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However, the earliest known book printed at regular size is the Diamond Sutra made during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), a 5.18 m (17 ft) long scroll which bears the date 868 AD.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.The following is a list of the Four Great Inventions—as designated by Joseph Needham (1900–1995), a British scientist, author and sinologist known for his research on the history of Chinese science and technology.Although it is recorded that the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) court eunuch Cai Lun (50 AD – AD 121) invented the pulp papermaking process and established the use of new materials used in making paper, ancient padding and wrapping paper artifacts dating to the 2nd century BC have been found in China, the oldest example of pulp papermaking being a map from Fangmatan, Tianshui; by the 3rd century, paper as a writing medium was in widespread use, replacing traditional but more expensive writing mediums such as strips of bamboo rolled into threaded scrolls, strips of silk, wet clay tablets hardened later in a furnace, and wooden tablets.Bombs launched from trebuchet catapults mounted on forecastles of naval ships ensured the victory of Song over Jin forces at the Battle of Caishi in 1161, while the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) used gunpowder bombs during their failed invasion of Japan in 12.
A sophisticated economic system in imperial China gave birth to inventions such as paper money during the Song Dynasty (960–1279).
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.
The British sinologist Francesca Bray argues that the domestication of the ox and buffalo during the Longshan culture (c. 2000 BC) period, the absence of Longshan-era irrigation or high-yield crops, full evidence of Longshan cultivation of dry-land cereal crops which gave high yields "only when the soil was carefully cultivated," suggest that the plough was known at least by the Longshan culture period and explains the high agricultural production yields which allowed the rise of Chinese civilization during the Shang Dynasty (c. For the purposes of this list, inventions are regarded as technological firsts developed in China, and as such does not include foreign technologies which the Chinese acquired through contact, such as the windmill from the Middle East or the telescope from early modern Europe.
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14th to early 15th century) and Liu Bowen (1311–1375).