- Additional Details
- Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
- Rating: Not Rated
- Number of Discs: 1
- Run Time: 50 Minutes
- Region: Region 1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Language: English
- Studio: History Channel
One thousand years ago, when Europe was still in the dark ages, China was at the forefront of technology. Whilst Europe's Renaissance is celebrated through the innovations of Leonardo da Vinci, Columbus and Renoir, few today realize that China experienced its own Renaissance fathered by the legendary Su Song five hundred years earlier.
For the first time, this program unveils the remarkable story of how China created a myriad of ingenious devices including cosmic machines able to collect data on the stars, hydraulic hammers, water-controlled clocks and even paper.
We discover that ancient China was an industrial superpower, armed with devices such as heaven carts' able to drill down deep underground, geared milling machines and mass production plants powered by water. Incredibly, unlike the ancient Egyptians, the Chinese developed their inventions with an eye for safety. Sophisticated mining props were designed to prevent cave-ins; ancient "carburetors" to control volatile natural gas; they even managed to design the world's first earthquake detector.
Setting out on an epic journey across all of China, we meet leading historians and model-makers who keep tales of ancient China alive. We visit a reconstruction of an ancient Chinese iron furnace to unravel insights into how the Chinese created a forty-ton iron artifact five centuries before the West discovered cast-iron technology. Most impressive of all, we meet the leading clay expert Professor Ye Hongming who has spent a lifetime seeking to discover the secrets of how the ancient Chinese created their vast terracotta army.
This pioneering documentary seeks to lift the centuries-old veil on China's greatest inventions, revealing how many of the West's modern-day inventions owe an extraordinary debt to ancient China's greatest minds.