15th-18th Century Comparative Analysis of Chinese and Western Technology Development

Author:Ma Chong

Supervisor:Zhao Yi


Degree Year:2018





Science and technology as short for science and technology,mostly regarded as an indivisible whole,however,there are still obvious boundaries and barriers between science and technology,Science is too partial to purely theoretical exploration,The technology is close to the actual life.In ancient China,numerous scientific and technological achievements were produced,One of the most brilliant color is a technical achievement,According to Mr.Joseph Needham’s "History of Science and Technology in China",we have drawn a chart of China’s total science and technology(Chart 205),It can be clearly seen that the sum of ancient Chinese social science and technology is almost identical with the level of technological achievement.Western society generally takes the Da Vinci era as the pinnacle of the past technological age,treat Galilean era as the beginning of modern science,this period can be defined as about 15-18 century,coincides with the Ming and Qing Dynasties in ancient Chinese society,it is also the highest development of science and technology in ancient China.Western society in the 15-18 century 300 years time.Has completely transformed from the technological era of Leonardo da Vinci into the scientific era,while China has made some progress in the technology field,but still failed to enter the threshold of the scientific age,the reason for this is not just a summary of past history,it is also an exploration of the driving force behind China’s social development today,it is worth us to dig deeper.In this paper,through systematic study and analysis of the technological development process in the five major social fields of the 15th and 18th centuries in the Western societies,through the development of technology to start,explore the process of development and progress during these three hundred years,understand deeply the Intrinsic Motive Force and Choice of Forward Direction of Western Technology Development,compared with the development of China in the same period,find mutual technical exchange during this period,and appraised the exchange for the development of both sides to help,from the technical point of view of depth and horizontal contrast,the 15th-18th centuries of the development of technology in China and the West are described visually,analysis of the specific where and when ancient China began to lag,then conduct a multi-faceted analysis.In order to better contrast the development of Chinese and Western technology,The article mainly selects five aspects of textile,salt making,mining and metallurgy,water conservancy,agricultureand so on:First:textile technology.China’s textile industry in the Ming and Qing Dynasties,cotton gradually replace the past,silk become China’s largest fiber products,Song silk products are still treasures,after the Ming,silk and silk instead become treasures,cotton began to prevail in the world,Songjiang become the country’s cotton textile center,through the introduction of Yuan Dynasty and the Ming and Qing Dynasties silk spinning,cotton spinning,linen,wool spinning technology in the area of specific development process,Clarify the motivation for the development of China’s textile industry in this period and get a clearer understanding of the textile technology in China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.Western textile industry in this period also gradually began from the hemp and wool textile to cotton over,during this period as a result of the introduction of China’s hydropower spinning wheel,The silk industry once rose and declined rapidly,but the silk spinning technology was applied to other textile fields,breaking the balance between spinning and weaving,promote the progress of weaving machines,hand-woven textile began to gradually mechanized.The 15-18 century is the heyday of the development of China’s textile industry,but in the three hundred years,the technology of China has only slightly improved compared with the previous period,far from the ceiling of the scientific revolution,compared with the development of the textile industry in the western world during the same period,it is easy to understand the gap between the technological development in China and the West.Second:salt technology.Salt is one of the most important substances that human beings need for survival.In any country and civilization,salt is in an important position.Ancient salt in China mainly to sea salt,pool salt,salt well-based three other sources of the size and output can not be compared with.During the Ming and Qing Dynasties,the production of sea salt and salt pool still used the methods of the past.However,the production of well salt was greatly improved due to the invention of collisions,which solved the salt scarcity of Sichuan and Yunnan people.At the same time,the western salt industry also changed its face compared with the past,In the West during the 16th and 17th centuries,salt was mainly distributed in the coastal areas.Inland areas were scarce and expensive.As the population in Europe expanded,the imbalance became increasingly serious.As a result,the West explored salt reform and began to use rational Thinking to improve salt production and fruitful.Westem population continued to grow rapidly in the 18th century with pressure on salt supply still in existence.With the progress of scientific revolution and western well drilling in China,western salt industry started a new round of reform.The development of the western salt industry is very representative in the development of western society in the 15th and 18th centuries.It complements and complements the scientific revolution and mutually reinforces the material basis of the Western scientific revolution.Third:mining and metallurgy technology.Mining and metallurgy is mining and metallurgy.For a civilization,having metallurgical technology is a symbol of civilization entering the era of metals from the Stone Age,indicating that this civilization can make more efficient use of nature and is an indispensable development process for any civilization in the history of mankind.After two long years of development,the two relatively independent civilized societies in China and the West enjoyed the highest levels of traditional civilization in the 15th and 18th centuries.In the Ming and Qing Dynasties,China not only improved the smelting technology of many kinds of metals,but also invented the vertical furnace ironmaking technology and the steel pouring method,which can be described as the grand stage of ancient society.The development of mining and metallurgy in Western society at the same time benefited mainly from Agrigento’s "On Metallurgy"(also known as"Mining and Metallurgical Whole Book"),During the 300-1800th century,in addition to the application of steam engines,the mining and metallurgical industries still mostly follow the theory of Agricola.However,during this period,because the missionaries came to China and brought the book "On Metallurgy" to China,the Ming government translated it as "Kunyu Gezhi",but it is a pity that the publishing house was not published.The direction of the development of mining and metallurgy in the 15th and 18th centuries in China and the West is different,which is also caused by the social background and historical pattern of both parties.Fourth:water conservancy technology.In the 15th and 18th centuries,the Ming and Qing dynasties coincided with the late Ming and early Qing dynasties of ancient Chinese imperialism.Except for the dynastic alternation period,the overall social trend showed a steady trend.which was conducive to the national water conservancy construction.In addition,the population showed a rapid growth trend during this period.In order to meet the growing demand Population needs,but also have to invest a lot of manpower and resources for water conservancy construction,during this period,traditional water conservancy research has entered the conclusion period,which is far more than the number of theoretical works or new water treatment concepts,However,it is limited to the limit of technical conditions and can not go further to the path of modernization,mainly in the three aspects of governing rivers,utilizing and controlling water resources and improving construction technology.The same period in the West but by 300 years time by leaps and bounds,faded dark shadows of medieval religion,The rapid progress in water supply,drainage,dams and canals complemented the industrial revolution that took place in the same period and completely laid the leading position of European science and technology.The reason why water conservancy technologies in the 15th and 18th centuries in China are different is that the governments in both the Ming and Qing dynasties need to build various large-scale water conservancy projects to protect the harvest of farmland for people and solve the problem of growing population,the West is to solve how to facilitate the operation of factories and speed up the pace of trade,and this is also an important reason to widen the gap betw een the two sides in the future.Fifth:agricultural technology.Describe the direction of agricultural development in ancient China during the Ming and Qing dynasties,revealing the rapid progress of agricultural theory during this period and the reasons for abandoning the advanced Jiangdong plow in southern China,clarifying that the two governments have made every effort to raise a growing population.And contrasts with the development of western society in the agricultural field in the 15th-18th centuries,analyze two transitional agricultural reforms in these three hundred years,dialectically discuss the positive impact of Chinese civilization on the two progress.Finally,the theoretical model to explore ways,from the four aspects of resource endowment,cultural endowment,technology and system,this paper summarizes the reasons for the different development trend of civilized agriculture between China and the West in this period.Sixth:General Chapter.Analyze the difference between science and technology,and discuss the mutual promotion of the two,so as to discuss the causes of the Western scientific revolution,analyze the reasons for the stagnation of social science and technology in ancient China,and then sort out why science and technology can become the first productive force.