Thursday, August 09, 2007

My visit to China: 7000 Years of Innovation

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I visited the exhibition, CHINA: 7000 years of Innovation, on 8 Aug 2007. This exhibition is held at the Singapore Science Centre.

The exhibition covers scientific discoveries and technological inventions made by the Chinese in the following fields: astronomy, compass, gunpowder, printing, mechanics, architecture, weaving, ceramics, papermaking, bronze casting and traditional Chinese medicine.

Below are some of the exhibits that had caught my eyes.

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During the Yuan Dynasty, people in Chinese used the Clepsydra that you would see above to tell time. According to this source,, clepsydra are water-clocks rely on a steady rising or falling of water in a container to indicate time. It is interesting to see such a device that can tell time.

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One of the innovations that I would like to find out more about at the exhibition was the technology of paper-making. I saw some related exhibits on it, but when I was at the exhibition, there was no demonstration. I had no tour guide to guide me, and the information on the display plaques were rather superficial to satisfy my urge to know more about the topic. I figured that I might as well read up about paper-making than to visit the exhibition.

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Anyway, in order not to dampen my mood, I looked for interesting exhibits to learn about. Although there is still not much explanatory notes about the technology of bronze casting, I had briefly read about the technology in another context, so I was able to relate to the exhibits found right above on the subject of bronze casting.

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I was also delighted to see a seismograph. This instrument shown right above is the world's first earthquake detector. The exhibit has some decent explanatory notes which gave me insights to how the instrument works.

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I was also attracted to the print-making technology. I think print-making and paper-making are two important innovations that have facilitated the dissemination of information and knowledge.

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The above exhibit may look unsightly, but it is a great help for physicians practising Traditional Chinese Medicine to learn to diagnose health problems by looking at the colour and texture of a patient's tongue.

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Yours truly has never seen a silkworm. As such, I took special glances at an exhibit that displayed the various life stages of a silkworm.

Overall, the exhibits themselves are quite interesting. There are live demonstations too. However, I felt that there is limited information on the various innovations. If there were, I had found it too dry to capture my attention. I would prefer having a tour guide to share with me about the various exhibits, but I don't seem to know if there would be any guided tour. Maybe this exhibition would be more interesting if one were to view it as part of an educational tour group?

Whatever it is, the exhibition reminded me that the Chinese has some great innovations. Reflecting, I think it would be important people in the general society to have an open heart and open mind to facilitate the development of innovation. Would you think so?

The exhibition is held from 26 May to 26 Aug 2007.
For more information about the exhibition, please visit:

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Christopher said...

Woah! very educational and rich in history.

I will find some time to bring my son, Jaymes to visit the exhibition, before 26th Aug.

oceanskies79 said...

The exhibition is rich in history indeed. It may help if there is a guide to guide visitors around the exhibition. However, I can't seem to find an information on it.

In the end, because there were limited explanatory notes on the development of the technologies and innovations, I felt my learnings gained from the exhibition was rather limited.

Cool Insider said...

Nice description of the exhibition and useful for me who didn't have the time to visit. I think that they could have done some videos or slideshows to describe how some of these things work. That would surely enhance the experience for visitors. I still find the seismograph fascinating as an instrument from the old days.

oceanskies79 said...

HI Cool Insider: There are some kind of 'touch-screen' presentations and videos particularly for the Traditional Chinese Medicine segment. For example, it gives a brief introduction to the history of TCM etc. There is a segment where one can take a photo of one's tongue, and then attempt to diagnose one's state of health using the guidelines given.

However, although the TCM segment was very comprehensive, I wasn't that interested in it that day. I was more keen to learn about innovations such as seismograph, paper-making and machinery.

THE ANiTOKiD said...

Wish they can also hold it here in the Philippines! Loved the pics on the various displays! Much thanks for those!

China has always fascinated me, especially Shanghai. I read that their malls there are truly gigantic!

Nice post, my friend! And I kid you not! :)

AnitoKid at