men, and has in the stores a year's supply of grain.

Pigs are fed and wine fermented on board. There is no account of dead or living, no going back to the mainland when once the people have set forth upon the caerulean sea. At daybreak, when the gong sounds aboard the ship, the animals can drink their fill, and crew and passengers alike forget all dangers.

To those on board everything is hidden and lost in space, mountains, landmarks, and the countries of foreigners. The shipmaster may say 'To make such and such a country, with a favourable wind, in so many days, we should sight such and such a mountain, then the ship must steer in such and such a direction'. But suddenly the wind may fall, and may not be strong enough to allow of the sighting of the mountain on the given day; in such a case, bearings may have to be changed.

And the ship on the other hand may be carried far beyond the landmark and may lose its bearings. A gale may spring up, the ship may be blown hither and thither, it may meet with shoals or be driven upon hidden rocks, then it may be broken to the very roofs of its deckhouses. A great ship with heavy cargo has nothing to fear from the high seas, but rather in shallow water it will come to grief. He noted that in and around the seas of China, only the distinct Chinese junk ships were used to sail the waters. The sails of these vessels are made of strips of bamboo , woven into the form of matting.

The sailors never lower them while sailing, but simply change the direction of them according to whether the wind is blowing from one side or the other.

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When the ships cast anchor, the sails are left standing in the wind. Each of these ships is worked by 1, men, sailors and marines , among whom there are archers and crossbowmen furnished with shields, and men who throw pots of naptha. Each great vessel is followed by three others, a 'nisfi', a 'thoulthi' and a 'roubi' f endnote: a pinnace , a small boat fitted with a rudder, and a rowing boat. Ibn Batutta then went on describing the means of their construction, and accurate depictions of separate bulkhead compartments in the hulls of the ships:.


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This is the manner in which they are made; two parallel walls of very thick wooden planking are raised, and across the space between them are placed very thick planks the bulkheads secured longitudinally and transversely by means of large nails, each three ells in length. When these walls have thus been built, the lower deck is fitted in, and the ship is launched before the upper works are finished. The pieces of wood, and those parts of the hull, near the water -line serve for the crew to wash and to accomplish their natural necessities. On the sides of these pieces of wood also the oars are found; they are as big as masts, and are worked by 10 or 15 men each , who row standing up.

Although Ibn Batutta had mentioned the size of the sailing crew, he described the sizes of the vessels further, as well as the lavish merchant cabins on board:. The vessels have four decks, upon which there are cabins and saloons for merchants. Several of these 'mysria' contain cupboards and other conveniences; they have doors which can be locked, and keys for their occupiers. The merchants take with them their wives and concubines.


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It often happens that a man can be in his cabin without others on board realizing it, and they do not see him until the vessel has arrived in some port. The sailors also have their children in such cabins; and in some parts of the ship they sew garden herbs, vegetables, and ginger in wooden tubs.


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The Commander of such a vessel is a great Emir ; when he lands, the archers and the Ethiops i. When he arrives at the guesthouse where he is to stay, they set up their lances on each side of the gate, and mount guard throughout his visit. During the Song Dynasty there was also great amount of attention given to the building of efficient automotive vessels known as paddle wheel craft. The latter had been known in China perhaps since the 5th century, [80] and certainly by the Tang Dynasty in with the successful paddle wheel warship design of Li Gao. The Arab or Persian Commissioner of Merchant Shipping for Quanzhou , the Muslim Pu Shougeng who served from — noted that paddle wheel ships were also used by the Chinese as tugboats for towing.

An illustration of blast furnace bellows operated by waterwheels, from the Nong Shu , by Wang Zhen , , during the Yuan Dynasty. The art of metallurgy during the Song Dynasty built upon the efforts of earlier Chinese dynasties, while new methods were incorporated. This was the "berganesque" method that produced inferior, inhomogeneous steel, while the other was a precursor to the modern Bessemer process that utilized partial decarbonization via repeated forging under a cold blast.

