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Special Position of Fujian in the Interchange History of Technology between China and the West

Zhou Ji (Xiamen University, China)

Fujian is in southeast coast of China. It was open to navigation and had trade relation beginning from Han Dynasty. As accelerating traffic from Song Dynasty, the interchange of technology was also advanced. Therefore, Fujian occupies a special position in the interchange history of technology. The basic features of its position are as follows:

1. Main line of interchange was at sea. Tha back of Fujian is mountain and it faces the sea, the interchange to its outside was mainly not at land but at sea. Thus the technology of shipbuilding and navigation were developed. The ships made by Fujian had good seaworthiness and big loading capacity. Their sail, tall helm and cabin were in the lead around the world, these technologies were then passed on to Japan. The compass was already in general use among Chinese navigators, which was passed on to the west at 13th century. Porcelain, tea, silk and their manufacture methods did all output from the sea. Japanese kiln was designed just by influence of the class kiln of Dehua (滴�). European porcelain was also modelled on Dehua's one. At modern time, the interchange of technology became more frequent contacts between Fujian and overseas. For instance, the shipyard was established at Ma Wei, where technicians from England and France were engaged to pass on the technology of ship-making and ship-driving, and students were selected to Europe to study the technology.

2. Seaports were the rendezvous of the interchange. Fujian has a lot of seaports which shape a cluster of seaports around the Quanzhou port. The famous Silk Road at sea was from the beginning of Quanzhou which was frequent contacts from more than 90 countries and areas. Quanzhou was both the transferpost of goods and the rendezvous of the interchange. Here, Egyptian passed on the sugar refining technology, and learned the Chinese rockcandy-making method. Chinese technology of silkworms raising, silk reeling and textile was outflowing, but Fujian also imitated the Japanese satin. The ancient buildings such as mosque at Quanzhou is the fruit of erect technology and style between China and overseas. Moreover, there are many exchange between China and overseas at improved variety and its plant technology. For instance, the Viet rice, sweet potato, maize, tobacco, Holland beaus and jasmine were all abroad, and were radiated from Fujian to all over the country.

3. Talent persons were the main force of the interchange. Fujian people of talent were coming forth in large number, they had a tradition combining science and culture, and go ahead all over the country in the interchange between China and the West. Fujian's businessmen had also the higher accomplishment of culture, they had helped the Japanese to improve the shipbuilding technology, and thus fighted in the van for the interchange. The oversea Chinese spreaded all over abroad, they had rendered great service for the interchange of technology. The flourishing of paper-making and printing art had provided the material condition for the interchange of technology, and therefore the paper-making method and printing art were passed on abroad. At modern time oversea Chinese still opened the paper-making factory outside the country. The talent persons abroad were also flowed into Fujian, and left a deep footprint in technology.

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