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National Educational radio in cooperation with the Institute on man and science presents a series of talks drawn from the institute's annual conference held recently in Rensselaer Vale New York. The Institute on man and science is a nonprofit educational institution chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. The annual assembly of the institute is designed to focus attention on 20th century technology and the human relationships resulting from its application. The speaker on this program is Ella Carrington Goodrich a research professor in Chinese history at Columbia University who will discuss the subject. The book in China. Here now is Professor Goodrich. I should like to start with a quotation from Francis Bacon in his Novum Organum. He wrote at one point three discoveries unknown to the ancients and of which the origin though recent is obscure. He referred to
printing gunpowder and the magnet for these three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout their world. The first in literature or the second in warfare and the third in navigation. Last night I tried to say something about two of these. The effect of the Chinese developments and navigation particularly of the magnet and the compass. I said something also about the development of explosive powder. And today I want to say something about the development of the book in all its phases from the very early beginnings down to the development of what block printing and movable type printing.
I think we might as well start with the map. The time when printing began is obscure. Probably It happened around the year 700. We have a if you look at any map of this period you will notice that China occupies not only the historic area from the great wall down to the southern shores around Kent Tom it also extends in a great tongue out into Central Asia and it occupies. To some extent at least part of Manchuria and it reaches up into Northern Korea. It was a great period of expansion and. This
expansion helped to bring some of its developments to other parts of the world. I'm going to give a few examples of the kind of developments that had already taken place and were taking place during the century of roughly 600 to 700. A planned city of the great city of Chiang on a city which had at least a million inhabitants within the walls and another 900000 outside in the suburbs. A city which welcomed people from all over the nearby ancient world. There was a large university there of some 8000 university students which had students not only from China proper brought from Japan from Korea from Tibet
from Indo China. It was a country as we noticed last night which had arrived at great skill in building bridges. The horsemanship of the army and its officers was well developed and it had as you remember last night the stair. This is well known from the great horse sculptures that you find at the University of Pennsylvania and Museum in Philadelphia. The women also just to some extent perhaps showed more interest in horseback riding at this time particularly at the court. Then they did in more modern times
and Polo which had been introduced from Tibet was a popular game at the court. The ability to sculpt figures in stone was at a very high point a point which possibly was not reached. Ever again. After about the ninth century. The costumes were elaborate. Women and men also. Fancied their new styles from time to time and both in hairdo and in dress. The ability to paint was also an high level. We have very few paintings from this period but as an obscure temple or cave temples out in the desert at the very far reaches of the
western end of the Great Wall there are certain paintings have been found which. Are. Illustrative of the fine ability of the time foreigners came to China in very considerable numbers from Persia from India from all over the Asiatic world. The ability to make him figures in pottery which gradually developed into fine type of porcelain was well known and boys came from all over. In six hundred forty we have a painting we recently discovered which shows envoys from a dozen or so countries Japan. It took two or three different states in Korea ab from India from several states in the region of Central Asia and Persia.
Coinage from other parts of the world was well known. This was found in Tomb dated roughly five ninety eight in near China and the great capitol of the time and other coins have been found in a central Asia dating from around 700 showing that China was in contact with various places around the world commercially as well as diplomatic thing. Religion's found their way into China which were unknown before China had welcomed Buddhism beginning around the first century A.D. but by now it was also finding a magic key ism in a story in Christianity represented by this great monument of
781 Zorro Astron religion from Persia and very beginnings of interest possibly at least on the part of the Arab settlers in the new religion is not. The ability to make music was advancing considerably with different instruments available. Some coming up from the south some ink some coming from the west. And now a bit about the types of writing material which the Chinese used in early times. The Chinese passed through a number of different stages as you might expect. We now know of the Stone Age or Neolithic stage lasting several hundreds of years perhaps two or three millennia. We
know of the Bronze Age which was a period of very great distinction in the making of vessels and other implements and in bronze which lasted from about seventeen hundred BCE on down at least to the middle of the first millennium before our era and then the Iron Age beginning about five hundred before our era. And so on to modern times. Among the things used for a writing service is besides what I said last night. Bones and even pottery vessels. Out of was wood and characters were written on slabs thin slabs of wood and then they were bound together to form a book. One such book was discovered in Central Asia by a Chinese Swedish expedition with the thongs still binding together.