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Wagner points out that this estimate was based upon the total number of government tax receipts on iron from the various iron-producing prefectures in the empire. For example, the poet and statesman Su Shi wrote a memorial to the throne in the year that specified 36 ironwork smelters, each employing a work force of several hundred people, in the Liguo Industrial Prefecture under his governance while he administered Xuzhou. The effect of wind power was appreciated in China long before the introduction of the windmill during the Song period.

It is uncertain when the ancient Chinese used their very first inflatable bellows as wind-blowing machines for kilns and furnaces. Dr Tshao had been one of my wartime companions, and while in Cambridge made a most valuable study of the alchemical books in the Too Tsattg. Although Dr Ho is now Professor of Chinese at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, it is my earnest hope that he will be able to rejoin us in Cambridge for the final preparation of the volume on chemistry and chemical technology.

It is good to record that already a number of important subsections of both these volumes 5 and 6 have been written. The publication of some of these in draft form facilitates criticism and aid by specialists in the different fields. Lastly, an occidental collaborator appears with us on the title-page of the first part of this volume, Mr Kenneth Robinson, one who combines most unusually sinological and musical knowledge. We were fortunate indeed that he was willing to undertake the drafting of the Section on the recondite but fascinating subject of physical acoustics, indispensable because it was one of the major interests of the scientific minds of the Chinese middle ages.

He is thus the only participator in this enterprise so far who has contributed direct authorship as well as research activity. Another European colleague, Mr John Combridge, of the Engineering Department of the General Post Office, has greatly added to our understanding of medieval Chinese clockwork, especially by experiments with working models.

Once again it is a pleasure to offer public gratitude to those who have helped us in many different ways. First, our advisers in linguistic and cultural fields unfamiliar to us, notably Prof. Ledyard for Korean. Secondly, those who have given us special assistance and counsel, Dr H. Sterland in mechanical engineering, the late Dr Herbert Chatley in hydraulic engineering and Cdr.

George Naish in nautics. Thirdly, all those whose names will be found in the adjoining list of readers and kind critics of Sections in draft or proof form p. But only Dr Dorothy Needham, F. Once again we renew our warmest thanks to Mr Derek Bryan, O. Miss Muriel Moyle has continued to provide her very detailed indexes, the excellence of which has been saluted by many reviewers.

The part played by publisher and printer in a work such as this, considered in terms cither of finance or technical skill, is no less vital than the research, the organisation and the writing itself. Few authors could have more appreciation of their colleagues executive and executant than we for the Syndics and the Staff of the Cambridge University Press. Among the latter formerly was our friend Frank Kendon, for many years Assistant Secretary, whose death occurred after the appearance of Volume 3. Known in many circles as a poet and literary scholar of high achievement, he was capable of divining the poetry implicit in some of the books which passed through the Press, and the form which his understanding took was the bestowal of infinite pains to achieve the external dress best adapted to the content.

To the Master and Fellows of the Hall of the Annunciation, commonly called Gonville and Caius College, a family of immediate colleagues, I can offer only inadequate words. The daily appreciation and encouragement of every one in the Society helps us to surmount all the difficulties of the task.

Nor can I omit meed of thanks to the Head of the Department of Biochemistry and its Staff for the indulgent understanding which they show to a colleague seconded, as it were, to another universe. The financing of the research work for our project has always been difficult and still presents serious problems. We are nevertheless deeply indebted to the Wellcome Trust, whose exceptionally generous support has relieved us of all anxiety concerning the biological and medical volume.

We cannot forbear from offering our deepest gratitude for this to its Scientific Consultant, formerly long its Chairman, Sir Henry Dale, O. An ample benefaction by the Bollingen Foundation, elsewhere achnowledged, has assured the adequate illustration of the successive volumes.

Here we wish to pay a tribute to the memory of a great physician and servant of his country, Wu Lien-Te, of Emmanuel College, already Major in the Chinese Army Medical Corps before the fell of the Chhing dynasty, founder long ago of the Manchurian Plague Prevention Service and pioneer organiser of public health work in China. During the last year of his life Dr Wu exerted himself to help in securing funds for our work, and his kindness in this will always be warmly remembered. It may at first sight be found surprising that this is not preceded by an account of mining and metallurgy in old China.

But although metals played so dominant a part in post- Renaissance engineering, this was by no means their role in the Middle Ages, either in East or West.