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Mar
17th
Wed
permalink
China’s Sustainability: Asynchronous Revolutions by Jiang Jun
The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics broadcast China’s Four Great Inventions as the contributions of an ancient and creative power. However, the historical distinction among the four inventions, as well as the differentiation in their global effects, has long been ignored. Two of the four inventions, gunpowder and the  compass, had a clear military application, while the other two, paper making and type printing, had more to do with cultivation.
Sustainability, a modern description of “long life”, was the latent principle behind all dynasties of pre-modern China.  It was based on three aspects of civilization: unitive politics as the organizational model of the state, agriculture economy as the social model of production, and Confucian culture as its ideology. Unitive politics minimized internal exhaustion by virtue of its centralized instruction system and national collectivism. Agruculture economy stabilized local power via its land-oriented production mode and local collectivism. Confucian culture synchronized the two into “oneness” with its state-family isomorphic structure. The stability and sustainability of pre-modern China was defined by this trinity. The sustainability of the state was therefore resolved into the sustainability of all those local families. The repression of demilitarization and the extrication in self-organization resulted in periodic massive population increases. Most mechanical inventions were supposed to merely reinforce human power not replace it. (Source)

China’s Sustainability: Asynchronous Revolutions by Jiang Jun

The opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics broadcast China’s Four Great Inventions as the contributions of an ancient and creative power. However, the historical distinction among the four inventions, as well as the differentiation in their global effects, has long been ignored. Two of the four inventions, gunpowder and the compass, had a clear military application, while the other two, paper making and type printing, had more to do with cultivation.

Sustainability, a modern description of “long life”, was the latent principle behind all dynasties of pre-modern China. It was based on three aspects of civilization: unitive politics as the organizational model of the state, agriculture economy as the social model of production, and Confucian culture as its ideology. Unitive politics minimized internal exhaustion by virtue of its centralized instruction system and national collectivism. Agruculture economy stabilized local power via its land-oriented production mode and local collectivism. Confucian culture synchronized the two into “oneness” with its state-family isomorphic structure. The stability and sustainability of pre-modern China was defined by this trinity. The sustainability of the state was therefore resolved into the sustainability of all those local families. The repression of demilitarization and the extrication in self-organization resulted in periodic massive population increases. Most mechanical inventions were supposed to merely reinforce human power not replace it. (Source)

Feb
12th
Fri
permalink
Portraits of Periodical Offering, a 6th century Chinese painting portraying various emissaries; ambassadors depicted in the painting ranging from those of Hephthalite, Persia to Langkasuka, Baekje (part of the modern Korea), Qiuci, and Wo (Japan). These paintings were official historical documents used in many Chinese dynasties. The phrase roughly translated to duty offering pictorial. Throughout Chinese history, kingdoms and tribes conquered by Chinese forces were required to send ambassadors to the imperial court of China periodically and pay tribute with valuable gifts (kungpin).

Portraits of Periodical Offering, a 6th century Chinese painting portraying various emissaries; ambassadors depicted in the painting ranging from those of Hephthalite, Persia to Langkasuka, Baekje (part of the modern Korea), Qiuci, and Wo (Japan). These paintings were official historical documents used in many Chinese dynasties. The phrase roughly translated to duty offering pictorial. Throughout Chinese history, kingdoms and tribes conquered by Chinese forces were required to send ambassadors to the imperial court of China periodically and pay tribute with valuable gifts (kungpin).

Feb
8th
Mon
permalink
1675 image of a Chinese astronomer with an elaborate armillary sphere. In the 17th century, Chinese astronomers collaborated extensively with Jesuit scholars, who brought the Copernican and Tychonic systems from Europe. 
A European astronomer visited China and studied their ways. He was a Jesuit priest, Ferdinand Verbiest, whose Chinese name was Nan Huai-Jen. The illustration includes contemporaneous astronomical instruments.
Source: Brian J. Ford (1993). Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration, Oxford University Press.

1675 image of a Chinese astronomer with an elaborate armillary sphere. In the 17th century, Chinese astronomers collaborated extensively with Jesuit scholars, who brought the Copernican and Tychonic systems from Europe.

A European astronomer visited China and studied their ways. He was a Jesuit priest, Ferdinand Verbiest, whose Chinese name was Nan Huai-Jen. The illustration includes contemporaneous astronomical instruments.

Source: Brian J. Ford (1993). Images of Science: A History of Scientific Illustration, Oxford University Press.