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The Comparison of Sails of the Sailing Ships between the West and China in the 15th Century

Yang Lifan (The Institute for the History of Natural Sciences)

In the 15th century, along with the navigation time's came, the ship building technology developed quickly in the West. At the same time, in China the ship building technology became mature. Because of the different navigating area, different thinking ways and different technology tradition, there are many differences about the ship building technology between the West and China. It is really interesting to compare the differences about the hull, the deck, the decoration, the rudder, the masts, the yards, the sails and even the armaments on ships between the two areas. In this paper, the author mainly concentrates on the differences of the sails.

The author holds that: the differences between Chinese and western sails lie on every aspects. For masts, they are different from the sums, the install place and the standing rigging. For sails, they are different from the shape, the material, the putting method, the running rigging and the operation ways etc.

After comparing the differences, the author drew a scientific and reasonable conclusion about the sails in the two areas.

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