井底之蛙

3/5/2008

How things work (in China)

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 5:04 pm

I have been reading a really interesting book on Chinese tools. Well, actually the most interesting thing about it is the title:

Hommel, Rudolf P. China at Work; an Illustrated Record of the Primitive Industries of China’s Masses, Whose Life Is Toil, and Thus an Account of Chinese Civilization,1

You can’t get a much more orientalist sub-title than that. The author spent a lot of time in China between 1921 and 1930 and toured all over Central China photographing and describing Chinese tools. He seems to know a good deal about tools and making stuff, which means he occasionally makes interesting observations about the effectiveness of these tools and comparisons with versions in other countries.2

 

Here in honor of Gary Gygax is a crossbow trap

Crossbow trap

 

(more…)

  1. Cambridge, Mass., M.I.T. Press, 1969. (Re-print of the 1937 edition []
  2. He does tell us that he like the Chinese, and after telling us how to make he explains that this is the origin of the false rumor that Chinese like to eat rotten eggs []

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