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Science and Civilisation in China

Science and Civilisation in China

Volume 5. Chemistry and Chemical Technology

Part 11. Ferrous Metallurgy


Part of Science and Civilisation in China

  • Date Published: May 2008
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521875660

£ 209.00

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About the Authors
  • Donald B. Wagner provides a 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 interact and influence political phenomena. Recent archaeological work indicates that the earliest production of iron in China was in the Northwest, and that the technology was introduced from the West via Central Asia. It was, however, the invention in South China of large-scale technologies which put China on a very different developmental path from that of the West. Further chapters deal with 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.

    • Offers the most comprehensive historical account of the development of ferrous metallurgy in China from the beginning, ca. 1000 BC, to modern times
    • Provides full analysis of the economic aspects of the topic
    • Includes important digressions into the history of Western technologies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… an exemplary collaboration, building our knowledge and testing received wisdom in a continuously creative way.' The Spokesman 102: Slump and War

    'This is an unusually substantial work, decades in the making and written in a style that is accessible to the interested general reader as well as graduate students and academics.' SciTech Book News

    'In summary, this volume is an outstanding contribution to historical metallurgy as well as to the history of Chinese science and technology, representing a quarter of a century's worth of scholarly research on a vast and vastly interesting, topic by a scholar who competently covers both the linguistic-historical and the technical aspects of the subject.' Journal of Archaeological Science

    'In summary, what Wagner has achieved in this book is most impressive. It far surpasses Needham's monograph of 1958 in at least three aspects: first, in contrast to Needham's heavy dependence on ancient textual evidence, Wagner has benefited greatly from the substantial progress in archaeological and archaeo-metallurgical studies over the past forty years; second, instead of presenting a history totally devoted to technological developments, Wagner offers us a much more balanced and coherent narrative of Chinese ferrous metallurgy in its social and economic contexts; third, when dealing with ancient texts, Wagner takes a stronger critical stand, and his desire is more to seek out, rather than glorify, the facts. This book is most certainly a worthy addition to the Science and Civilisation in China series.' Jianjun Mei, Revue de Synthese

    '[Wagner's] thoughtful presentation and reflections on how his own research developed throughout [the] decades in the wake of newly emerging evidence and the changing intellectual discourse, makes this volume of the Needham series an exceptional guidebook for research methods in the field of the history of technology in general and ferrous metallurgy in particular … The research in this book reflects the author's intimate knowledge of the technology and history of metallurgy.' Dagmar Schäfer, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521875660
    • length: 512 pages
    • dimensions: 250 x 200 x 35 mm
    • weight: 1.66kg
    • contains: 139 b/w illus. 48 colour illus. 4 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    Donald B. Wagner, University of Copenhagen
    Donald B. Wagner is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Copenhagen.

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