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History of Technology

(862 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter
In China, the manufacture of implements, pit and pile dwellings, ceramic, textile, and other products which require a high degree of technical know-how and craftsmanship, has a history which goes back at least to the 5th millennium BCE. For the second half of the Zhou period, the existence of a multitude of crafts is documented in the expression "a hundred craftsmen" ( bai gong) in the Kao gong ji ( Report on the Crafts), and in Six Craftsmen ( Liu gong) in the Liji ( Book of Rites). In order to rationally explain existing implements, products and technologies and to entrench them…


(1,417 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter
For officials and nobles in imperial China, clothing (yifu) not only served as protection "from cold and heat", but primarily as a display of social status while also having official functions. Clothing of the common people did not receive any literary attention. Tradition was only handed down with regard to matrimonial clothing, burial clothing, and the traditional costumes of the national minorities. At the time of the 4th millennium BCE, all the requirements had been fulfilled for manufacturing clothing out of textile resources and particularly silk. Du…


(957 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter
True Chinese silk ( cansi) consists of the semi-transparent double thread of fibroin which is produced by the caterpillar of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori L. (sericaria) ) through gland secretion and enclosed by silken glue (sericin). The mulberry silkworm moth belongs to the family of Bombycidae in the class of the nocturnal butterfly (Lepidoptera nocturno). Its caterpillars are fed exclusively with leaves from the white mulberry tree (Morus alba). In addition, there is also tussah silk, which is produced by silkworms living in the wild, for example by oak silkworms (Antheraea p…

Funeral Customs

(978 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter
In China ancestor worship as the ritual veneration of the dead is the most important religious ritual in which the deceased (as ancestor) stands in a mutual relationship with his descendent. Every person was believed to have a spiritual soul ( hun), which after death ascends to heaven, and a bodily soul ( bo), which remains inside the body. In order to prevent the bodily soul from causing misfortune, the descendents provided a grave for it. This residence for the dead was equipped according to the needs of the deceased during his lifetime. Graves document the social and intellectual sta…

Textile Industry

(1,984 words)

Author(s): Kuhn, Dieter | Hammer, Ramona
The production of food and textiles was always understood in China to be the basis of the prosperity and economy of the people. The adage had always been: "the man who does not till the soil, shall go hungry; the woman who does not weave her cloth, shall suffer from cold". In China, the manufacture of textile structures and products can be traced back to the 5th millennium BCE. Production of genuine silk cloth ( cansi) probably began long before the 3rd millennium BCE, when the earliest archeological findings appear. The raw materials for textiles such as silk, ramie, …