Categories : Ancient Inventions Chinese Inventions Innovations Science Discovery


Wall of China Zhou DynastyThe Zhou Dynasty of Ancient China lasted from 1122 BC to 256 BC, followed the Shang (Yin) Dynasty, and preceded the Qin Dynasty.  The Dynasty itself was the longest running in Chinese history – though the Zhou control of China lasted for a much shorter period than the dynasty itself.  Through the dynasty, there were many impressive inventions in innovations, ranging from the development of writing to the introduction of iron to Chinese Society.

During the Zhou reign, Chinese territory nearly doubled, in large part due to the introduction of iron weapons to the Chinese military. They were also the first to use horsemen and chariots for war – as such, warfare progressed from a more respectful upper class fight to brutal foot soldier war.  They also started building clay walls around their cities to protect from barbarian invasions.

Perhaps the biggest advancements came in the realm of philosophy and culture.  The Zhou dynasty is home to the Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism schools of thought.  Poetry an dprose were created, and iron was also introduced to agriculture, allowing for increased productivity.

The Zhou dynasty also introduced the concept of irrigation, copper coins, chop sticks, and developed a more robust trading system.

Zhou Dynasty Innovations & Advancements

– perfection of bronze casting, development of lost wax technology
– gold and silver inlays in metal and wooden/lacquered objects
– begin of iron casting technology and widespread use of iron tools during Warring States Period
– development of warfare technology like iron weapons, armament, chariots and fortifications
– engineering technology for irrigation, drainage, waterways, canals, dikes, dams
– development of music temperation by pipes and bells
– dyeing of yarns and woven materials like silk and linen
– glass production
– multi-color lacquering of wooden or bamboo objects
Astronomy, Astrology, Geography, Physics:
– perfection of the calendar
– regular observation of the starry sky and recording of irregular astronomical events
– maps of the starry sky; first geographical maps
– division of China into the Nine Provinces
– discovering of magnetism
– description of basic arithmetics and fractions
– calculating with chips or tallies
– geometry and trigonometry
– amelioration of ploughing methods
– use of fertilizers and pesticides
– descriptions of healing methods like acupuncture and moxibustion

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 Posted on : December 15, 2008 - Last updated on Jun 13, 2014

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4 Responses to “Chinese Inventions – Zhou Inventions & Innovations”
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  1. This states “The Zhou Dynasty of Ancient China lasted from 1122 BC to 256 BC.” However, all other sources I have checked state that the Zhou Dynasty started in 1046 BC. I’m not saying this is incorrect, but I’m not sure when the Zhou Dynasty really started. Someone please help?

    1. Excellent point Ashley. There is some debate amongst historians over the actual year the Zhou Dynasty started.

      It is noted in Wikipedia’s entry of the Zhou Dynasty: “Because the Zhou state existed before 1046 BC, there is some academic dispute as to the actual beginning of the Zhou dynasty, with proposed dates ranging between 1122 BC, 1027 BC. Chinese historians take 841 BC as the first year of consecutive annual dating of the history of China, based on the Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian.”

      I hope this has answered your initial question. Please let me know if you need some more detail.

  2. Very interesting..Thank you! 🙂

  3. Lexi wrigley says :

    this does not give me enough information i need more pleaz

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