• The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology NO.3 2011

The Chinese Journal for the History of Science and technology NO.3 2011

A Preliminary Study of the Casting Process for Bronze Drums of the Kemu Nationality in Laos
WEI Danfang   
(Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning, 530006, China)

Abstract  This article is an investigation of the bronze drums of the Kemu Nationality in Laos, using both documentary evidence and fieldwork. 64 bronze drums from museums in Laos were studied, including their casting technology, in particular the use of the lost wax method.
The fluctuation range of the ratio of drum height to drumhead diameter was found to be small, mostly between 0.7 ~ 0.8, indicating that the drum design had been finalized. Among them none were of exactly the same size or had the same ornamentation, indicating that the casting process involved one drum one mold.
The drums were made by the lost wax casting method. During the casting process, wax-made solid frogs, drum ears and stars were first formed into wax patterns and stuck on to the wax-made drums. Molten bronze was then poured into the molds through the pouring mouths, which possibly lay at the feet of the molds. Some other decorative patterns were usually made by the processes of mold stamping and pattern rolling, while blurred decorative patterns were often touched-up by carving. In general, the making of such drums, with their fine and beautiful decorative patterns and thin and even walls, required consummate skills and a wealth of experience.
In addition, it was found that the design of the shape of Hegel III –Type bronze drums in Laos and neighboring areas was stable, and that the evolving principles of the decorative patterns in these areas were the same. This is further evidence that there may have been special workshops for producing this type of bronze drum, and also of smelting and casting technical interchanges or casting mold dissemination through the region.

New Evidence of the Invention of the Roller Cart in the Early Years of Jin Dynasty
Shi Xiaolei
(The Department of Science Education, Harbin Normal University,Harbin 150080,China)


Abstract: The roller cart (dun che) was first described in Wang Zhen’s agricultural treatise of the Yuan Dynasty. One has now been identified depicted on a wall painting in a tomb sealed in 1135, indicating that the roller cart had already been invented in the early years of Jin Dynasty.

Shifts in Interest in Science and Technology in 11th Century China
Su Zhan
(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract: The Song Dynasty (10th to 13th century) was an important period for the development of science and technology in China. This paper investigates shifts in interest in science and technology in the Song Dynasty between the years 1001 to 1120 using statistics from the Dictionary of Chinese Names. According these statistics, interest in science and technology declined after the 1040s. This was just the time when the famous Chinese philosophical school Songxue arose. The author analyses how and why this decline in interest occurred in the Song Dynasty. Furthermore, social and academic trends during the period, in particular Songxue, are discussed in order to examine their relationships to these shifts.

Some Questions on the Transmission of Chemical Elements in Late Qing China

DENG Liang
(Institute for Science and Technology Studies, Tsinghua University,
Institute for History of Science and Technology & Ancient Texts, Tsinghua University; Beijing 10084,China)

Abstract  This article analyzes introductions to the number of chemical elements published in China from 1849 to 1900, and found that 56 elements and Platinum were first introduced in Bowu Tongshu, and that the number increased to more than 80 in Gezhi Yiwen Huibao. Furthermore, this article discusses related questions, such as Chinese scholars’ recognition and comprehension of the elements.

The Influence of Hydraulic Presses on the Ordnance Industry in the Late Qing Dynasty and the Republic of China

SUN Lie
(Institute for the History of Natural Sciences, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  The principle, structure and use of the hydraulic press were first introduced in China in the Bowu Xinbian, edited by Benjamin Hobson. During the Late Qing Dynasty, as Li Hongzhang and others recognized their importance, hydraulic presses were imported for arms manufacture in arsenals, such as the Jiangnan Arsenal. During the Republic of China, the quantity and performance of the presses were barely adequate for the development of the ordnance industry, the lack of big presses becoming one of stumbling-blocks for the production of heavy weapons and machines. The weakness of such basic industries was a major factor constraining the technological development of China’s ordnance industry at that time.


A Study of the First Medical Delegation sent from the P.R.C. to the U.S.A. 
SU Jingjing, ZHANG Daqing
(Center for History of Medicine, Peking University 100191, China)

Abstract  This article investigates the details and implications of the first medical delegation sent, in October 1972, by People’s Republic of China to the United States of America. The historical background, selection of delegation members, visiting schedule, influence on Sino-U.S. relations and medical interactions are analyzed and contradictory and inaccurate records are clarified.This article also aims to analyze the function and characteristics, such as short-term visits, of scientific/technological diplomacy during special historical periods when two states have no formal diplomatic relationships.

The Forgotten Campaign:The Activities and Contacts between Joseph Needham and China Campaign Committee and its Members
YIN Xiaodong
(Physics Department of Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China)


Abstract  This article describes the process of interaction between Joseph Needham and the China Campaign Committee and its members, including Needham’s activities in the China Campaign Committee during the 1930s-40s, based on his correspondence and other materials held in Cambridge University Library and elsewhere. It reflects Needham’s social activities and political stance in the 1930s-40s, and also describes from one side British civil aid to China during the war and  postwar periods.


The Immobility of Place:
Aporiai of Aristotle’s Doctrine of Place

LIU Shengli,
(Department of Philosophy, Beijing University, Beijing, China 100871)
ZHANG Butian
(Institute for the History of Natural Science, CAS, Beijing 100190, China)

Abstract  In his Physics Aristotle first defined place as “the surrounding body’s boundary which is in contact with what is surrounded”.After introducing the requirement of immobility to explain the case of “a boat is moving in a river”, he re-defined place as “the first immobile boundary of that which surrounds”.The introduction of the requirement of immobility led to various aporiai, among which the most intractable was: the requirement of immobility and that of contiguity could not be met simultaneously in many kinds of concrete phenomena of movement.The commentators of Physics made many efforts to tackle the problem, but failed to solve it completely within the overall frame of Aristotle’s metaphysics.These aporiai revealed in Aristotle’s doctrine of place: (1) the non-technical character of the term “immobile”; (2) the multilayered meanings of the concept of place; and (3) the tension between rest and motion in their ontological status.


Effective Protection and Practice of Zhuang Nationality Traditional Handicrafts—Taking Mahai Village in Guangxi as an Example

QIN Zhuyuan
(College of Ethnology and Sociology, Guangxi University for Nationalities, Nanning 530006, China)

Abstract  Based on fieldwork and case analysis, I investigated the reasons for the rise and decline of the Zhuang Nationality traditional handicrafts of sculpture and papermaking, demonstrating, from the standpoint of effective protection, that it is feasible to protect traditional sculpture handicrafts in a productive way. By reflecting on the gradual decline of traditional papermaking handicrafts, I provide some further case studies for the protection of traditional handicraft heritage.