Comprehensive historical account of the production and use of iron and steel in China in their political and economic context. An initial chapter on the traditional Chinese iron industry introduces the important technical concepts and the ways in which technology, geography, and economics influence political phenomena. Further chapters cover developments from the Han to the Tang, the technical evolution and economic revolution of the Song period, and economic expansion under the Ming. A final chapter investigates the debt of the modern steel industry to Chinese developments.
1. Introduction; 2. Introductory orientations: the traditional Chinese iron industry in recent centuries; 3. The earliest use of iron in China; 4. The flourishing iron industry of the -3rd and -2nd centuries; 5. The Han state monopoly of the iron industry; 6. The arts of the smith from Late Han through Tang; 7. Technical evolution and economic revolution in the Song period; 8. Economic expansion in the Ming period; 9. Some Chinese contributions to modern siderurgical technology; 10. Epilogue.
"Wagner, the world's leading authority on this subject, has written the most comprehensive study yet available of iron and steel in China. His approach is especially valuable in considering the social consequences of iron and steel technologies, particularly in agriculture and warfare...This essential work, offering a rich, detailed, scholarly analysis of Chinese iron and steel industries, will be the standard authority for decades to come."