This was a very fortunate circumstance and could not have happened except that the sands of the desert had preserved it and the weather was so dry that the wood did not or the court did not perish. Writing was also a bamboo a very convenient service particularly down in the Yangtze Valley where wood bamboo is so luxuriant these strips of bamboo are not very commonly known but they have been found in the chunks region where Yale and China used to have a school in that part of the world. This is the writing was also done on silk. A very expensive surface but nonetheless a popular one. The inscription which you have from the silk designs is very difficult to read but it is now in process of
translation and we shall know more about it as time goes on. Writing was also done on St.. At least 10 of these great boulders have been found with poems on them which reflect very much the type of poetry found in the shooting or the Great Book of ODEs dating from around the eighth and seventh century before our era. One of the greatest achievements of the Chinese early period roughly a first century second century A.D. was the development of paper. Now we don't know what paper was it initially used for. Last night I spoke about a kite. Now kites were made of paper as Mr. Mann will tell you probably when he was a small boy he wore shoes in which paper was involved in the soles of the shoes. Paper was used for
Windows rather than glass and so one might enumerate a number of things. The Chinese were probably the first people to have thought it paper and they were the first people probably to use paper for wrapping up their vegetables found in the market. I mentioned a moment ago the sino Swedish expedition which took place in the early 1930s one of the remarkable discoveries was a piece of paper with characters on it in a short a find near the great end of the Great Wall which the other objects of which date from roughly 95 A.D. to 100 A.D. The official announcement in the high school or the Han history. Is that a certain Chinese official in the Board of Works submitted to the Emperor and some paper of in the year 105 a date. So we have archaeology and a
literary or historical. Information coinciding remarkably somewhere then between a fox but they 90 A.D. and a hundred five a deep paper came into being. It was made of refuse cloth fish nets bark and so on. Now besides paper the Chinese for centuries had been experimenting with seals. The character for seal is yen. And again later on. Fifteen hundred to 2000 years later became the where that was accepted for printing. Now Seal is used for identification. The wood block printing which finally took place somewhere as I say after 700 and the movable type printing which took place in the eleventh century of our era was for multiple multiplied multiple copies. So there is a
difference nonetheless seals from the 13th and 12th century. A B C with great numbers developing in the next millennium or two were well known in this age. Another process took place in China. The Chinese love beautiful calligraphy and they will make what are known as rubbings of the surfaces. Just as you is a boy or a girl perhaps. As I used to when I was 5 or 6 years old sitting very restlessly in church my mother would give me a penny or a quarter or something rather and I'd make a rubbing of it with a piece of paper. And so the Chinese have developed to a almost an art. This matter of making rubbings of famous
inscriptions on bronze is on stone monuments and the like. And here is an example of one of them. They made rubbings not only of pieces of calligraphy of bricks as in this case two men getting their arrows in place in a crossbow. You. Know another thing that is important for writing in China is the brush. And of course the ink which is used to put it onto any surface such as silk or paper or wood or bamboo. Unfortunately in the sands of Central Asia there have been preserved a number of these very very early brushes of approximately the time of Christ. And in this case even with a holder for the brush
the brush went through a long development probably at the beginning it was simply the end of a stick which had been frayed but in due course it became a holder of bamboo often with the hairs of perhaps a donkey's tail or something of the sort for the brush ant. Now the paper that is been found is not only paper that has Chinese writing on it but the writing of other script. Saul Stein one of the great explorers a man of I believe Hungary in origin who became a British subject and did some very tall journeys across Central Asia and found a piece of paper with the writing of one of these unknown scripts on it which has since been translated.
It dates from the year 313 314 a D. The Chinese to the Chinese propensity for putting mortuary figurines in their tombs. We owe much of our knowledge of the common ordinary life of the Chinese people. Among them the scholar class apparently about to write something or consult something on a tablet. An early illustration of the books perhaps of the time we come now to after this very brief survey of a number of the developments down to the time printing and we come to a period which I mentioned first. The Tang Dynasty which lasted from six hundred eighteen to nine hundred and six or seven. It is a time.
When there is a need for an enormous bureaucracy thousands and thousands of people its civil servants scattered all over the empire are and over the colonial areas beyond the Empire. This is a map of Korea and Japan where some of our earliest knowledge of printing comes from the Koreans and the Japanese where frequenters of the great centers of culture in China. As I mentioned earlier at a temple called Google in Korea belonging to the silver Silis of a civilization there was found two years ago as some important documents hidden in a stone in this little stoop or go to. And
while we're not absolutely certain of the date of these documents they seem to have come from a period between seven hundred four and seven hundred fifty eight deep. If so if this holds and there's a good deal to imagine that it does it represents our earliest printing. It is these pieces of movable type printing were discovered along with other objects which belong to this particular century. And it's another example of the help we can have when we find things scientifically. Many other objects in association with what we are particularly interested in the particular Sutra is one which was so popular that it was also copied in Japan and in great numbers. The Buddhists at this time were of a very powerful church and a very popular church.
