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China Paper-making Technology in Silk Road

four great inventions

The four great inventions of ancient China were the four inventions that had great influence on the world in ancient China. They were papermaking, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. These four inventions greatly promoted the political, economic and cultural development of ancient China andwere transmitted to the west through various channels and exerted a great influence on the history of world civilization. Among these four great inventions, paper-making technique was the earliest one that spread to other countries. It had made a great contribution to ancient Chinese science and technology which used to lead the world.

Spread of Paper-making Technology in Silk Road


Paper-making technique which was invented by Cai Lun was delivered to the west through the Silk Road. In the ruins of Loulan in Xinjiang, China, there are lots of papers which people don't know their decades. It is supposed that they were produced after 205 AD. Some other papers have respectively decades change from 264 AD and 252 AD. In Turpan, the north of Loulan, the papers people have found was very first made in 339 AD. They are early Arabic writing things, Greek books and scattered Persian "Bible", besides, there are Manichean scriptures, Christian scriptures and so on.

Many people think that the delivery of Paper-making technology to the west had brought great reforms to Europe and Central Asia. However, these reforms were cruel: the forces of constant friction between the Tang Dynasty and the Abbasids in central Asia. In the eighth century, 751AD, Tang dynasty broke out the Battle of the Talas River with Tajik (Arab). Tang Dynasty was defeated, and there were paper craftsmen among the captive soldiers. Then paper-making was introduced to the western. First in the Middle East, then, spread all over the world, including Spain, Italy, France and other countries.

The earliest ancient paper called Baqiao Paper was discovered in 1957 in Xian, the starting point of Silk Road. Actually, Silk Road had made a significant influence on the spread of paper-making technique towards the world. The western spread of paper-making technique had provided favorable conditions to the European developed education, political, commercial activities.