The popularity diminished very decidedly in the 19th century but at this time around the middle of the eighth century it was perhaps at its height. And it demanded a great many sutras as one of the pressures on the inventors if you like of the time to copy copy copy and make copies which are very easy to do. To duplicate not only were the Buddhists interested in this sort of thing but also the Taoists who wanted all men x and calendars and the like but also the Confucians who had to provide with textbooks and the. Materials for a great development of bureaucracy. Now in Japan at this time there were a number of advisors to the emperors
who was then in power and at a time of a very considerable illness. Kind of a plague that swept over the country. She decided that perhaps the making of thousands perhaps hundreds of thousands of these little stupas each with a suit perhaps of more than one suiter in them would be laid as a disease. Here is one of them which one gentleman here tells me he has acquired in recent years inside where these precious little documents also print it. Now it's a very strange thing that this should certainly turn up in Korea and Japan rather than China. We know that the Chinese was the major influence because we have literary evidence for that effect but nonetheless it's find that these. Shall we say tributary nations of the Chinese at this time tributary only
in a cultural sense should share in this honor. In 1907 as are all Stein made a great trek across Central Asia to China and stopped at a place called The Long where the caves are located which at one time housed thousands of Buddhists and pilgrims who came to worship and where it came and go. If as somebody has said in this age it was the Shanghai of that time. In these caves it was found that one of them was locked up had been perhaps a sealed up for centuries and there were found things which had been undisturbed from about the 11th century on. They were purchased many of them by
Stein and taken to the British Museum and the following year for Pendejo a professor of Chinese at Paris took all that he could handle. After he'd examined a great many of them over a three months period to the biblio take Naseer now in Paris. The problem is him of this cash for the British was the Diamond Sutra. It bears a date equivalent to eight hundred sixty eight a date. It measures something like I think seventeen feet in length. It starts with an illustration which as you see is already fairly advanced. Example wood block illustration it unrolls as I say for quite a number of feet beyond this and the printing I think you will also agree is also an advanced stage. So by eight sixty
eight the Chinese were well along the whole field printing. They mentioned the doll which they were not in active at this time. They too had desire for printed things and all the next calendars were among them. Quite a number of these calendars varying dates. Around this same time eight hundred and seventy five to nine hundred and so on were discovered along with them. These this great eight sixty eight document now in the British Museum. The 10th century was a troubled one in China. It was broken up into a number of different site preppies with the government in the north not very securely in the hands of a series of adventurers. In the here nine hundred fifty.
Ps. i can't remember the exact date there was constructed this great pagoda on the banks of the West Lake in Hang chow. It's known as the les funk TA or of the thunder wind the Ghoda. I saw it first in 1921 and then in 1925 I think it was Rose 24. It collapsed and when it collapsed the bricks which were made fell to the ground and it was discovered that some of them had little sutras in them just like the ones that I mention from Japan. This particular one is now in the possession of the King of Sweden. Used to be a dealers hands in New York. From these simple beginnings and from other Buddhist objects like this a number. The tenth
century printed documents have been found. Fortunately complete with the date. The Chinese then began to make more and more use of this chance of multiplying important documents. The government stepped in in a real way. In the nine hundred thirty years just a thousand and more years ago. And they printed the entire Confucian canon of one hundred thirty books I believe. They Buddhists were not inactive. They printed their enormous canon of five thousand forty eight rolls and the Taoists printed there is almost like size in over a thousand rolls and sump shortly after the year 1000 I think in the year one thousand and nineteen. You heard Ella Carrington Goodrich research professor in Chinese history at Columbia
University. As he spoke on the topic the book in China. Professor Goodrich spoke at the annual conference of the Institute on man and science held in Rensselaer bill New York on our next program. Colby Sears professor emeritus of conservation at Yale University will discuss the subject. Necessity is the mother of chaos. These lectures are recorded by the Institute on man and science. The programs are prepared for broadcast and distributed by the national educational radio network.
The Institute on Man and Science
The Book in China
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Institute on Man and Science
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3566. This prog.: The Book in China. L. Carrington Goodrich.
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Producing Organization: Institute on Man and Science
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Chicago: “The Institute on Man and Science; The Book in China,” 1969-01-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “The Institute on Man and Science; The Book in China.” 1969-01-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The Institute on Man and Science; The Book in China. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from